Fighters and Fans, alike, have been calling for more weight divisions in the UFC for their female fighters, and it looks like that call has finally been answered with the promotion announcing earlier today that the new season of The Ultimate Fighter, set to begin filming this July, will culminate in the crowning of the first Flyweight Champion.
This is a big move for the promotion as UFC President, Dana White had previously insisted that he wasn’t ready to add another weight class to the women’s division, but he seems to have had a change of heart after listening to the fighters who would rather compete at a more natural Flyweight.
Under the current divisions, fighters have to either compete ‘undersize’ in the Bantamweight at 135lbs, or endure a hideous weight cut to drop to the 116lbs Strawweight limit. With this new fourth Flyweight division, 125lb fighters will be able to compete at a much healthier and more equitable weight.
Season 26 of The Ultimate Fighter will follow a similar format to Season 20, which saw the introduction of the 115lb Strawweight division and saw Carla Esparza take the belt and become the division’s first champion.
Season 30 tryouts will commence on May 30th at the Palace Station Hotel in Las Vegas for fighters aged between 21 – 34 with a winning three fight record. Interestingly, they will be open to existing UFC fighters, meaning the likes of Joanne Calderwood and Jessica Eye, who have both previously competed at 125, would be eligible to try out for the new season and associated strap.
Filming on Season 30 will commmence in July, with an on-air date later this year.
Update: UFC Bantamweight and TUF 26 alumni has just announced via Twitter her intentions to drop to 125 and become the first Flyweight champ.