MMA Column: LaRocca on UFC women's 115-pound kickoff

Submitted by John LaRocca

Today it was announced that the UFC will crown their first ever 115 pound Women's Championship with a sixteen woman tournament that would take place over the course of The Ultimate Fighter 20 TV show next fall.  I want to stand up and applaud the UFC on this great move. 

A few years ago, I wrote on Wrestling Observer that the UFC should use the TUF TV show to introduce the flyweight division.  It was a win-win situation for the UFC with that TUF is a tournament and you could use that to crown a first ever champion, but more importantly, the TUF TV show will help get the personalities over of the flyweight fighters. 

This decision was made since the women out performed the men on the recent TUF season in the ratings.  Women fighting is still very popular right now with Rhonda-Meisha feud and UFC is striking while the iron is hot.  The 115lb. division is one of the strongest in women's MMA.  

With announcing the 115 pound Women's TUF 20 show, the UFC also announced eleven women signed who will compete on the show and for the newly created championship.  The list is the Invicta champion Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Joanne Calerwood, Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, "Rowdy" Bec Hyatt, Emily Kagan, Alex Chambers, Julianna Lima, and Paige Van Zant.  Five more fighters will soon be announced. 

From the eleven so far, the UFC has plenty of women who will get over big with the TV show.  Carla Esparza one of the best well rounded fighters of the division and also very attractive.   Claudia Gedelha is muscular and very intimidating, but also attractive.  Felice Herrig has had a strong underground following for the combination of her looks and fighting style.  Tecia Torres made a name for herself in Invicta with her top level striking, fast paced fighting style and charisma.  Rose Namajunas is the girlfriend of UFC Heavyweight Pat Barry and also is awesome on the ground and very cute.

Bec Hyatt has a strong underground following in MMA with the combination of her rockstar looks, charisma, toughness and Australian.  Finally, though she lacks the experience of many of the women signed so far, Paige Van Zant's looks will grab your attention, plus she has proved to be really tough as well. 

They also get a feud between three of the women in the house already. At Invicta 7, Claudia Gedelha pulled out of her title fight against Esparza do to a stomach virus.  This lead to some trash talking on Twitter recently which included Esparza's best friend, Felice Herrig.  Those three in the house will make things very interesting. 

This is truly a home-run by the UFC and TUF 20 will be the most talked about season in a very, very long time. 

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