According to a Dec. 11 report from MMA Junkie, UFC President Dana White announced the promotion has acquired the contracts of several Invicta FC fighters, who will compete on the first all-women season of “The Ultimate Fighter” for the inaugural UFC 115-pound division title.
TUF 20, which kicks off May 18, features Invicta FC veterans Alex Chambers, Claudia Gadelha, Felice Herrig, Bec Hyatt, Emily Kagan, Rose Namajunas, Tecia Torres, Paige VanZant and Joanne Calderwood, plus Brazilian sensation Juliana Lima.
“The fans like it, I’m thrilled with it, and we’re going to dive into the 115-pound division,” White said. “We’re invested, we’re in, as far as the women go.”
Coaches for the season haven't yet been announced, and UFC officials haven't yet stated where the season's finale will be held.
The UFC will apparently continue to work with Invicta FC to develop up-and-coming female fighters in all divisions.
“We’ll continue to work with them and other promoters,” White said of his relationship with Invicta FC.
None of the 11 female fighters selected should come as much of a surprise, as each of them are veterans with multiple fights under their belt.
Chambers, 35, is riding a two-fight win streak, and Gadelha is widely considered to be the No. 2-ranked contender in the women's 115-pound division.
Herrig and Hyatt are two of the most marketable faces in the strawweight ranks. Kagan, 32, has won three of four since turning pro, and Lima reigned supreme in six of her last seven.
Torres is coming off a lopsided victory over Herrig at Invicta FC 7, and Namajunas is a legit top 10 contender at strawweight.
As for Calderwood, she's ranked No. 7 in the world at 115 pounds, and VanZant is also a marketable superstar.
TUF 20 will feature 16 female strawweights and the final five fighters will be selected from an open tryout that will be held in early-2014.
Here's a look at 10 fighters who have the most realistic shot at making the TUF 20 house.