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Women's MMA Divisions in the UFC: A Look Ahead to 2024

LockerRoom Team
02 January 2024

The landscape of women's MMA in the UFC is undergoing significant changes as we head into 2024. With unexpected outcomes, emerging contenders, and vacant titles, the divisions are more intriguing than ever.

Flyweight Division: Alexa Grasso's Shocking Reign

The biggest surprise of 2024 came in the women's flyweight division, courtesy of Alexa Grasso. Mexico's first female champion stunned the MMA world with a submission win over longtime champ Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 285. Their rematch at Noche UFC ended in a draw, leaving the door open for fresh faces in the title picture.

Contenders Erin Blanchfield and Manon Fiorot stand out in this scenario. Blanchfield's impressive victories in 2023, including a breakout performance against Andrade, have propelled her to a 6-0 UFC run. Fiorot, returning from injury, spoiled Rose Namajunas' flyweight debut and holds a perfect 6-0 record in the Octagon. Their scheduled face-off in late March could determine the next title challenger.

Names to Watch For in 2024 (Flyweight): Maycee Barber, Rose Namajunas, Natalia Silva, Ariane Lipski, Tracy Cortez

Strawweight Division: Zhang Weili Dominates as Challengers Emerge

In the strawweight division, Zhang Weili's dominance continued with a second title defence. Yan Xiaonan emerged as a title challenger by finishing Jéssica Andrade impressively. Tatiana Suarez, after a four-year hiatus, returned with two victories, submitting Montana De La Rosa and Andrade.

While Zhang's next fight is yet to be set, potential matchups against Yan or Suarez add an intriguing layer to the division. The instability at strawweight may persist, or Zhang could solidify her place as one of the division's greatest champions.

Names to Watch For in 2024 (Strawweight): Mackenzie Dern, Amanda Ribas, Loopy Godinez

Bantamweight Division: Nunes' Retirement Creates Vacancy

Amanda Nunes' retirement in June left a significant void in the bantamweight division. Former champion Julianna Peña sought to regain her belt, but the opportunity went to Brazilian Mayra Bueno Silva, who faces Raquel Pennington at UFC 297. Pennington extended her winning streak to five in 2023, defeating Ketlen Vieira, while Peña did not compete after her loss to Nunes.

Bueno Silva's journey to the title shot faced a setback with a failed drug test, turning her victory over Holly Holm into a no contest. Yet, her impressive performance keeps her undefeated in her last four fights. Vieira and Irene Aldana, both going 1-1 in 2023, remain in contention for future title shots.

Names to Watch For in 2024 (Bantamweight): Karol Rosa, Pannie Kianzad

As we embark on a new year, women's MMA in the UFC promises excitement, unpredictability, and the rise of new stars. The divisions are ripe with talent, ensuring fans a thrilling journey in 2024

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