13 Oct [MMA] 
Laura Sanko: There's enough talent for UFC to add atomweight division

ABU DHABI – Laura Sanko thinks the UFC would really benefit from adding an atomweight division.

Sanko, a former 105-pound fighter, is surprised to see that the UFC hasn’t invested in her division yet. The UFC currently has four female divisions: strawweight, flyweight, bantamweight, and featherweight but is yet to add atomweight.

After competing in six fights as an amateur and professional, Sanko has flourished in her coverage of the sport, reporting on UFC Fight Pass, FOX Sports and now ESPN. She is seen backstage on every episode of Dana White’s Contender Series and thinks if the UFC was willing to add featherweight, then it should definitely look into atomweight.

“I’m probably gonna get all sorts of flack for saying this, but I think the UFC has proven that women’s MMA is a very good business to be in,” Sanko told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Tuesday. “I think the featherweight division is exciting in its own right because you get big punchers, and you get big finishes, and you have Amanda Nunes. I mean, who doesn’t wanna see Amanda Nunes fight no matter what weight class it is? But I will say that if you’re looking to tap into markets like China, like the rest of Asia, there are a lot of atomweight women over there, a lot, and there are a lot in the United States, as well.”

Numerous strawweights on the UFC roster – including former Invicta champs Michelle Waterson, Jessica Penne and Jinh Yu Frey – haven’t been able to compete in their natural weight class. Sanko is confident there’s more than enough talent to build an atomweight division.

“I think that there’s a handful of girls that fight at strawweight that are much better suited to be atomweights,” Sanko said. “I know Loma Lookboonmee has put on some muscle and obviously doing good things at strawweight, but she’s a natural atomweight. Jessica Penne used to be an atomweight, Michelle Waterson used to be atomweight – I don’t know if Michelle Waterson can make atomweight anymore, because she is stacked and there’s a whole crew of really talented women coming up through Invicta.”

Sanko continued, “I actually think it’s a much easier division to keep filled up than featherweight is. There’s just more, I think they’re really exciting fighters, and I need to go back and look at the stats, but last time I looked, there is a surprising number of finishers.”