Macy Chiasson may be returning to bantamweight at UFC 279, but she hopes some of her fellow fighters can help improve the future prospects of the women’s featherweight division.
Chiasson is set to meet Irene Aldana in a bantamweight bout on the main card of UFC 279. The 31-year-old won her last fight against Norma Dumont at featherweight, which prompted a question at the UFC 279 media day about her decision to return to bantamweight.
“Yeah, we’re just gonna have to figure out whether it’s ‘35 or ’45,” Chiasson said. “We’re in the same position. (LAUGHS) But no, no, it’s all good. I mean, I got into this game because I want to fight. And sometimes you gotta make hard choices and decisions and that’s just the way it is, and that’s just the way life is.
Typically, a jump between weight classes occurs if a fighter is struggling with a weight cut or looking for a spark in their career. If you ask Chiasson, she thinks that moving between bantamweight and featherweight should be more commonplace.
“But going forward, I think there are opportunities in both weight classes, and I’m waiting for people to realize that. Like, there’s a lot of girls that fight at ‘35 that could definitely fight at ‘45. Why don’t we fight up and down? What’s the problem with that? What’s the problem with a few of us going up to ‘45, fighting some girls, coming back down and fighting at ‘35? I think it’d be fun. And I mean, what’s at stake? So I just want to fight as much as I can, and ‘35 was the best opportunity for me.”
Chiasson Worries That Stigma Keeps Women From 145
The UFC currently has four women’s weight classes ranging from the 115-pound strawweight division to the 145-pound featherweight division.
Amanda Nunes holds both the bantamweight and featherweight belts in the UFC, but Chiasson is aware that featherweight currently lacks the number of fighters actively competing in the UFC’s other women’s divisions.
“I don’t know, man. I don’t know if it’s like a stigma for women, 145 pounds? I mean, I know the UFC fans are ruthless when it comes to that shit. And I’m not even gonna say ‘guys.’ Like, a lot of people are just like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to see these girls fight. They’re too big,’ blah, blah, blah. I’m like, OK, well, I went to a Dallas Wings game a few weeks ago and watched these women play basketball, and the smallest girl on their team was 170, 5’10”, but I couldn’t even tell because all the girls on the team are so big and athletic.”
Interestingly, Chiasson’s observation about some fans not wanting to watch women that are “too big” is the opposite issue historically faced by the UFC’s male divisions. While the lighter weight classes are often cited as having the deepest pool of talent, it’s the heavier divisions that tend to draw the most mainstream attention.
With this in mind, Chiasson may be able to look at men’s flyweight for encouragement regarding the future of women’s featherweight. The UFC’s lightest men’s weight class is currently experiencing perhaps its highest level of popularity thanks to the rivalry between Deiveson Figueiredo and Brandon Moreno, but it wasn’t very long ago that the promotion appeared ready to close the division.
What do you make of Chiasson’s thoughts on why more women don’t compete at 145-pounds? Should more female fighters jump between bantamweight and featherweight in the UFC?