UFC Women’s Bantamweight History: From Ronda Rousey to Amanda Nunes, a Look Back at the Promotion’s Iconic Division

Published 01/20/2024, 1:03 PM EST

Follow Us

Dana White confidently declared in 2009 that “women will never fight in the UFC”. Just four years later, he had gone back on his word and was calling the first women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey the biggest star in the sport.

America’s Favorite Video Today

While Rousey popularized women’s MMA and her success and stardom elevated the division, we have seen some stellar names throughout its history, including the woman considered the greatest female fighter of all time.

UFC women’s bantamweight title vacant after Amanda Nunes retirement

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division has a 135 pounds weight limit began on December 6, 2012 after the promotion took over Strikeforce MMA and brought its roster into the UFC fold. Ronda Rousey was proclaimed the first UFC women’s bantamweight champion on account of her being the former Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion.

‘Rowdy’ went on to defend it for a record six times until Holly Holm shocked the UFC world and knocked Rousey out in the second round of their UFC 193 clash in 2015. The competitive division has seen five champions, Miesha Tate who submitted Holly Holm at UFC 196, the greatest female fighter in Amanda Nunes, TUF 18 winner Julianna Pena, along with Rousey and Holm.

Trending

Get instantly notified of the hottest UFC stories via Google! Click on Follow Us and Tap the Blue Star.

Follow Us

While Nunes has the longest reign at 1981 days, Rousey has defended the title six times – one more than Nunes’ five. The Brazilian also holds the longest win streak in the division with six consecutive wins and has won four of her titles via first round submission.

However, the title now lays vacant after ‘The Lioness’s retirement last year. Tonight, however the UFC women’s bantamweight division will have a new champion as two of the most exciting female fighters in the UFC take each other on to fill in Nunes’ shoes.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Pennington vs. Bueno Silva set for UFC 297

#3 ranked Mayra Bueno Silva will take on #2 ranked Raquel Pennington for the women’s bantamweight title at UFC 297 tonight at the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada. Pennington comes into the fight in a five-fight win streak, with her last loss being against Nunes back in 2018. Silva defeated Holly Holm in her last fight, however, the victory was overturned to a no contest after she tested positive for a banned substance.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Brazilian is supremely confident of victory and has essentially called her upcoming opponent a coward. “I think she doesn’t want to fight. She doesn’t have courage. She doesn’t like to fight. I like fighting, punching and takedowns. She likes to fight, but she likes to hold [in] fights, she doesn’t like to fight a clean fight. She likes more clinching and this thing, you know?” she said. What are your predictions for UFC 297?

Watch this story: Jorge Masvidal And Chael Sonnen Go Back And Forth 

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

ADVERTISEMENT

Written by:

Kanishk Thakur

851Articles

One take at a time

Hi, I am Kanishk and I am a UFC Writer at EssentiallySports. I love telling the stories of these magnificent fighters and this wildly unpredictable sport that is so frustrating and yet so joyous at the same time. I never really used to watch MMA, thinking it too crude or brutal a sport to deserve respect.
Show More>

Edited by:

Anuj Jacob

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

EDITORS' PICK

America’s Favorite Video Today