By: Ty O'Keefe
Armed with a six-foot frame and pro record of 9-3, Megan Anderson clearly possesses both the potential and raw ability to become a force in the UFC's women's featherweight division. But the division's lack of depth has been a serious problem for Anderson, and an odd win over Cat Zingano at last weekend's UFC 232 has raised more questions for a fighter who is crucial to the future of her struggling weight class.
Throughout fight week, Anderson was far more interested in talking to the media about the UFC's need to sign featherweights than discussing the inconvenience of having to move her fight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the fact that UFC 232's co-main event featured a women's featherweight title fight that doubled as the most significant fight in the history of woman's MMA was a painfully misleading indication of the current state of the division.
Thus far, the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter, commonly known as T.U.F. 28: Heavy Hitters, and featuring fighters from the women's featherweight and men's heavyweight divisions, hasn't solved the weigh classes' lack of depth as the UFC hoped it would.
At just 3-0, it's not realistic to consider T.U.F. champion Macy Chiasson a legitimate contender--or a threat to any of the division's top talent. However, it's worth noting that Chiasson is planning to compete at 145 pounds, and with some added experience, could become the contender that many believe she can be.
But following her strange, TKO-win over Zingano--in which Anderson's toe unintentionally landed in her opponent's eye when she threw a kick at Zingano's head in the bout's opening round, the former Invicta FC champion has two options; either face Zingano in what would likely be a highly-anticipated rematch, or, campaign for a fight with Cris "Cyborg" Justino.
While a showdown with Cyborg is clearly the best fight for Anderson's career, she understands the obvious reasons for a rematch with Zingano, and made it clear that she's willing to take the rematch in a post-fight Instagram post.
"A win is a win," wrote Anderson. "Not how we wanted it to go but we're just doing our job."
"All well wishes to Cat and I hope she is ok. Like I said post fight, more than happy to give it to her again if that's what she wants."
Anderson has handled her somewhat controversial win as a true professional, but you could argue that she was thrown to the wolves when she was pitted against former women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm in her unsuccessful Octagon debut. And that may once again be the case if Anderson is given a crack at the once-immortal Justino.
With so few options for Anderson at 145 pounds moving forward, huge opportunities such as the Cyborg fight make sense for both featherweights. But under the circumstances, a loss to Cyborg wouldn't derail Anderson's career, because ultimately, the UFC needs the well-spoken Aussie to act as an unofficial ambassador for the entire division. And while the future of the weight class is currently in question, and Anderson does't believe she's a well-known star of the sport, it's clear that she's more than willing to accept that role.