With half of the year already gone, the UFC has put on a number of great events. These cards have included some of the biggest names in the sport and have given us a lot of excitement. Let’s break down the top female fighters in each division who we want to see return to the octagon in the second half of the year.
Female fighters we’ve missed in 2019
Women’s Strawweight Division
Former 115-pound champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk has been out of action since her unsuccessful title challenge at 125 pounds in December of last year. Joanna is one of the most dominant champions the UFC has ever seen. She beat everyone she faced at 115 (not named Rose Namajunas) and it could be time for her to return to strawweight. The perfect match up? Top contenders Michelle Waterson or Tatiana Suarez would make a lot of sense.
‘Lil Bulldog’ Felice Herrig was on a roll in 2017. She picked up two victories against undefeated prospects and defeated Courtney Casey via split decision. She then fell on hard times during 2018, going 0-2. These losses were to the elite of the division in Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Michelle Waterson. Herrig was scheduled to face Xiaonan Yan at UFC 238 however had to pull out of this bout due to a torn ACL. We hope that Herrig can sort out her injury problems soon and she can get back in the Octagon at the end of 2019. Both Herrig and Jessica Aguilar are on two-fight losing streaks, so this could be a possible next fight for both women.
Women’s Flyweight Division
Australian fan favorite Jessica-Rose Clarke has been out of action since June 2018. She was scheduled to fight at UFC 237 but was forced out with a foot injury. In her UFC debut, she defeated fellow Australian Bec Rawlings. She then went on to face Paige VanZant, again picking up the victory. She did come up short against title challenger Jessica Eye, however. Who should she face next? She has made it clear on social media that she will be moving up to bantamweight. The re-booking of the fight against Talita Bernardo makes sense, following her loss at UFC 237.
‘The future’ Maycee Barber is 2-0 in the UFC and needs to stay active. The young phenom has a relentless style and at 7-0 could be a problem for those at flyweight. Most recently defeating JJ Aldrich at UFC on ESPN+ 6, she came under some trouble in the first round. This is likely to give future opponents some confidence. She should arguably get a top 15 opponent next, although many of them have fights scheduled. A match-up between Barber and the experienced Ashley Evans-Smith could provide a good test for the up and coming star.
Women’s Bantamweight Division
Undefeated Brazillian sensation Ketlen Viera has been out of action since early 2018. Despite being ranked #2 in the women’s bantamweight division, she’s been very inactive. She was scheduled to fight Tonya Evinger at UFC Fight Night 137, however, pulled out of this bout with an injury. Her last victory came against Cat Zingano, progressing to 4-0 in the UFC. A potential next fight for her would be against #7 Yana Kunitskaya.
Although TUF 28 winner Macy Chiasson has been very active in the UFC this year, her exciting style makes us want to see more. 2-0 in 2019, with two finish victories, the undefeated Chiasson is making huge waves in the bantamweight division. Her most recent victory came when she stepped in on short notice to face Sarah Moras at UFC on ESPN+9. Having finished all of her victories in the TUF house, Chiasson is certainly a force to be reckoned with. Her next bout needs to be against a tough test. The experienced Marion Reneau could provide the perfect match-up. Although she is coming off two losses, she holds a wealth of experience over Chiasson, making this fight an exciting one.
Women’s Featherweight Division
As is well documented, the women’s 145-pound division is the most shallow in the UFC. The division was built around former champion Cris Cyborg. Once she lost her belt to now champion Amanda Nunes, the division looks shot. Nunes has gone back down to defend her bantamweight belt against Holly Holm. With such few featherweights on the roster, the UFC must make a decision. Either close down the division or expand it. Only Cyborg, Megan Anderson and Felicia Spencer are legitimate 145s. Everyone else who has fought at featherweight are arguably blown up bantamweights. Although Cyborg is booked against Spencer at UFC 240, the UFC needs to sign more 145-pound fighters if the division is going to have any legs.
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