The UFC Women’s Featherweight Championship, and the division in general, has been on a very interesting path since its inception.
Germaine de Randamie beat Holly Holm for the vacant title back in 2017 at the infamous UFC 208 event in Brooklyn. The fight was highly-criticized due to the lack of action and the fact that de Randamie hit Holly two separate times after the bell. Then, she was stripped of the title for not defending it against Cris Cyborg. Cyborg then beat Tonya Evinger for the belt and successfully defended it against Yana Kunitskaya and Holm. Amanda Nunes beat her for the belt at UFC 232, becoming a two-division champion.
That was back in 2018. Since then, Nunes has primarily been defending her Bantamweight Title. The reason could be because it isn’t clear what is going on within the featherweight division. After all, there are no fighters listed in the UFC’s rankings for the division. Nunes, however, has said she now wants to defend the 145-pound title after mowing down the bantamweight division. Who is ready for Nunes?
This past weekend at UFC Norfolk, we may have seen a glimpse into the future. In the co-main event, Felicia Spencer beat Zarah Fairn Dos Santos via TKO. Only needing one round, Spencer (8-1) used her ground game to suffocate her opponent. The win put her back in contention talks following a loss to Cris Cyobrg at UFC 240. Meanwhile, Megan Anderson (11-4) beat Norma Dumont Viana with a vicious punch in round one as well. Norma tried putting her up against the cage, but Anderson backed out and used her power to earn her second win in a row. She is now 3-2 in her last five.
📺Watch it live on ESPN+ pic.twitter.com/LpDBBEI2Iz
— UFC (@ufc) March 1, 2020
— UFC (@ufc) March 1, 2020
Nunes, who was keeping an eye on both fights, was impressed with their wins. When it comes to who she would want to face, “The Lioness” did not play favorites. She is up for any challenge.
I like both winners tonight. Now it’s up to the @danawhite I’m ready for either. 🦁
— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) March 1, 2020
There are a few ways we can go about this. However when looking at it from a logistical standpoint, the next fight to make at featherweight is Nunes v. Spencer.
Spencer is a challenge to Nunes based off of her ground work. With four wins via submission in her short career, the 29-year-old has rose through the ranks of MMA. The former Invicta FC Featherweight Champion may have actually become the challenger sooner if she didn’t lose to Cyborg in the latter’s swan song from the promotion.
A true featherweight prospect, Spencer’s grapple game might surprise Nunes, who has only fought as a featherweight in the UFC once. You would have to go back to the late 2000’s to see her in featherweight action. Germaine de Randamie, who has gone back and forth at bantamweight and featherweight, almost took care of Nunes at UFC 245 via submission. If Spencer can avoid the power of Nunes and take her down, it could be her ultimate test.
When looking into it further, Spencer already has a win over Megan Anderson. The “Feenom” beat the Australian via submission in round one this past May. Seeing her control the distance with the clinch and never looking back after Anderson tapped has her at a big advantage over Megan.
“I do have a win over Megan,” Spencer stated to MMAJunkie. “We both got first-round finishes tonight, so it was an interesting night for that. I think it turned out the way a lot of people expected and I could definitely see my self getting that shot and I think I earned it.”
If we are going by the same booking that produced the upcoming Henry Cejudo v. Jose Aldo bout, then Anderson would get the fight against Nunes. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve it, however. Anderson, a former Invicta Champion in her own right, has out of this world power, and with her height can be a major problem for the strike-happy Nunes. Add the fact that she received a bonus for her fight, it may sway UFC brass.
Spencer did predict that whichever fight would impress the UFC the most could very well get the title shot. Was her performance something more to write home about?
You could do a contender bout between Anderson and Spencer, but what if the series is tied? Nunes would have to wait longer than she wanted to. Unless the UFC has another featherweight contender hiding somewhere, one of these women need to face Nunes now.
Who do you think should face Nunes for the Featherweight Title?