UFC 2016: Women’s Strawweight preview and predictions

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By Niall Clarke

  • Predictions for The UFC Womens Strawweight division
  • Joanna Jedrzejczyk is the current champion
  • A run through on what could potentially happen in 2016

With 2015 complete for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, it is time to look ahead to the new year starting with the women’s 115lbs division

2015 was another outstanding year for the UFC as the rise of the world biggest mixed martial arts promotion continued.

The year was littered with classic fights, memorable upsets and the odd incident or two away from the octagon. 2015 has also seen the rise of MMA in the United Kingdom and Ireland with stars such as Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey being too large for the mainstream media to ignore.

But among all of that, the smallest weight class in the company has quietly been coming into its own.

The queen of the 115 pound division’s name might be difficult to pronounce, but it is even tougher beating her. Joanna Jedrzejczyk came through the ranks in 2014 to earn a shot at UFC gold in March 2015 at UFC 185. The Pole dominated from the get-go, earning a one-sided TKO victory to become the first Polish UFC champion and only the third European to hold a UFC title.

She went on to defend her crown two times against Jessica Penne and Valerie Letourneau, the latter setting two UFC records for the most significant strikes landed in a title fight (220), and the most leg kicks landed in a single fight (70).

Now the consensus pound for pound best female fighter in the UFC, Jedrzejczyk has shown no signs of giving up her title. 11 fights into her career and she has yet to taste defeat. Her exciting style has put the world on notice and brought attention to the Strawweight division.

‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas might be the next in line after an impressive display against Paige VanZant. The Brazilian dominated the highly touted American en route to a submission victory towards the end of the year.

The champion has expressed an interest in coaching for the Ultimate Fighter series so we could also see her appear on the UFC reality show in 2016, most likely across her next opponent. It could end up being a themed Europeans vs Brazilian show given the nationalities of the fighters.

’12 gauge’ might earn her own shot if she can respond positively after her first defeat, but it will likely have to wait until 2017 with other contenders emerging. Tecia Torres is also in line with her undefeated record in the company, as is Polish newcomer Karolina Kowalkiewicz who recently won her UFC debut.

One of these two up and coming contenders will earn a UFC title shot against Jedrzejczyk to end 2016 and the champion will prevail. It is difficult seeing Jedrzejczyk losing any time soon. Expect the Pole to improve on her unbeaten and remain the Strawweight champion.

Keep an eye out for the Flyweight division preview that will come your way on….