Felice Herrig is not feeling the love from the UFC.
The female strawweight, who’s one of the more experienced and established fighters in the division, outpointed the undefeated Justine Kish at Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 112 in Oklahoma City.
The dominant performance against Kish served as an addition to her current win streak that includes impressive victories over Kailin Curran and Alexa Grasso. Yet, despite being a veteran of the sport and being 4-1 in the UFC, Herrig feels she’s not getting the same opportunities or promotional push other fellow female fighters are getting from the company. And she believes it’s for reasons beyond her control.
“I think that I had one bad performance, and because I’m a veteran in this sport you can’t look at me as this new up-and-comer that they can be like, ‘This girl is going to be the next big thing,’” Herrig said following her victory over Kish in a media scrum. “I already solidified myself in this sport, I’ve already been in it for 15 years, I’ve fought some of the best and fought completely out of my weight class in so many fights.
“Honestly, if you want to know the truth, I just feel like I’m not young and beautiful for the UFC to want to promote me. And it’s sad because I’ve really worked hard to be here and it’s hard to see, you know, these people who haven’t been through what I’ve been through and just got to the UFC at the right time, and they’re getting all these opportunities. I’ve seen how hard I’ve worked to get here and it just doesn't matter because I’m not pretty enough and I’m not getting any younger, so I don’t know.”
Herrig believes she should be regarded as one of the best fighters in the division, and finds the UFC ranking system to be flawed.
“I definitely think I should be in the top 10,” Herrig explained. “But I also think – and I’ve said it before – that the rankings are a gimmick, a marketing tool to solidify match ups that the UFC wants to put out and to hype up fighters that aren’t really top 10 or anything. I just think that my performances are going to keep speaking volumes.
“I think fans, the people, the media see and recognize, I mean, I just beat two undefeated fighters, two really good undefeated fighters that were no joke. Alexa Grasso is no joke, Justine Kish is no joke, anybody in this sport that’s not just a casual fan knows better. I don’t need a fancy trophy to tell me I’m good or to tell me what I’m made of I know.”
The 32-year-old Herrig knows that at the end of the day the UFC has a business to run so they’ll have to make business-like decisions when it comes to promoting fighters, but she hopes she can just get a little love thrown her way.
“I’m not trying to make this like a point finger at the UFC or Dana White or anybody,” Herrig said. “I know they have a business to run, but sometimes, and I’m not the only fighter who feels like this ... we put a lot out there as fighters, and I don’t know, I feel like I’ve paid my dues and nobody can deny that. I’m a UFC fighter and I’ve worked my way to the top, so I would like a little more love, that’s it.”