The Ultimate Fighting Championship plans to introduce a women’s strawweight division, UFC President Dana White announced Friday.
White revealed the organization’s intention during an appearance on “The Fighter and The Kid” podcast. According to White, the decision was informed by the popularity of the women’s fights on “The Ultimate Fighter 18.”
“We’re actually working on bringing in another division, which I said wouldn’t happen for a long time,” White told hosts Brendan Schaub and Bryan Callen. “The women are out-rating the men [on ‘TUF 18]. When the women fight, the ratings are up 44 percent.”
White went on to confirm that the new weight class will house 115-pound fighters, making them the lightest competitors in the organization. No timetable was given for when the division might be implemented.
Though the UFC boss famously once said that women would “never” fight in the Octagon, White has changed his philosophy more recently, crowning Ronda Rousey the promotion’s inaugural women’s bantamweight champion roughly one year ago. “Rowdy” then defended her title against Liz Carmouche in the first women’s bout in UFC history this past February. The 26-year-old will put her belt on the line once again next month, when she rematches fellow “TUF 18” coach Miesha Tate at UFC 168.