UFC Denver: Tracy Cortez replaces Maycee Barber against Rose Namajunas

MMA: UFC 274-Cortez vs Gatto

In the last couple of weeks, the UFC has had several main events fall through. Khamzat Chimaev came down with an illness that forced him out of the main event in Saudi Arabia against Robert Whittaker. Then, Conor McGregor pulled out of his UFC 303 main event against Michael Chandler due to a broken pinky toe.

Today, another main event fell through. Alex Behunin on X first reported earlier this evening that Maycee Barber (14-2) was out of her upcoming main event against former strawweight champion “Thug” Rose Namajunas (12-6). The matchup was supposed to headline the promotion’s return to Denver on July 13th.

That said, it didn’t take long for the promotion to pivot. MMA Fighting was the first to report tonight that Tracy Cortez (11-1) would be stepping in to face Namajunas in Denver. Cortez had been preparing for a matchup against Miranda Maverick which was supposed to go down on July 20th from The APEX. This is a massive opportunity for Cortez.

UFC Denver

Cortez is currently the 11th ranked flyweight in the UFC. After getting submitted in her professional MMA debut back in 2017, Cortez has won 11 straight fights. She won a contract on Dana White’s Contender Series and made her promotional debut back in 2019. Since making that debut, she’s gone a perfect 5-0 inside the octagon.

Standing across from her in just a couple of weeks will be former champion Rose Namajunas. Namajunas knocked out Zhang Weili back in 2021 to become a two-time strawweight champion. She then defeated Weili by split decision in their immediate rematch. After that rematch, Namajunas took on Carla Esparza who defeated her in the worst UFC title fight I’ve ever seen.

Following that loss, Namajunas wasn’t sure whether or not she’d fight again. A year and a half later, she returned to a new weight class. She lost her flyweight debut against Manon Fiorot, but she bounced back well against Amanda Ribas in March. Now, she’ll look to be the first in the UFC to defeat Tracy Cortez.

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