In the buildup to UFC 232 and Amanda Nunes vs. Cris Cyborg featherweight championship match, it got me thinking – who are the greatest female fighters of all time? So I did some research and compiled my list. I based it on octagon dominance, importance to the sport, marketability, and length of run. So here goes nothing.
10. Rose Namajunas
The current UFC strawweight champion is one of the best pound for pound fighters in MMA today. With two wins over Joanna Jedrzejczyk and a striking and grappling game that is ever evolving, I expect Rose to be on top of the strawweight division for a long time
9. Amanda Nunes
The current bantamweight champion could skyrocket up this list with a big upset of Cyborg at UFC 232. Nunes is 16-4 and has had a great run as the bantamweight champion with wins over Ronda Rousey and Raquel Pennington. Nunes is a brilliant puncher and with an upset win will stake a claim in the top 5.
8. Holly Holm
With an MMA record of 12-4 and an incredible knockout of Ronda Rousey, Holm is a worthy top ten fighter. Holm was one of the most celebrated female boxers and kickboxers and had an incredible legacy without ever stepping foot in the octagon in the UFC.
7. Gina Carano
With only one loss in her career to Cris Cyborg, Carano is one of the best female fighters ever. She hasn’t fought since 2009, people tend to forget her wins over Tonya Evinger and Kaitlin Young as well as her 12-1 Muay Thai record.
6. Miesha Tate
Tate has had one of the most celebrated careers in the history of women’s MMA. The former bantamweight champion is a certifiable megastar and one of the trailblazers of women’s MMA. She defeated Holly Holm for the UFC bantamweight championship at UFC 196 and is now currently retired and the VP of ONE championship based in Asia.
5. Valentina Shevchenko
“Bullet” has been dominant in the UFC, the current flyweight champion gives you the feeling she can dominate the division for years to come. I’m giving her top five status based on my eye test and what I believe she will become. Valentina will be champion for as long as she wants.
4. Megumi Fujii
Fujii is simply one of the most dominant female Mixed martial artists of all time, she had an unbelievable seven-year winning streak and was at one point 22-0 and was well known for her toe holds and submission game with 18 stoppages in her career. Never fighting in UFC doesn’t help, but Megumi’s resume is far too impressive to overlook.
3. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna is the single best striker in MMA today. Her Muay Thai and her kickboxing are literally second to none, with only three losses to absolute top competition, Joanna’s resume is impressive. Every time she steps into the octagon it is an expression of martial arts that is second to none and her trash talking game and mainstream marketability are key.
2. Ronda Rousey
The way Ronda exited MMA has left a sour taste in a lot of people’s mouths, but her MMA body of work is undeniable. She was the trailblazer and the very first mainstream female MMA fighter and one of the biggest stars in the promotion’s history. She’s a UFC Hall of Famer and with good reason, the reason this list even exists is because of her and that’s worthy of our #2 spot.
1. Cris Cyborg
Cyborg is the most dominant female fighter of all time. Her pace and her pressure have never been matched in MMA history, she has beaten all challengers in dominant fashion and is an extremely engaging and intelligent interview. At this point, Cyborg is in full cementing the legacy mode as she faces Amanda Nunes on New Years weekend. Who can really argue with that?