Norma Dumont’s move to bantamweight following her recent UFC victory indicates the end of the featherweight division. In an interview with MMA Hook, the Brazilian fighter revealed that her upcoming fight against Chelsea Chandler at UFC Vegas 77 will be her last in the 145-pound weight class. The UFC informed her that they plan to close the featherweight division due to the lack of viable opponents.
“They told me there’s really no one else to fight, Norma,” Dumont explained. “There’s no point in facing lower-level athletes. The reality is, there’s no one else available. It just doesn’t make sense to me or to the UFC.”
Previously, Amanda Nunes held two titles simultaneously in both bantamweight and featherweight divisions before her retirement. This marketing angle played a significant role in preventing the closure of the featherweight division after Cris Cyborg left the promotion. While Nunes occasionally defended her 145-pound title, her true home was always in the bantamweight division.
Currently, the UFC has no featherweight matches booked, and recent 145-pound bouts featured bantamweights who struggled to make weight or accepted fights on short notice with a required weight change. For example, fighters like Josiane Nunes, Karol Rosa, and Yana Santos had such situations.
Zarah Fairn, one of the few full-time featherweights in the UFC, will move down to bantamweight for the first time to face Hailey Cowan at UFC Paris in September. Dumont finds it amusing that Fairn aims to make 136 pounds, expecting the bout to eventually move back to 145 pounds.
Dumont believes that more fighters will meet at 145 pounds since the UFC has signed many athletes who struggle to make the 135-pound bantamweight limit. The division will likely serve as a weight class for those unable to make bantamweight, without crowning a new champion.
Dumont’s own weight has already been transitioning, as she weighed 11 pounds lighter at UFC Vegas 77 in anticipation of her move to bantamweight. She expressed frustration with tough fights against larger opponents in the featherweight division, leading her to seek a new direction.
Looking ahead, Dumont’s plan is to face a top-ranked bantamweight and demonstrate to the UFC that she can safely make the 135-pound limit. In a previous attempt in 2020, she weighed in at 139.5 pounds when competing at bantamweight. Having achieved a 5-2 record as a featherweight under the UFC banner, Dumont is eager to make her mark in the bantamweight division.
She expressed interest in facing fighters like Raquel Pennington, Irene Aldana, or possibly Holly Holm if she decides not to retire. Dumont believes the division needs new contenders and sees three Brazilians, including herself, Mayra Bueno Silva, and Ketlen Vieira, vying for the title, with the belt rotating between them.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about bantamweight division
Q: Why is Norma Dumont moving to bantamweight after her win at UFC Vegas 77?
A: Norma Dumont is moving to bantamweight after her win at UFC Vegas 77 because the UFC informed her that the featherweight division, where she currently competes, will be closed in the coming months. They stated that there are no viable opponents for her in the 145-pound division.
Q: Who was the two-division champion at bantamweight and featherweight prior to retirement?
A: Amanda Nunes was the two-division champion at both bantamweight and featherweight before her retirement. Her success as a double champion was a significant factor in preventing the closure of the featherweight division when Cris Cyborg left the UFC.
Q: What type of fighters have recent featherweight matches in the UFC featured?
A: Recent featherweight matches in the UFC have featured bantamweights who had difficulty making weight or accepted fights on short notice and needed a weight change to compete at 145 pounds.
Q: Who else is moving from featherweight to bantamweight, and why?
A: Zarah Fairn is also moving from featherweight to bantamweight. She is one of the few full-time featherweights in the UFC, but she aims to meet Hailey Cowan at UFC Paris in September at 136 pounds, which Dumont finds amusing.
Q: What are Norma Dumont’s plans for the future in the bantamweight division?
A: Norma Dumont plans to face a top-ranked bantamweight to prove to the UFC that she can safely make the 135-pound weight limit. Her previous attempt at bantamweight in 2020 saw her weigh in at 139.5 pounds.
Q: Who does Norma Dumont hope to face in her next bout at bantamweight?
A: Norma Dumont would be “very happy” to face fighters like Raquel Pennington, Irene Aldana, or potentially Holly Holm, provided she doesn’t retire.
Q: What does Norma Dumont think the bantamweight division needs?
A: Norma Dumont believes the bantamweight division needs new contenders to bring a fresh glow. She sees three Brazilians, including herself, Mayra Bueno Silva, and Ketlen Vieira, striving for the title, with the belt rotating between them.