Norma Dumont’s win over Chelsea Chandler at UFC Vegas 77 will be her final fight at featherweight. The Brazilian talent told MMA Fighting that she plans to cut to bantamweight after being told by the UFC that its 145-pound division will be closed in the coming months.
“They said, ‘Look, there’s really no one else to fight, Norma,’” Dumont said. “There’s no point fighting lower level athletes. [They said,] ‘The reality is, there’s no one else.’ It really makes no sense to me and to [the UFC].”
Amanda Nunes was the two-division champion at bantamweight and featherweight prior to her retirement, and that marketing angle was the main reason why the company didn’t shut down the weight class after Cris Cyborg cut ties with the promotion. Nunes defended the 145-pound throne occasionally, but bantamweight was always her true home.
The UFC has no featherweight matches currently booked, and most of its recent 145-pound bouts featured bantamweights who had trouble making weight or agreed to fight on short notice and required a weight change, such as Josiane Nunes, Karol Rosa, and Yana Santos.
Zarah Fairn was one of the few full-time featherweights signed by the UFC, and she’s cutting down to bantamweight for the first time to meet Hailey Cowan at UFC Paris in September. Dumont laughed at the idea of Fairn making 136 pounds, and said she expects the bout to be moved to 145 pounds eventually.
Fairn told MMA Fighting that she is resolute in her bantamweight move.
“That’s happening a lot,” Dumont said. “They announce a fight [at 135] and then the athlete has a hard time making weight, and they move it to 145. [UFC] said the division would be closed in September because that would be the last fight.”
Dumont expects more women to meet at 145 pounds since “they signed a lot of athletes that have trouble making 135,” so the division would “serve for athletes that can’t make 135 now,” without crowning a new champion.
Dumont used to weigh around 163 pounds on fight night, but was 11 pounds lighter at UFC Vegas 77 since she already anticipated the move to bantamweight.
“I didn’t see where to go and I was a bit tired and frustrated to do tough fights, to fight and beat bigger and heavier women, but move in no direction,” Dumont said. “That’s very upsetting. I had talked to the UFC already about it, [that] they should either let me go or end the division for good and I would try to move down. The way things were, that wasn’t good. I saw no future there.”
The plan for the future now, Dumont said, is to face a top-ranked bantamweight and prove to the company that she can make 135 pounds safely. Dumont weighed in at 139.5 pounds in her sole attempt to compete at bantamweight in the UFC back in 2020. She went 5-2 as a featherweight under the UFC banner.
“The division needs a new glow,” Dumont said. “Nobody wants to see Julianna [Peña], Pennington, or Holly for the belt. They want new blood, and I see three Brazilians coming hard for the title: Myself, ‘Sheetara’ [Mayra Bueno Silva], and Ketlen [Vieira]. The belt will be rotating between us.”