"I can go out there and fill out that roster and division again," Knapp says. "Because, if you think about it, how many people knew those girls before? You really know their names because of Invicta, and that’s an astounding thing itself. From a company that’s only a year-and-a-half old, with only seven shows. To be able to do that that quickly, and have [the UFC] take notice that quickly…they’re the biggest show in the world. For them to give me that amount of acknowledgement, it’s huge. I think there’s a lot of things we both get out of it, which is what a good relationship is all about."
News broke earlier this week that 11 athletes from Invicta FC's 115-pound division were signed to the UFC, and that leaves the Kansas City-based promotion with just a handful of strawweight athletes on its roster.
Invicta FC vets "Thug" Rose Namajunas, Bec Hyatt, Felice Herrig, Carla Esparza, Brazil’s Juliana Lima, Emily Kagan, Alex Chambers, Claudia Gadelha, Tecia "The Tiny Tornado" Torres, Scotland’s Joanne Calderwood and Paige VanZant have all been signed to the UFC, so Invicta FC will be looking to refill its strawweight division with fresh blood.
"You know, I think it’s huge on many levels. I think the opportunity that these female athletes have right now will do amazing things for the sport as a whole, and for future female athletes," Knapp says. "This is an opportunity to change their lives. And it’s certainly not one that I can match at this moment in time.
"My goal has always been -- always, from day one and from the moment I ever stepped into this sport -- to make a difference. And when I had the opportunity to start Invicta, and to build Invicta, the goal professional and personally was to still make a difference. And to create opportunities. So for me, this is an amazing thing not only for Invicta, but for athletes and for future athletes. Because these girls are going to go in there and continue to break down those barriers that we’re fighting hard to break down everyday, and they’re going to get the opportunity and the recognition that they deserve."
Here's a look at 15 athletes who could step in to refill Invicta FC's strawweight division.