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UFC launches women’s strawweight division with 11 Invicta athletes

You might remember one point in time not too long ago when Dana White said women will never be in the UFC. Just in case you forgot, here’s the clip.

A little more than a year later, Ronda Rousey made history as the first women to sign with the UFC and become the women’s UFC Bantamweight Champion. Not long after Rousey stepped into the octagon, it was announced that she would make history once again and become the first female coach ever in the eighteen seasons of The Ultimate Fighter.

Supporters of Women’s Mixed Martial Arts can celebrate another victory as the UFC released this statement today:

The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced today that the Invicta FC women’s mixed martial arts organization has assigned the contracts of 11 women’s strawweight (115 pounds) competitors to the UFC. Terms of the assignment were not disclosed.

The 11 fighters are:

  1. Carla Esparza
  2. Claudia Gadelha
  3. Felice Herrig
  4. Joanne Calderwood
  5. Tecia Torres
  6. Rose Namajunas,
  7. Bec Hyatt
  8. Emily Kagan
  9. Alex Chambers,
  10. Julianna Lima,
  11. Paige Van Zant

In May, these 11 competitors will report to Las Vegas and participate on season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter in the first-ever all-women’s edition of the show. And for the first time ever, The Ultimate Fighter® will crown a UFC champion, as the winner of season 20 will become the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion.

Coaches for the show have not yet been determined. An additional five fighters will be selected for The Ultimate Fighter via a tryout set to be held in 2014.

“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. 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.”

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