Just weeks ago, undefeated Brazilian fight Talita Nogueira, a world champion Brazilian Jiu-jitsu specialist with a black belt under the Ryan Gracie team, was in negotiations with the UFC to become part of the women’s bantamweight division there. Having competed at upwards of 160 pounds in Jiu-jitsu, Nogueira was looking at a potential 30-pound weight cut — something she seemed to accept, in an interview with MMA Fighting in July, where she stated she was keeping her weight down around the 150-pound mark in order to facilitate the cut down to the bantamweight limit.
What a difference a few weeks makes.
With the announcement that Bellator MMA is bringing back women’s MMA to its ranks, starting with a featherweight division (which bears all the hallmarks of a Scott Coker decision, clearly), Nogueira suddenly had options that included not having to cut a large amount of weight and fight below her natural weight class. That was apparently a big upside for the hot women’s MMA prospect, who opted to sign with Bellator, as confirmed by a press release from the promotion today. In the release, Nogueira is quoted as saying:
“Since I began my MMA career I wanted to compete in a promotion like Bellator so I want to thank Scott and Rich for bringing back women’s MMA to Bellator and I promise I will train harder than anyone to put on entertaining fights for Bellator.”
This is a big move for a fighter who just last month was in talks with the UFC and seen as a major prospect for their bantamweight division. It shows the advantages of Bellator being able to offer a higher weight class for female fighters. Competition is always a good thing, and it’s especially beneficial for Bellator to be able to offer something the UFC cannot (or at least will not) at this point: a home for women’s fighters not willing or able to make the 135-pound limit.