Liz Carmouche seems to have made peace with her Ultimate Fighting Championship release in a relatively short period of time.
Carmouche was cut late last week while doing UFC promotional work in Washington, D.C. ahead of Saturday’s card on ESPN. During an appearance on ”Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show” on Monday, “Girl-Rilla” says she was told that the UFC let her go because she was defeating potential contenders at 125 pounds.
"The reason that they gave is that they're really trying to build up the division and every female that they've brought into the 125-pound division, I've been able to beat them," said Carmouche. "So it's not really giving them the opportunity to build up the division the way they've wanted to. So for the best well-being of the division, they had to cut me to give me an opportunity to go elsewhere and get the fights I need."
Carmouche is coming off a five-round decision loss to Valentina Shevchenko in a flyweight title bout at UFC Fight Night 156 on Aug. 10. While that contest wasn’t especially competitive, Carmouche did earn victories over Lucie Pudilova and Jennifer Maia since moving from bantamweight to 125 pounds. She claims she was often had difficulty finding opponents and as a result, has only fought four times since 2017.
"What that tells me is that [other fighters are] so scared of me [the UFC] can't do anything about it," Carmouche said. "I mean, it would be worse if they were like, you're just not good enough, we're just gonna have to cut you. Instead of, all the females are afraid of me. I'd much rather have it fear for them than it be that I just wasn't skilled enough or made a mistake that cost it."
Carmouche, who has won four of her last six fights, famously helped usher in the female MMA era in the Octagon when she lost to Ronda Rousey in a bantamweight championship clash at UFC 157. That was the first ever women’s bout to be held in the promotion.
It appears that Bellator MMA is Carmouche’s top potential destination. The Team Hurricane Awesome product could eventually have a chance to face training partner and reigning Bellator flyweight queen Ilima-Lei Macfarlane if she elects to take her talents to the Scott Coker-led organization. Carmouche previously fought for Coker in Strikeforce from 2010 to 2011.
"That [Bellator] would be a perfect fit, because I already know them and I have a good relationship with them," Carmouche said. "On top of that, I have my teammate that's leading in that division and has the belt. We've talked about it for years that a great fight for both of us would be each other, because we're our main training partners. We know our weaknesses and strengths. We know how to put on a good show. And we feel like for both of us that would be a really good fit."