It dawned on me in my last article that as much as I talk a heap of trash about female sports, and rightfully so, women’s MMA is some of my favorite shit to watch on the planet, and has been since the Gina Carrano days of yore. In fact, it’s the only female sport I pay even the slightest bit of attention to, and I would bet most male sports fans would agree. The fight between lethal Joanna Jedrzejczyk and her arch-nemesis, the stunning Claudia Gadilia, was the best built-up fight of the year next to McGregor-Diaz, and also one of my favoites. Plus as Queenpin of the shark-filled 115-pound division, Joanna has tons of interesting match-ups and young talent on the horizon. In fact, Joanna’s next fight is set to be an all-Polish showdown with fellow undefeated strawweight Karolina Kowalkiewicz, after her decision victory over ultra-talented Rose Namajunas.
But even more exciting match-ups abound in the women’s glamour division: 135 pounds. After last year’s brutal knockout of arguably the most famous fighter on the planet Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm was choked out in her first title defense by Miesha Tate in maybe the 2016 Fight of the Year, who has herself decisively lost twice to Rousey. The three most famous women in the sport continue to prove to be the Ali-Frazier-Foreman of women’s MMA.
And just when you figured you were getting a handle on the 135-lb division being those three ladies standing alone, a new face has been added to complete that Mt. Rushmore: current champ Amanda Nunes, who destroyed Tate in three minutes at the main event of UFC 200. But instead of a no-brainer first defense for Nunes against Holm, Holm was surprisingly decisioned by Valentina Shevchenko, putting yet another woman in the title mix at 135. I just can’t wait until the UFC adds the 125-lb. and 145-lb. women’s divisions. Just like when they finally added the men’s 155-lb. and then the men’s 145-lb. divisions years ago, it’s long overdue.
So there you have it. The past year was the biggest and best for women’s MMA in its existence, and the future continues to only get brighter. The next few months of 2016 are shaping up to be as unpredictable and exciting as the rest of the year has been so far. I literally can’t wait to see the widely-feared Jedrzejczyk defend her belt against her countrywoman Kowalkiewicz, or where veterans Holm and Tate go from here, or if Nunes can successfully defend her belt where the last two titleholders could not, or, oh yeah…if Ronda muthafuckin Rousey comes back.
I don’t hate women’s sports, I hate garbage sports, which the majority of women’s sports happen to be. But if you give me a great sport with compelling athletes and the best available competition, I’ll definitely watch. People aren’t just such huge fans of women’s MMA because so many of the chicks are attractive—although I personally do find it a lot harder to pay attention to the subtleties of the ground game when it’s two hot girls writhing around—but because it’s the most exciting female sport on earth. Or just a little more exciting than watching a fastbreak-free, bounce pass-fest.