Women’s Featherweight (145)
While it is usually good or interesting to be uniquely different from other people and promotions, that is not the case for the UFC women’s Featherweight division (145lbs). The way the 145 champion is quashing contenders, the Featherweight division is down to Megan Anderson, the last hope.
Dana White has considered getting rid of the division soon because there is no fighter depth. Since Cris Cyborg (23-2) left the UFC for Bellator, another MMA promotion, Featherweight has lacked true contenders. Nunes has thus resulted to padding her record via 145.
Over the past year, however, the UFC molded two Featherweight challengers that can give Nunes a fight: Felicia Spencer and Megan Anderson. While they built up Felicia Spencer to challenge Amanda Nunes, she was no match for Nunes when they finally came together to fight.
Amanda Nunes going at Felicia Spencer 😳 #UFC250 pic.twitter.com/PTmQA2Nosm
— ESPN (@espn) June 7, 2020
In July 2020, Amanda Nunes unanimously defeated Felicia Spencer (50-44, 50-44, 50-45), where she out-landed Spencer 132 to 70 significant strikes over 5 rounds. This is what baseball fans call “pitching a shut out”.
Nunes appreciated this title fight because it allowed her to display her endurance, striking ability, take down defense, and her mighty power on a durable fighter who could take the punishment.
She silenced her critics, who often said Nunes is a “one-trick pony” or someone who relies on their power and ending fights quickly by controlling every minute of her 5 round fight. That leaves the division with only one true contender left to face Amanda Nunes: Megan Anderson.
The Last Hope: #1 Megan Anderson (11-4)
- 1-0 in 2020
- Key wins against Norma Dumont, Zarah Fairn, Cat Zingano
- Next fight against Amanda Nunes (20-4) on March 6th
Megan Anderson is next up for the featherweight title.
Megan brings a different, exciting dimension to the division: her length. Standing at 6 feet with a 72-inch reach, she will be the biggest/tallest opponent Amanda Nunes has ever faced.
Megan Anderson has several abilities that make her special. One of them being her superb clinch work.
This is the Megan Anderson we've been waiting for since Invicta – a first-round knockout of Norma Dumont! #UFCNorfolk pic.twitter.com/yZzuM1yGKu
— Kyle Johnson (@VonPreux) March 1, 2020
Because she can easily pick apart opponents from the outside, many, if not all, opponents choose to close the distance and clinch with her to take away that advantage. Megan Anderson and her team at Glory MMA and Fitness have practiced and prepared for these situations.
In her fight against Zarah Fairn at UFC 243, she showed that she could use her opponents’ aggressiveness and eagerness to close the distance against them. As soon as the first round started, Fairn sprinted over to Anderson, hitting her with a 3-4 punch combo that made Anderson back up and assess the situation.
Fairn then tried to push Anderson against the wall and clinch with her in hopes that she can get her down to the ground. Unfortunately for Fairn, this became an advantage for Megan Anderson.
Anderson’s transitions in the clinch set her apart from other fighters in the division. In the blink of an eye, Anderson switched their position, pushed Fairn to the cage, and tripped her. That moment was the beginning of the end for Zarah Fairn.
Big bounce back win for @MeganA_mma, who locked up the first-round submission at #UFC243 pic.twitter.com/rT7VX06Ct2
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 6, 2019
There are not many fighters as strong and powerful as Megan is.
Anderson’s power and finishing ability make her a serious contender to Amanda Nunes.
With that said, her strengths will be put to the test when she fights next. Many people are looking past Anderson to Nunes’ next challenge, including the odds makers.