The Ultimate Fighting Championship could move forward in adding a women’s featherweight division even without the presence of its potential centerpiece.
UFC President Dana White recently told Fox Sports Australia that the Las Vegas-based promotion plans on adding a 145-pound weight class even if Cristiane Justino, the reigning Invicta featherweight queen, is not on board. During an interview on the UFC “Unfiltered” podcast, White claimed that Justino turned down two potential 145-pound title bouts in the early portion of 2017.
"She was offered two fights at 145 pounds, she turned them both down," White said. "The first fight, she said she only had eight weeks and that wasn't enough time to make 145 pounds. And then she gave no reason for the second time. But the answer is yes. The answer is yes, we're going to make a 145-pound division, whether it's with Cyborg or not."
Justino has competed twice in the Octagon at a 140-pound catch-weight, scoring technical knockout wins over Lina Lansberg and Leslie Smith. The Brazilian star endured grueling weight cuts on both occasions and told MMAFighting.com that she turned down the aforementioned opportunities because she was still recovering from the cut for the Lansberg fight, which took place on Sept. 24. “Cyborg”added that she would need at least 12 weeks’ notice to cut to 145 pounds and that she could fight by March. The latest option presented to her was UFC 208 in Brooklyn on Feb. 11.
White did not offer specifics on when the UFC would look to officially implement a featherweight division.