UFC officials confirmed plans to bring in female strawweight fighters, signing 11 from Invicta FC on Wednesday.
The promotion also announced plans for the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter to be used as an all-female season, with the winner becoming the first-ever UFC female strawweight champion.
“The women’s 135-pound division in the UFC has been amazing and we know there are a ton of talented women’s mixed martial artists out there,” UFC president Dana White said. “Now, you’ll see even more great women’s bouts in the UFC with the addition of the 115-pound division. We’re excited to crown the first-ever UFC women’s strawweight champion in 2014 after a historic season of The Ultimate Fighter.”
Eleven fighters were signed, including Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Joanne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, Bec Hyatt, Emily Kagan, Alex Chambers, Julianna Lima and Paige Van Zant.
The coaches for TUF have yet to be announced, while five other fighters will be selected from an open tryout scheduled for 2014 to complete the 16-fighter field.
Pretty excited to be a part of the @UFC and TUF show. I believe in myself and team & will be a brand new fighter next time you see me
— Felice Herrig (@feliceherrig) December 12, 2013
— Carla Esparza (@CarlaEsparza1) December 12, 2013
We are happy for the opportunity that the athletes have in front of them and will continue to support them on this amazing journey!
— InvictaFights (@InvictaFights) December 12, 2013