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UFC holding Ultimate Fighter casting call for women’s featherweight, men’s heavyweight fighters

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UFC Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

It appears the UFC is making a legitimate effort to fill out the much-maligned women’s featherweight division.

On Wednesday, the promotion announced it would be holding an Ultimate Fighter casting call for women’s 145-pound fighters on May 22 in Las Vegas. Male heavyweight fighters are also invited to the call. The Ultimate Fighter 28 will begin filming in July and air on FS1 later in the year.

Applicants can apply online. They must be age 21-34 and have a winning record with at least three professional fights.

The UFC has not had much of a women’s featherweight division since promoting star Cris Cyborg in earnest back in 2016. Despite being the longtime Strikeforce and Invicta 145-pound champion, Cyborg fought her first two UFC bouts at a 140-pound catchweight, which was a brutal weight cut for her.

In her past three fights, Cyborg has fought for and defended the UFC women’s featherweight title against athletes who would consider themselves bantamweights.

Things seem to be changing, though. Holly Holm, a former Cyborg challenger, and Megan Anderson will fight at 145 in a major fight at UFC 225 on June 9 in Chicago. Anderson is a true 145-pounder at 6 feet tall. The addition of new athletes from The Ultimate Fighter 28 would be a boon for the once-floundering division.