Invicta FC: UFC Audition for Bantamweights Riley Kontek March 9, 2013 News The UFC is now into women’s MMA. Not all of women’s MMA, just the 135-pound division currently ruled by Ronda Rousey. Before the UFC decided to have a women’s division, the go-to place for all ladies was Invicta FC, a new company with a sole focus on promoting all weight classes of women’s MMA. To this day, the promotion has crowned two champions and will be crowning a third at its next event. However, the question has been asked as to whether Invicta should even bother having a 135-pound belt, now that the UFC promotes that division and that division only. Would it even be necessary or smart to crown a bantamweight champion when they likely would just be brought over to the UFC immediately after capturing the gold? It must be noted that if Invicta did in fact crown a bantamweight champion, it would not be a big deal or much of a surprise. Every company needs a champion in every weight division it actively promotes. The only thing in this case would be that the champion would likely drop the belt when they left the company for the UFC, leading to a constant string of title fights for vacant championships. That’s what the Invicta FC’s bantamweight division is becoming now—an audition for the UFC. But it’s not just an audition for current 135ers. Invicta’s neighboring weight classes at 125 and 145 pounds are also being mined for possible bantamweight talent. Recent UFC addition Sheila Gaff is normally a flyweight, fighting at 125 pounds. She is ranked very high in that division, which likely earned her a contract with the company. It seems that any lady with enough talent that can make 135 is now fair game for the UFC to pursue. They will be judged by how they perform in Invicta, the new platform for assessment by the UFC. Invicta may become the minor league for the 135-pound women in MMA. Sure, the division may be the most talent-laden, but women’s divisions aren’t nearly as deep as those on the men’s side of the sport. If the UFC does sign 20-25 of the best talents at 135, that is most of the talent in the class. That is where the conclusion must be made. There is no reason, outside of a cooperative effort with the UFC, for Invicta to have a women’s bantamweight title. The promotion simply needs to keep the focus on developing women’s MMA, keep its cards exciting as usual and continue to feature talent from the less-seen divisions like flyweight, strawweight and atomweight. Photo: Sarah Kaufman is already signed by the UFC, but will compete at Invicta FC 5 (Dave Mandel/Sherdog) unbeknownst For now, I think the UFC would prefer Invicta FC to crown a BW champion for marketing purposes. Imagine if Shayna Baszler or Sarah D’Alelio become Invicta’s BW champion, (or even prospects like Jessamyn Duke) it’s easier to promote those fighters in their UFC debuts. I’m one of those people who think Zuffa is secretly hedging their bets with WMMA and helping Invicta FC make their ends meet and pay their fighters. If the WBW division has a lasting impact in the UFC, I could see Zuffa adding (absorbing) Cyborg and a WFW division into the UFC, with finally Zuffa outright “purchasing” Invicta FC and running the three lower weight classes there, like they did with the WEC.