History is being made this Wednesday when the first season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) featuring women takes place on Fox Sports1. It is certainly groundbreaking considering the first women’s fight in the UFC only took place six months ago at UFC 157.
It will also bring a unique challenge of mixing the two genders in the TUF house which has been known for lots of drama and pranks. Of the initially announced cast in the women’s division, five names stand out to me as favorites who could potentially become the equivalent of Roy Nelson in winning this season. It is because of this, that I would like to address these five women, on why I believe they have what it takes to win the show, based on their experience.
Of the five women who could potentially win this season, Colleen Schneider is probably the most inexperienced. She only started fighting professionally in 2010, and out of the gate had a loosing record of 1-4. However, she has found her own in the India based Super Fight League, going 3-0 in that promotion, and winning their inaugural Women’s Flyweight Championship.
Like several of the women’s vets in this season (and currently in the UFC for that matter), she is a flyweight moving up to the only women’s weight class currently in the UFC. She is probably not on the UFC’s primary roster radar, as of right now, because of her even record of 4-4 and instead is being given the chance to prove herself in the house.
Roxanne Modafferi is a woman who has seen a lot of wars in her career and has pulled off more than a few accomplishments. A veteran of Strikeforce (known for being on the receiving end of a Rampage style slam by Sara Kaufman), Modafferi has mostly competed in Japan for various promotions.
Her championship accomplishments include the IFC and ISKA Women’s Middleweight Championships (awarded to her in the same fight), FFF Women’s Lightweight Championship, and winning the K-Grace Women’s Open Weight Tournament. Modafferi is for the most part a solid bantamweight, but has fought at flyweight once. She’s probably going through TUF because of her recent five fight losing streak.
Shayna Baszler is a woman who has fought the best in order to be counted among the best. She has fought the likes of Kelly Kobold, Julie Kedzie, the above mentioned Modafferi, Tara LaRosa, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis twice, and Sara McMann.
Among her accomplishments are the FCF Women’s Bantamweight Grand Prix Championship and the TCI Women’s 140 lbs. Championship. She is a pretty solid bantamweight so there shouldn’t be any issue of being overpowered by any other women in the house. She is also a three time veteran of Invicta, however due to going 1-2 in that promotion, she probably has to prove herself in the house before going into the UFC.
Tara LaRosa has also seen her share of wars and has fought the more big names of women’s MMA. Her list of opponents include the aforementioned Baszler and Modafferi, Hitomi Akano, Julie Kedzie, Kelly Kobold, Alexis Davis, and Carina Damm. Her accomplishments include the UCW Women’s Bantamweight Championship, the BodogFight Women’s Bantamweight Championship, the Locked in the Cage Women’s Flyweight Championship, and the DaMMAge Fight League Women’s Super Flyweight Championship.
Though she has spent most of her career fighting at bantamweight, she’s recently ventured into flyweight, but has also had problems making weight in that weight class, indicating that the UFC bantamweight division for now is probably a better place for her. Also an Invicta vet, she’s probably going through TUF because she also bears a loss on her record for her last fight.
This is not the first occasion that Tonya Evinger has made history in women’s MMA. Together with Jennifer Tate, Evinger partook in the first women’s MMA bout sanctioned by the California State Athletic Commission. She’s fought the likes Gina Carano, Julie Kedzie, Alexis Davis twice, Sara McMann, and Carina Damm.
Of the five women, Evinger has the most momentum going into the TUF house on a three fight win streak, begging the question as to why she isn’t going straight into the UFC. Something else that makes her unique in the TUF house is that she is to date, the only fighter (as far as we know) that is gay, and if she makes it into the UFC, will be one of only two on the whole roster along with Liz Carmouche.
~ Closing Notes ~
While these women are favored, this is MMA where anything can happen and just because they have been in women’s MMA for a while, doesn’t mean one of the other eleven women on the show won’t become the next break through star in the sport.
Agree with this list? Leave a comment!