Tracy Cortez Responds to Negativity in Women’s MMA

Despite recent negativity and inactivity in some women’s UFC divisions, Tracy Cortez aims to reignite excitement by stepping into the main event against Rose Namajunas, aspiring to surpass Ronda Rousey’s legacy while maintaining authenticity and connecting with fans.

Since Ronda Rousey first exploded onto the scene and helped usher women’s fighting into the UFC, there have been no shortage of marquee moments for women in the octagon.

Lately, however, there’s been a slightly different feeling as a cloud of negativity has seemed to surround the women’s divisions in the UFC. Perhaps part of that stems from inactivity, with the flyweight title sitting dormant for the better part of the past year and the bantamweight title seemingly not seeing action again until the final months of 2024.

The one constant has been the strawweight division, where Zhang Weili still rules with an iron fist. But even her five-round battle with Yan Xiaonan at the historic UFC 300 card was largely overshadowed after following Max Holloway’s victory over Justin Gaethje with one of the all-time great finishes in UFC history.

That same chatter lately regarding women’s MMA was much the same when the main event for UFC Denver was originally announced as Rose Namajunas vs. Maycee Barber. But the mood seemingly changed when Barber fell out and was replaced by Tracy Cortez, who comes into the matchup on an 11-fight win streak and undefeated in the UFC.

“I think it’s one of those things where everyone’s waiting for the next Ronda [Rousey], for the next Joanna [Jedzrejczyk], someone incredible like [Zhang] Weili to stay on top and prove themselves,” Cortez said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Someone like Rose to ride that wave like Ronda did, or even myself now that I’m here.”

“But I did see the shift [toward negativity] and I don’t know why. I don’t know why women’s MMA is getting bashed recently like it is, but hopefully July 13 we put on a great show, an exciting show, and we give the crowd what they want. Get them excited again for women’s MMA.”

For her personally, Cortez believes part of her attraction with fans comes down to her own demeanor and how she carries herself both inside and outside the cage. That authenticity seems to connect with people.

Perhaps that led to some of fanfare Cortez received after she got main event slot against Namajunas on Saturday.

“I think fans feel me, at least me personally as a fighter, as a person. The message I try to get across on my social media is there’s purpose behind what I do,” Cortez said. “I’m not just fighting to fight. There’s purpose. There’s meaning.”

“I’m very intentional with how my life is. I don’t know. It even caught me by surprise.”

As far as becoming next Rousey—who at her peak was right alongside Conor McGregor as two biggest stars in sport—Cortez had nothing but praise for former UFC women’s bantamweight champion.

Since leaving UFC, Rousey has openly admitted a bit of love-hate relationship with MMA. She went so far as saying she hasn’t attended any events because she knows she would get bombarded by boos from fans.

Don’t expect Cortez to join in that chorus of jeers; she holds Rousey in very high regard—even if she hopes to one day surpass some records Rousey set in UFC.

“I’m very grateful for way Ronda paved way for women’s MMA,” Cortez said. “No one has done it like she has.”

“But I say this humbly: I hope to surpass that. She set goal and us competitors want keep overstepping these goals and overdoing what our last heroes did.”

“I saw way she moved…finessing and tweaking…making it my own…hoping surpass what she’s done.”

Cortez knows those are lofty ambitions—but much like stepping into Saturday’s main event on short notice—the 30-year-old flyweight welcomes challenge.

“I thrive off pressure,” Cortez said. “I’ve always been judged…overlooked…just pretty face.”

“I’m here now; record speaks itself—I thrive off it—I love it—I genuinely love pressure—I perform—I embrace it fully.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -