What Female Strawweights Should UFC Sign Directly?

The UFC has several female strawweights on their roster, most of whom will appear on the 20th season of the Ultimate Fighter. However, the first female strawweight fight is officially booked in a match in Atlantic City between Claudio Gadelha and Tina Lahdemaki. Also getting contracts right into the UFC are Paige Van Zant and Juliana Lima. Eleven fighter contracts were bought from Invicta including, Carla Esparza, Joanne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Rose Namajunas, Felice Herrig, Alex Chambers, Bec Hyatt and Emily Kagan.

The remained of the TUF 20 cast will be determined soon based on a recent tryout. With 12 members of the new division already known and eight more to be determined via TUF, who else could we expect to sign straight to the UFC? I am fairly confident that our top flyweight prospect, Justine Kish will make TUF as will Irish fighter Aisling Daley. I also have a good idea that Michelle Ould will be a part of the 16 person roster along with Jessica Penne. If I am right that leaves four spots on TUF. There is little possibility of guessing the remaining cast with certainty, but I can tell you 10 women’s strawweights who are worth signing directly to UFC.

1. Mizuki Inoue – The Japanese star is very young and very talented. She could be Japan’s best hope at a UFC title. I am not sure of her current contract with DEEP Jewels, but I have reliable information that prior to her last fight, UFC tried to sign her, but DEEP would not release her from her contract. Regardless, she is the best prospect in this division.
2. Katja Kankaanpaa – Katja may have the best looking resume of the bunch. She will be one of the highest ranked girls in the division not in the UFC, if they do not lock her up. Frankly, I would be surprised if she is not in UFC for her next fight.
3. Karolina Kowalkiewicz – This is another prospect who is 5-0. The Polish based fighter has a good resume throughout Europe and is certainly worth a look.
4. Stephanie Eggink – I am not sure what the situation is with the XFC champion. I am a bit surprised she did not tryout for TUF, but maybe she hopes for a direct offer.
5. Kalinda Faria – She has been on our radar for a while and has some of the best experience on this list, making her a real option to go to UFC.
6. Randa Marko Thomas -Randa showed what she was made of in her loss to Justine Kish. She also tried out for TUF, so she could get to the UFC that way, but with limited space available, I think she is more likely as a late addition some time soon.
7. Herica Tiburico – She is very young and very talented. One of her losses came to UFC signee Claudia Gadelha, so she certainly could make a case for an offer. She may be better served in Invicta for a bit.
8. Livia Souza – at only 23-years old she has a high upside and UFC may want to invest in her as a marquee Brazilian female.
9. Ericka Almeida – She is 5-0 and expected to drop down from 125 pounds. If so, she could be a real one to keep an eye on.
10. Norma Center – She may not quite be ready in terms of experience, but she has loads of potential based on her strong grappling.

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