Carla Esparza lobbies for UFC atomweight division

The first ever UFC strawweight champion, Carla Esparza, is hoping to see the UFC add a 105-pound division in the near future.

The “Cookie Monster” is a pioneer in the 115-pound division. She was the inaugural Invicta FC strawweight champion and became the inaugural UFC strawweight champion in 2014 after winning TUF 23.

After losing the belt to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2015, Esparza has gone 3-3 in the division. She picked up wins over Juliana Lima, Maryna Moroz, and Cynthia Calvillo while dropping split-decisions to Randa Markos and Claudia Gadelha and a one-sided TKO loss to Tatiana Suarez.

Without an upcoming bout scheduled, Esparza has taken to Instagram to state her case for an atomweight division introduction.

Her post reads;ย “Women’s MMA has come so far these last few years! Since November 2012, the UFC has welcomed 4 female divisions!! To make this complete, I think the 105lb ATOMWEIGHT DIVISION need to be brought in! There are so many exciting match ups to be made in this stacked division, ith myself included! If you agree and want to see the UFC welcome the atomweights, please share this post and tag @ufc @danawhite @mickmaynard @seanshelby #ufcatomweight”.

The atomweight division is an exciting weight class with a lot of highly-skilled competitors. Invicta FC, RIZIN FF, and Combate Americas are three of the main promotions that currently have atomweight divisons. Some popular atomweight fighters include former UFC strawweight Seo Hee Ham, Invicta champ Jinh Yu Frey, Ashley Cummins, Kyra Batara, Minna Grusander, and many, many more.

Esparza is one of the strawweight divisions smaller fighters. Other strawweights who are of smaller stature that can potentially benefit from an atomweight division nclude Michelle Waterson and Tecia Torres.

Would you like to see an atomweight division debut in the UFC? If so, how should they bring in the division? What are some dream 105-pound match ups?



NICK on Twitter


  1. Cue all the “damn, Suarez beat her that bad, huh!?” comments… ๐Ÿ˜–
    I’m here for as many divisions as are gonna be catered for and populated with talent โ€” as of now the UFC women have one division, two halves and one afterthought; I’m not mad at them getting the existing ones into better shape before doing new things.

    1. As I’ve detailed below, there is ample talent for a UFC AW division. How many can be brought over is the question. If you’re concerned about depleting the UFC’s SW division, they have nearly 50 fighters there already (they list 49) compared to how many at Featherweight? If the 10 smallest ones all decided to drop, and that’s unlikely, it would hardly make a dent in the division, and relatively few are in the top 10.

    2. It’s actually valid this time, Stamina, as Esparza had said many times in the past on social media that she would NEVER want to cut down to 105 !

  2. Amen, Carla! I’ve been calling out for such for years. It sure would have made a lot more sense than their featherweight division. The UFC should have another TUF series for the lesser known AW’s and at the same time have a tournament among the UFC SW’s that opt to move down and the better known highly ranked AW’s that the UFC is able to bring over.

    In addition to Carla and Tecia, the following UFC strawweights are on the small side and might want to consider moving down: Alex Chambers, Jamie Colleen, Jodie Esquibel, Angela Hill, Tina Lahdemaki, Tiffany Masters, Jamie Moyle, Viviane Pereira, and former AW champ, Jessica Penne.

    Karolina Kowaljiewicz and Michelle Waterson should fight. Both are petite SWโ€™s that probably wonโ€™t go any higher in their division. The loser, or if they are serious about getting a title, both of them should consider moving down to AW.

    The following fighters are from Invicta who might want to either participate in TUF where they would probably have a better chance of coming out a victor and develop more name recognition or move over to the UFC to participate in the AW tournament: Former UFC SW Danielle Taylor, Jinh Yu Frey, Minna Grusander, Amber Brown, Ashley Cummins, and Herica Tiburcio

    Then there are a good number of top Asian atomweights, including #1 AW and former UFC SW, Seo Hee Ham, Ayaka Hamasaki, Mina Kurobe, Kanna Asakura, Rena Kubota and Mei Hamasaki. The challenge to the UFC is whether they will be able to induce these fighters to come over given the way so many women in the UFC have recently been treated.

    My apologies to the excellent potentials that I’m overlooking. The names above do not include the numerous other feeder organizations and Latin organization that I donโ€™t follow but probably have a wealth of talent as well. I don’t tweet, but if anyone wants to use this, feel free to revise it and tweet it to the UFC powers that be.

    1. Some interesting ideas, JR. Just a heads up though. Perreira and Moyle are no longer in the UFC. They’re both in Invicta now. Angela Hill down to 105. Hmm, not sure. She’s not super-young. That could be a tough cut! I don’t think Karolina could ever make 105. I forget her age, but I don’t think she’s super-young either.

  3. The operative phrase in Carla’s advocacy is “myself included”. But her self-interest doesn’t make it a bad idea. However, I don’t think that Michelle Waterson should try to drop back down to AW. She walks around at 130. That’s a hell of a weight cut and they don’t get easier as you get older.

    1. That sure is a big weight cut! She seems to have physically matured in this division as well– looking more muscular/thicker (for lack of better words) than in the past.

    2. indeed. Michelle even posted herself at 136, though of course this is bulking and with high body fat. she said the last time she made 105 her pulse stopped for one minute. my solution is to bump the flyweight and strawweight limits down 5 pounds, creating 120 and 110 pound divisions. 120 will have the premier roster with the likes of Rose, Suarez, Dern, Joanna, Andrade, Gadelha, Vanzant, Calvillo and most of the strawweight newcomers like Botelho, Vianna, Jeon, Whittmire, Barber and perhaps De La Rosa, Robertson and Ostovich from 125.

      this way the UFC isn’t just buttering Waterson up to be slaughtered again and fighters like her, Torres, Esparza, Hill, Aguilar and perhaps Livia Souza can have more level playing field. they can bring back Hamderlei, sign Jinh Yu and really fill out a 110 division faster than 135 and 145 have over the past 10 years across multiple organizations.

      1. Some interesting ideas. I’m shocked Waterson gets as high as 136 sometimes, as she seems so tiny ! Esparza used to say many times she would never want to cut down to 105. Amazing what 1 fight where you are completely dominated by Olympic-level grappler can do. She’s always been too short-limbed and short to stay at the top in 115 once all the elites came over from Europe, etc. Waterson is feisty. I’ll give her that. I don’t see the governing bodies ever changing those weight classes you proposed, though, although they did approve 5 new weights for men earlier this year, so you never know.

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