Sorry, Cyborg: Dana White Has No Plans for New Women’s Divisions in the UFC

By Tom Taylor - September 19, 2016

This weekend, the UFC returns to Brasilia, Brazil with an exciting night of fights. The card will be headlined by a 140 lb. catchweight bout between reigning Invicta featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino and debuting Muay Thai specialist, Lina Lansberg.

Cris Cyborg

The reason this bout is being contested at a catchweight is simple: Cyborg can’t make the 135 lb. cap of the bantamweight division, which is the heaviest women’s division in the UFC. Of course, we know the cut to 140 is no picnic for her either

Cris Cyborg PTT

Given the difficulty that the Brazilian bomber has with cuts below featherweight, it should come as no surprise that she’s very keen on the idea of the UFC introducing a women’s featherweight division. Unfortunately for her, however, UFC president Dana White recently vetoed this idea, saying he has no immediate plans for any new women’s divisions.

“Obviously it’s been very popular and the women have done very well, but as far as the expansion I think it’s inevitable as the sport continues to grow,” White told Brazilian outlet Globo. “But no plans in the near future, no.”

“Unless there’s anything that just explodes in the next couple of years,” he added as a disclaimer. 

Valerie Letourneau Wins

While White was quick to squash any immediate hope for a women’s featherweight division, he did leave some room for optimism with respect to the introduction of a women’s flyweight division, which would sit between the currently existing strawweight and bantamweight divisions.

Earlier this year, during a trip to Ottawa, Canada, the UFC promoted a one-off flyweight bout between Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood and Canada’s Valerie Letourneau, who typically compete at strawweight. In his interview with Globo, White suggested that, if the UFC’s existing women’s divisions continue to grow, he’d consider introducing a flyweight division to accommodate the women who are too small for bantamweight, but too big for strawweight.

“If 15 and 35 continue to grow, then yes, we can do a 125,” White explained. 

Would you like to see more women’s divisions in the UFC? Sound off, PENN nation!


Cris 'Cyborg' Justino