In an interview with UFC Tonight, UFC president Dana White said “I don’t know how soon it’s going to happen, but yes it will eventually happen.” He explained that: “As the sport continues to grow and we go into these other markets like Latin America, Asia, yes, we will eventually open up a lighter weight division. Which is a great thing. It’s an amazing opportunity for fighters all over the world.”
Although it has not been confirmed who the UFC will add to the roster at Strawweight, there is no shortage of talent. There are several top Strawweights currently competing in the Shooto organization in Japan that could make the transition. There are also many talented Muay Thai practitioners who could make the crossover into MMA. While traveling through Thailand last Spring, I got the opportunity to attend a few high level Muay Thai matches in Bangkok’s Lumpinee Stadium. Let me tell you these fighters will NOT disappoint fight fans. They strike with lightning fast speed, are incredibly fierce, and extremely violent. This makes for one of the most exciting fighting styles to watch. In fact, some Muay Thai fighters have already made the crossover into MMA, like Rambaa Somdet (10-2), who is on a blistering 9 fight win streak in Japan. Other Thai standouts are sure to follow.
Although the majority of top fighters currently competing around the 115 mark are fighting overseas in Asia, I also hear some talk of scouting to take place in Mexico and Latin America. Fighters from Latin America have long dominated the Strawweight boxing divisions, so there should be some great potential from this region. Bring on the Strawweights!