It looks like former UFC strawweight title challenger Valérie Létourneau is set to become the next former UFC star to jump ship to Bellator. According to a new report from MMAFighting’s Ariel Helwani, the Canadian fighter is “close to finalizing a new contract” with the Viacom backed promotion. Bellator 178, coincidentally, is currently unfolding in Uncasville, Conn.
Létourneau (8-6) started her UFC run a perfect 3-0, earning herself a shot at strawweight queen Joanna Jedrzejczyk. After dropping a unanimous decision in their title fight at UFC 193 in November 2015, she would lose twice more, which brought her to the end of her run in the promotion, finishing up 3-3 overall. This past February, Létourneau announced she was no longer with the UFC.
Interestingly, a key factor here may be weight class. Létourneau was part of the first and only UFC flyweight fight to date, taking on Joanne Calderwood in Ottawa at UFC Fight Night 89 last year. While the UFC has never added the weight class or even held a flyweight fight since that night, Bellator MMA has pushed forward with the 125lb weight class for women, which boasts a fair amount of talent natural to the weight, or fighting just above at bantamweight and just below at strawweight.