You know what? Im going to do 125 pound women (division).
That was UFC President Dana White explaining why he decided this next season of The Ultimate Fighter would be for the inaugural UFC womens flyweight title. He admitted his staff jumped the gun with a press release but seems happy that the division will fill up.
If Tuesday was any indication, he made the right choice.
46 women came to tryouts at the Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas to get their shot at being the first ever champ. We can confirm names of 34 of the hopefuls, which are listed at the bottom of the article.
Two intriguing names on the list are former InvictaFc champ Barb Honchak and current Invicta title contender and TUF 18 vet Roxanne Modafferi. Honchak (10-2) never lost her InvictaFC belt, but is coming back after nearly 2 1/2 year absence from the sport. Her participation (if selected) would give some legitimacy to the newly formed belt.
Modafferi is coming off an impressive win this past weekend over Sarah DAlelio and in many peoples eyes is the number 1 contender for Jennifer Maias InvictaFC title. If she makes it in the house, we can look for the undefeated Agnieszka Niedźwiedź to take her spot.
Jennifer Maia was not at the tryouts, but all signs point to her being signed to the UFC later this year; hopefully facing the TUF 26 winner.
Other InvictaFC vets that were in attendance includedChristine Ferea (who also fought this past weekend),Christine Stanley,Rachael Ostovich,Ariel Beck,DeAnna Bennett, andSijara Eubanks.
Bellator strawweight tournament champion Zoila Frausto was trying out as well.
Under the UFC banner, two came out for the tryouts. Former InvictaFC bantamweight champion Lauren Murphy and Lucie Pudilov were both on hand to possibly set their sights on UFC gold.
Two international fighters were there inBryony Tyrell (England) andJoselyne Edwards Laboriel (Panama).
Among those NOT in attendance included Andrea Lee, who is having some minor surgery in her back; and Katlyn Chookagian, who is recovering from a shoulder injury. Jessica Eye and Joanne Calderwood spoke publicly they were going to wait until the division is officially established in the UFC and wouldnt go through the TUF process. Mackenzie Dern (who is under a developmental contract with the UFC) was not in attendance either.
The process started with grappling (see above) and then headed to the pads to show their competence in striking; after which some cuts were made. Those who made it went into the interview portion and more cuts were made shortly after.
The remaining athletes will stay overnight in Vegas with them getting headshots done as a possible member of the cast. We suspect the process will be similar to TUF 20, where 16 fighters will be selected to take part of the show and directly move into the house. Two alternates will also be selected in case someone has to fall out.
Here are 34 of the 46 we can confirm were at the tryouts.
- Heather Bassett
- Ariel Beck
- DeAnna Bennett
- Trisha Cicero*
- Jessy Rose Clark
- Rachael Cummins
- Calie Cutler
- Kelly DAngelo
- Shana Dobson
- Savannah Em
- Sijara Eubanks
- Christine Ferea
- Zoila Frausto
- Karine Gevorgyan
- Barb Honchak
- Ana Julaton
- Nicole Klein
- Kelly Kobold*
- Joselyne Edwards Laboriel
- Roxanne Modafferi
- Lauren Mueller
- Lauren Murphy**
- Rachael Ostovich
- Lucie Pudilov**
- Kali Robbins
- Gillian Robertson
- Gabby Romero
- Shanie Rusth
- Angela Samaro
- Christine Stanley
- Montana Stewart
- Jamie Thorton
- Bryony Tyrell
- Emily Whitmire
*- stated on social media they are out of the running
**- Currently/was under UFC contract