This past Saturday in the main event of UFC Vegas 40, we saw a showdown in the women’s featherweight division. Top bantamweight contender Aspen Ladd (9-2) moved up to featherweight to take on striker Norma Dumont (7-1).
Ladd was supposed to compete back at UFC Vegas 39 in the bantamweight division, but couldn’t make weight. After having a significant layoff due to injury, the weight cut in her return bout proved to be too much. Ladd was removed from the card.
When Holly Holm fell out of the main event against Dumont, the UFC asked Ladd to move up in weight to fight Dumont. Ladd gladly accepted and many were interested to see how she would look in a weight class she’s likely better suited for.
She’s always been looked at as one of the brighter prospects in the UFC, but making 135 pounds has been a struggle for her. Given the state of the featherweight division, this was actually a golden opportunity for Ladd to build some momentum in a new home.
However, the fight didn’t go her way at all. Ladd spent most of the fight on the outside with Dumont picking her apart. There was a lot of tentativeness and non-aggressiveness from Ladd which ultimately cost her the fight at UFC Vegas 40.
What’s next after UFC Vegas 40?
Ladd picked things up towards the end of the fight, but she still walked away losing a decision. There was a lot of controversy surrounding her coaches. Ladd was getting criticized by her coaches in between rounds for not being aggressive and not really fighting.
The criticism from her coaches was completely warranted. We’ve seen Ladd take her coaches feedback before and immediately apply it. Her coaches were trying to get her fired up at UFC Vegas 40, but by the time Ladd got going, it was a bit too late.
So the question becomes, what’s next for Ladd? Well, if she would’ve won, I really liked her at 145 pounds. The UFC needs a new challenger for Amanda Nunes, and Ladd could have made for a compelling challenger.
However, after that performance, she’s likely heading back to 135 pounds. That is perfectly fine as long as she can show the UFC that the weight won’t be an issue. If she can make 135 pounds, I think a good next fight for her would be former title challenger Sara McMann (12-6)