While welterweight title contenders Rory MacDonald and Stephen Thompson headlined UFC Fight Night: Ottawa this past weekend, there was another fight on the main card that might have changed the dynamic of the sport.
No. 5 strawweight Valerie Letourneau and No. 12 strawweight Joanne Calderwood competed in the first women's flyweight (125 pounds) fight in UFC history. Though both have found some success at 115, including Letourneau competing for the belt in her last fight, they branched out with this catchweight bout. A fight, which Calderwood won, could lead UFC executives to consider adding the 125-pound division as a standard weight class in their league.
On Saturday we had nearly three full rounds of action to judge if we want to see more flyweight fights that don't involve Demetrious Johnson dominating his opponent.
Even though both fighters could continue to find success as strawweight, a new division could lead to more opportunities to become a UFC champion. Along with these two fighters here are some UFC women who would benefit from the addition of a flyweight class.
Sara McMann, current No. 6 Bantamweight
McMann has been involved in the UFC for nearly as long as women have competed in the Octagon, fighting first at UFC 159. She has found success at 135, but losses against some of the division's elite (Ronda Rousey, Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes), leaves her with a 3-3 record in the organization.
A change of pace may be good for McMann. If the Olympic silver medalist could cut down to 125, she could be a bigger fighter that could implement her wrestling background to impose her will on the division.
Jessica Andrade, current No. 7 strawweight
Andrade spent most of her UFC career in the bantamweight division where she had a rocky road. Despite at one point having a three-fight win streak, she has only beaten one person currently in the top 10 at bantamweight and went 4-3 in the division.
Andrade tried her hand at strawweight earlier this month at UFC 199 and found success against an opponent closer to her frame. However, a 20-pound difference in weight cut could be draining for her. Fighting at 125, however, could still allow her to be among fighters similar to her 5-foot-3-inch frame, get out of bantamweight where she has struggled, and avoid a large weight cut.
Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger, unranked strawweight
Jones-Lybarger had plenty of success prior to joining the UFC, accumulating a 6-1 professional record before entering the Octagon.
However, her debut saw her completely dominated by now No. 4 Tecia Torres, and again this past weekend she dropped a unanimous decision against No. 14 Randa Markos. Not many fighters can survive in the UFC following an 0-2 start to their Octagon career. However, the loss will not be as damaging if a flyweight division is created.
Jones-Lybarger is among the tallest fighters currently at 115 and her frame could lend itself to moving up a division. Starting over in a new weight class might give her a chance to get her UFC career back on track.
Rin Nakai, unranked bantamweight
Nakai came into the UFC boasting an impressive 16-0-1 professional record. However, she could not find her footing inside the Octagon and lost both of her fights against Tate and Leslie Smith. Nakai was frankly outsized in the UFC. She is 5 foot 1, making her the shortest fighter in the bantamweight division by a couple of inches.
Nakai will next compete at Pancrase 279 against Emiko Raika as a flyweight. If she is successful in this bout, the UFC may want to reenter negotiations with her about fighting at 125. It is a division that suits her frame far better and can allow her to fight women closer to her size.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, current strawweight champion
It might seem strange for a fighter at the top of their game to want to fight at a different weight class, but Conor McGregor has shown that the UFC is willing to let their champions move between divisions. Jedrzejczyk is could be in the same conversation.
Jedrzejczyk is undefeated in her MMA career and is 5-0 in the UFC, three of which were title fights. She will next fight TUF rival coach Claudia Gadelha on July 8 in a rematch with her toughest opponent to date. If she loses, she will likely want an immediate rematch to regain her belt. But if Jedrzejczyk wins, she no longer has to prove that she is the rightful champion of the division.
JJ had six fights as a flyweight prior to joining the UFC and was even hesitant to competing at 115 because she wasn't sure if she could cut weight. A return to 125 could show why she is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and could give her the opportunity to be the third fighter to win belts in multiple weight classes.
Are there fighters we missed? Let us know in the comment section below!