3 UFC strawweights who could compete in an atomweight division
For some time now, UFC fans, media and fighters have been calling for the inclusion of an atomweight division. There are a number of fighters currently competing in the strawweight division who have the skills to be competitive but often fall short when it comes to physicality.
In the following list, we take a look at three current UFC fighters who could excel should the UFC introduce a potential atomweight division. There are also a number of fighters outside of the UFC who would also thrive in such a division, but in this list we solely look at current UFC athletes.
3 UFC strawweights who could compete in an atomweight division:
#3. Jinh Yu Frey
During her days at Invicta Fighting Championship, Jinh Yu Frey was a force to be reckoned with. Competing in the atomweight division, Frey won and defended the title. Since signing for the UFC, the Korean-American has gone 1-2. While she did look impressive in her most recent victory over Gloria de Paula, Frey is lacking the size and strength advantage that she had whilst competing at 105 pounds.
Now at the age of 36, it seems unlikely that Frey will be able to make a title run in the UFC's strawweight division, but should an atomweight division be formed, she stands a legitimate chance of breaking into contendership at the very least.
#2. Loma Lookboonmee
Loma Lookboonmee is one of the most decorated combat sports athletes inside the UFC. She has competed in over 200 muay thai bouts as well as representing Thailand's national team.
Having transitioned to MMA at the age of 17, Lookboonmee put together wins at Invicta and Pancrase competing in the 105-pound division. She was then signed by the UFC, where she has since gone 3-1.
In each of her fights, Lookboonmee's skillset has been impressive, but she is nearly always undersized. Should she come up against the top contenders of the strawweight division, it seems likely that the likes of Weili Zhang, Mackenzie Dern and Claudia Gadelha will be able to simply out-muscle Lookboonmee.
#1. Michelle Waterson
Michelle Waterson's skillset is of such a high level that she has been a contender in the UFC's strawweight division ever since she first signed for the organization.
Similar to both Lookboonmee and Frey, Waterson made her name in Invicta FC. She won and defended the atomweight title, defeating Jessica Penne in the process.
Now a UFC strawweight, Waterson has repeatedly put on stealler performances, often outstriking her opponents. But Waterson's lack of knockout power and small stature have seen her fall just short of the strawweight title on multiple occasions.
Should the UFC create an atomweight division, there is a strong chance that Waterson would quickly assert herself as a dominant champion.