This weekend at UFC
, Weili Zhang
and Rose
will meet in a strawweight title fight with historic

If Zhang defeats Namajunas to notch a second successful defense of
the title, she will have defeated the last three women to hold the
belt — Namajunas, Jessica
and Joanna
— in consecutive fights. Even taking Jedrzejczyk’s
five title defenses into consideration, that feat would make a
fairly compelling case for “Magnum” as the greatest strawweight in
the division’s brief history. On the other hand, if Namajunas
unseats Zhang and becomes the division’s first two-time champion,
it could easily vault her into divisional GOAT status, considering
that “Thug Rose” is 1-1 against Andrade and 2-0 against
Jedrzejczyk. Whatever the outcome on Saturday, it will be a
defining moment for the seven-year-old division, and barring
something unforeseen, it is likely to result in an immediate
rematch — extremely likely, if Namajunas wins. We can only hope for
another instant classic like the one we got from Zhang and
Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248 last March.

Here is the brief but eventful history of the UFC strawweight
title. It tells a story of a division with surprising depth and
parity from day one, a division that continues to grow and develop
as its initial crop of contenders have taken turns knocking each
other off the throne.

Duffy/ illustration