claudia-gadelha-pre-ufc-fight-night-45

ATLANTIC CITY – Just three short years ago, UFC President Dana White infamously claimed women would “never” fight in his promotion’s famed octagon.

However, with UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey now firmly entrenched as one of the biggest superstars in all of MMA, the organization welcomes a second women’s division to its ranks on Wednesday.

“I always dreamed of fighting in the UFC, but it was so hard to think of the women’s division in the UFC,” Claudia Gadelha told MMAjunkie. “But they opened the door for us, and I’m very happy to be opening the strawweight division.”

Brazilian prospect Gadelha (11-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) meets fellow undefeated strawweight Tina Lahdemaki (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) in the very first fight of Wednesday’s “UFC Fight Night 45: Cerrone vs. Miller” event, which takes place at Revel Casino Hotel in Atlantic City. Gadelha vs. Lahdemaki streams live on UFC Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET) while the night’s remaining 10 fights – including a Donald Cerrone vs. Jim Miller headliner – air live on FOX Sports 1 (7 p.m. ET).

The curtain-jerker serves as the first 115-pound contest in UFC history, with the new division supplementing the 135-pound division in which Rousey currently reigns supreme.

While Rousey’s impressive fighting skills have taken the world by storm, the 115-pound division currently boasts a deeper roster of talented athletes, meaning the weight class may quickly provide some memorable affairs.

“We all have that same talent and technique and skills and everything, but the 115-pounders have a little bit more speed than the 135-pounders, so I think that’s something that might make it a little bit more exciting,” Lahdemaki said.

The women’s strawweight division will really take flight later this fall. Sixteen of the world’s top 115-pounders are currently in Las Vegas filming “The Ultimate Fighter 20,” which debuts on FOX Sports 1 later this year. The women will be divided into two teams, with UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis and top contender Gilbert Melendez serving as coaches. The winner of the 16-woman tournament will be crowned the UFC women’s strawweight champion.

Gadelha was actually selected to compete on the show and was one of the early favorites to win the tournament. However, Gadelha routinely walks around at about 140 pounds, and the prospect of making the 115-pound limit three times in six weeks of filming seemed dire, so she elected to pass on the reality show. The 25-year-old “Claudinha” admits it was a difficult choice, but she is now thankful for the historic opportunity she’s been given.

“I was kind of sad because I’m not going there, but the UFC gave me that present to make the first strawwight fight in UFC history, so I’m very happy about that,” Gadelha said.

Lahdemaki’s arrival in the promotion was a bit more surprising, even for her. “Jelly Bean” felt she might be garnering interest from outside her native Finland but didn’t necessarily expect it would come from the world’s largest MMA promotion.

tina-lahdemaki-pre-ufc-fight-night-45“It was a pretty big shock for me,” Lahdemaki said. “I was expecting that I would get a contract somewhere outside of Finland, but this was so unreal. I didn’t see this one coming, but I’m happy it did.

“I was a little bit nervous before I came here, but everybody is just so nice and everything has been handled so great that I’m just excited and can’t wait to fight.”

And so the two imports will face off at Wednesday’s event and make history as the first 115-pound fighters to step into the UFC’s famed octagon. If Rousey’s fast ride to superstardom is any indication, a real opportunity for a breakout performance could follow. It’s a possibility not lost on Gadelha, who is anxious to usher in a new era for women in the UFC.

“I think the strawweight division will impress everybody,” Gadelha said. “All the girls there are very talented. The strawweights make very good fights. It’s faster. It’s exciting.

“I want to be the champ. That’s why I’m here. I came here to stay, and nothing and nobody will take that away from me.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 45, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Claudia Gadelha, top, and Tina Lahdemaki, bottom)

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

Dana White Promises Dubliners a UFC Event Later this Year

  • 26 days ago
  • 1 views

It's not clear if Conor McGregor would top the bill, but UFC president Dana White on Tuesday promised a return to Dublin later this year. read news >>

Was it a slap? Was it a pull? Conor McGregor says what he did to Aldo was altogether different

  • 27 days ago
  • 7 views

Dana White initially called Conor McGregor's putting of hands on Jose Aldo a "slap," but McGregor's memory of the event is entirely different. Only a few days ago, Dana White told fans and the media read news >>

This is What Happens When Conor McGregor Steals Jose Aldo’s UFC Belt

  • 27 days ago
  • 31 views

Conor McGregor took Jose Aldo's belt and Dana White made a memorable face as a result. read news >>

Dana White says UFC will be back to Dublin in 2015 – and eyes Croke Park

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

The UFC is apparently set to make a return to Ireland before the end of 2015, according to company President Dana White.Filed under: MMA Rumors, News, UFC read news >>

Conor McGregor gives his own special take on the infamous 'slap' of Jose Aldo

  • 27 days ago
  • 81 views

Dana White said Conor McGregor slapped Jose Aldo's back. Aldo said McGregor grabbed his hood. And McGregor? Well, he had a different interpretation of what he did altogether. "I heard I slapped him i read news >>

Dana White: First round of Aldo-McGregor 'could be one of best rounds you've ever seen'

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

LONDON – Jose Aldo vs. Conor McGregor is being billed as the biggest featherweight bout in UFC history. Dana White believes the first five minutes could be something even more massive that that.Filed read news >>

Dana White Confirms Gustafsson vs. Teixeira for UFC Berlin

  • 28 days ago
  • 4 views

A light heavyweight match-up between Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira will headline UFC Fight Night 69 in Berlin. read news >>

Watch Conor McGregor's 'slap' to Jose Aldo's shoulder in Episode 8 of UFC Embedded

  • 28 days ago
  • 115 views

Dana White talked about it just last week, saying that McGregor slapped Aldo's back and Aldo "went crazy" that's not quite how it ended up looking on video. But there's now doubt that tensions are gr read news >>

VIDEO: Dana White Talks World Tour, Ronda Rousey at WrestleMania, and More!

  • 28 days ago
  • 5 views

Dana White addressed the craziness of the Aldo vs. McGregor tour, Ronda Rousey's appearance with The Rock at WrestleMania, rumored fights, and much more! read news >>

Trending News

Top News

Jump to: