The Top 10 UFC Female Fighters

In the world of fighting, the UFC and MMA fighting are slowly edging out boxing in popularity.  While boxing is the art of punching, the UFC is the art of fighting. One thing that sets the UFC apart from most other sports is the popularity of its female fighters. In many cases, the women fighters bring more of a draw than their male counterparts. Watching the women fight is every bit as exciting as watching the men fight.

Thanks to fighters like Ronda Rousey, women have been brought to the mainstream as both fighters and athletes. They also have proven that women can be every bit as tough as a man.

Here is our list of the Top 10 UFC Female Fighters:

10 – Ronda Rousey

• Record: 12-2
• Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
• Last: L (TKO1) Amanda Nunes, Dec. 30, 2016
• Next: TBD

The last time Ronda Rousey was defeated by Holly Holm, she went into hiding and became severely depressed. When Amanda Nunes defeated Rousey on Dec. 30, 2016, it may have been the end of Ronda’s UFC career.

Rousey is the most recognizable woman fighter in the UFC, and one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. Rousey broke barriers when she became the first women’s bantamweight champion defeating Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157.

She remained undefeated until she met up with Holly Holm in 2015, and suffered her first defeat. Up until that point, Rousey showed the other female fighters how to market themselves. She emerged as an actress, author, and even a magazine cover model, making her one of the most sought-after TV guests both for her athleticism and sheer personality.

If she does choose to retire after her Nunes defeat, we will understand, but should she choose to return, she will need to make adjustments to her way of fighting or she may see the reputation she built for herself disappear.

9 – Holly Holm

• Record: 10-2
• Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
• Last: L (UD) Valentina Shevchenko, July 9, 2016
• Next: UFC 208 on Feb. 11, vs. Germaine de Randamie

When Holly Holm defeated Ronda Rousey in 2015, we all thought she would be the new ‘Queen of the Octagon.’  She has since lost two in a row, losing her title to Miesha Tate and then again to Valentina Shevchenko in July 2015.The former boxing champion is now in a bit of a tailspin. After blowing up the state of the division with a knockout of Ronda Rousey, Holm has lost two in a row, losing  Her loss

Holm is hoping to redeem herself however when she fights in the UFC’s inaugural Featherweight fight, UFC 208, against Germaine de Randamie on February 11, 2017. We will see if the change of weight class works out better for Holm, or her defeat of Rousey may stert to look like a Fluke.

8 – Karolina Kowalkiewicz

• Record: 10-1
• Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
• Last: L (UD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Nov. 12, 2016
• Next: TBD

Kowalkiewicz may have lost her title bid against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 205, but what she didn’t gain in titles, she gained in fans. This former Krav Maga instructor uses her versatility, strong mental game to defeat her opponents, and until the Jedrzejczyk fight was undefeated. She is ranked 2nd in the Strawweight division but has yet to KO one of her opponents. She did, however, land one of the biggest shots ever landed on Jedrzejczyk with a right hand during the fourth round. If she can make more of these connections with her opponents, she will be knocking out her competition in no time.

7 – Valentina Shevchenko

• Record: 13-2
• Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
• Last: W (UD) Holly Holm, July 23, 2016
• Next: UFC Fight Night on Jan. 28, vs. Juliana Pena

Shevchenko’s only loss has come at the hot hands of Amanda Nunes in UFC 196. She has since taunted Nunes saying that she is too scared for a rematch after her defeat of former champion Holly Holm.

“She’s definitely scared,” Shevchenko said in Chicago. “I’m ready for five rounds, for sure. I will take whoever I need to fight next. But I think she’s definitely scared.”

Shevchenko’s next fight is against Juliana Pena on January 28, 2017. If she defeats Pena, Nunes will definitely have to consider a rematch or she may start looking scared.

