Adding a UFC women’s featherweight division makes a lot of sense.
All smiles, arms raised in victory, beaming with pride: this was the look of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, aka Cris Cyborg, following her win over Lina Lansberg at UFC Brasilia. The price to pay for that moment of glory, however, has been extremely high.
Fresh from a 2nd round finish (which, frankly, could’ve been stopped before the first round ended), it’s easy to forget that in the days leading up to the fight, Cyborg was struggling to make weight. With her bout set at a 140lbs. catchweight match, 5lbs. below her usual fighting weight of 145lbs., images have emerged of the Brazilian in tears and completely drawn out due to the extreme weight cut.
She’s currently the reigning featherweight champ of Invite FC at 145lbs, a weight limit she still needs to drastically cut weight for. To have her cut that extra 5lbs. could be detrimental to her health, and you have to wonder how many more times she can pull off this dangerous weight cut.
Cyborg fighting at 140lbs is unfair to her opponents as well. Her UFC debut was against Leslie Smith, who fought primarily in bantamweight and flyweight. Smith was demolished in a minute and a half of the match. Justino’s next opponent, who was making her UFC debut, was also a natural featherweight, but clearly, she was nowhere near the same level as Cyborg.
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) September 25, 2016
Who’s next for Cyborg then? Another bantamweight for potentially a chance at a title shot that Santos can’t make weight for? The UFC cannot continue making catchweight fights for Cyborg, or else they risk breaking the body of arguably the company’s biggest female draw. Its endangering the career of Justino with no clear future yet as to what they plan to do with her. She deserves her own division.
There’s a number of ways that the UFC can gather the necessary talent to create a women’s featherweight division. First and foremost is to make a TUF season solely for that weight class, in the same manner that they did for the strawweights.
Another option would be to finally absorb the Invicta featherweights or at the very least call up some of their talent. Hell, they could even sign on featherweights of another big promotion Bellator FC to attract these ladies to a bigger stage. There’s certainly some badasses there.
It’s about time the UFC introduces a women’s featherweight division. Cyborg is putting her life on the line every time another catchweight bout is announced.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images