The UFC is currently going through a ‘unique’ period.
New owners WME-IMG are now well into their first year of business after purchasing the UFC for a record setting $4.2 billion last year and the world’s largest mixed martial arts promotion has experienced a somewhat slow and lackluster start to 2017.
Not only have there been a lack of big fights, but some weight classes have also been going through a period of turmoil whether that be due to a lack of contenders or deserving contenders being passed up to book ‘money fights’. Some divisions, on the other hand, are alive and well and experiencing a period of excitement.
With that being said, let’s break down the state of each UFC division:
Joanna Jedrzejczyk has established herself as a legitimate champion at 115-pounds, defending her title four consecutive times. She will look to make the fifth defense of her title in the co-main event of UFC 211 on May 13, 2017 when she takes on Jessica Andrade.
“Joanna Champion” has indeed brought excitement to the division, but a 115-pound title fight likely won’t headline a pay-per-view event anytime soon and that is also due in part to the lack of depth in the fledgling division. Jedrzejczyk has already beaten No. 1-ranked Claudia Gadelha twice as well as No. 2-ranked Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
If she gets by the No. 3-ranked Andrade next month, No. 4-ranked Rose Namajunas will likely serve as the next title challenge, but outside of “Thug” Rose, the division is lacking legitimate contenders.
Ever since former bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was knocked out by Holly Holm at UFC 193, the 135-pound weight class has been in a frenzy.
Holm has since lost three bouts including her submission loss to Miesha Tate in March 2016. Tate then went on to surrender the title to current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 last July before the “Lioness” bulldozed through Rousey this past December to make the first defense of her 135-pound strap.
Nunes appears to be a well-rounded champion and she will likely defend her title against No. 1-ranked Valentina Shevchenko in the coming months, but the division poses very few contenders outside of that bout.