6 – Julianna Pena

• Record: 8-2
• Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
• Last: W (UD3) Cat Zingano, July 9, 2016
• Next: UFC Fight Night on Jan. 28, vs. Valentina Shevchenko

Pena’s record may be 8-2, but Pena is coming into her own and looking better with each fight. She has tremendous focus and recently appeared on the Luke Thomas show on SiriusXM Rush, and spoke of her obsession with upcoming opponent Valentina Shevchenko:

“I watch her fighting every day. I’m obsessed with this girl. Her social security number is 531180522, I think that’s what it is. I don’t even know actually (if) she has a social security number because she was born in the Soviet Union. I’m obsessed with this chick. I’m literally obsessed with her. I think about her morning, noon and night. I watch her videos, her favorite food is pizza. She likes to salsa on her off time.”

After her defeat of  Cat Zingano, and her determination and focus, Shevchenko may be in trouble.

5 – Carla Esparza

• Record: 11-3
• Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
• Last: W (UD3) Juliana Lima, April 23, 2016
• Next: TBD

After her loss to Joana Jedrzejczyk in March 2015, Esparza took a year off. Upon returning to UFC 197, she was back to winning, defeating Juliana Lima.

Even though Esparza Esparza is a great fighter winning 7 of her last 8 fights, maybe the most important thing she has done is to bring light to the fact that UFC fighters are at the mercy of the UFC. She was recently attacked on social media for attempting to sell the motorcycle she had won for winning ‘The UltimateFighter’ competition to make ends meet while she wasn’t fighting.  People on social media took this as a way to gain sympathy from her fans. They were not sympathetic, and the whole situation left Esparza feeling embarrassed. The truth is however if fighters aren’t landing fights, they aren’t making money. And if Esparza is going to keep defeating people she will need fights to defeat them.

Until she can get another fight she will have to remain in the middle of the pack, but her previous bouts prove that even though other fighters know her style, they will have a very hard time defeating her.

4 – Claudia Gadelha

• Record: 14-2
• Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
• Last: W (UD) Courtney Casey, Nov. 19, 2016
• Next: TBD

Gadelha has lost twice to Joanna Jedrzejczyk, even though her last showing against the Strawweight Champion was pretty good, she still lost in the last two rounds. Sitting now at number 2 in her weight class behind Jedrzejczyk, the best she can hope for is someone else will defeat Jedrzejczyk and shake up their weight class, or else she will be stuck at number 2.  Or she can try to keep up with Jedrzejczyk, and hope that the Champion decides to retire, then by default she would move into the Number 1 slot.

3 – Cris Justino

• Record: 17-1
• Div.: Featherweight (Invicta FC/UFC)
• Last: W (TKO2) Lina Lansberg, Sept. 24, 2016
• Next: TBD

Cris “Cyborg” Justino may have been higher on our list if she was not involved a doping scandal. The truth is, she can fight, but at the 145 weight class, she has a tough time trying to find opponents. This could be why she was trying to cut her weight. The UFC created a Featherweight class and offered her the inaugural fight, but after three attempts of getting her to sign on, and three “no” responses, the fight eventually went to Holm and Germaine de Randamie. That is when Justino failed her out-of-competition test and is now fighting the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. As of now her career is on hold.

2 – Joanna Jedrzejczyk

• Record: 13-0
• Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
• Last: W (UD) Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Nov. 12, 2016
• Next: TBD

Jedrzejczyk sits atop the women’s Strawweight division of UFC fighters. Jedrzejczyk has been so dominant in the Strawweight category that the UFC has been toying with the idea of creating a Flyweight division to make the fights more competitive.  Jedrzejczyk’s last three fights ended by decision, but as long she wins those decisions, she is still champion and people like Claudia Gadelha will have to keep waiting in the wings for some movement in the standings.

1 – Amanda Nunes

• Record: 14-4
• Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
• Last: W (TKO1) Ronda Rousey, Dec. 30, 2016
• Next: TBD

Amanda Nunes has catapulted herself into the Number 1 position on our list with her devastating defeats of both Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey. A feat she accomplished in a matter of six months. All it took for her to defeat both of them was a combined 2 rounds. Her power and aggressiveness make “The Lioness” the queen of the octagon. All of her fights have ended by KO or submission and three of them in the first 30 seconds. Her latest fight against Ronda Rousey, which lasted 48 seconds made her the women’s Bantamweight Champion.

Nunes is a fierce competitor, and if she keeps knocking her opponents out the way she has been doing, she may need to start scheduling more than one opponent for the same night.