Over the past few years, Mixed Martial Arts, more commonly known as MMA Fighting, has taken the world by storm. The sport combines aspects of kickboxing, wrestling, Judo, and Jui Jitsu to create a new style of organized fighting. The biggest event is Ultimate Cage Fighting, or simply the UFC. The UFC started out as a MMA league for guys, but has transitioned to allow women to fight due to the growing popularity of the sport.
We hear it all the time. “That is a guys sport.” There is a common stereotype in athletics that suggests some sports are only for men. People buy into this way of thinking and believe women should not be able to compete in these games because they will not be as good or be able to create as much interest as the men’s version. This initially rang true for women’s MMA, but over time we have seen the level of competition and public interest become equal to that of the men’s competition.
Guys who believe women are not as tough as men definitely need to see these ladies fight. Better yet, they should enter the ring with them. A quick hit from one of these girls would easily change that opinion. These fighters have been trained by the best and have fought their way to the top. Each one of the members of this list are more than deserving of the same level of recognition male MMA fighters get. Until they do, they will keep on fighting and one day we will remember them as some of the most dangerous fighters to ever enter the octagon.
10. Ayaka Hamasaki
Ayaka Hamasaki made her MMA fighting debut on October 25th, 2009. She did not lose until over four years later. Hamasaki began her career in the lightweight class, but is now ranked fifth in the strawweight category. According to MMA Rising, the organization responsible for releasing the pound for pound MMA rankings, she is the fifteenth best overall fighter is Women’s MMA. Hamasaki has posted a 9-1 record as a member of the Abe Ani Combat Club. She weighs in at 5’2” and 114 pounds, holds a second degree black belt in Judo and is also professionally trained in kickboxing.
9. Claudia Gadelha
Fighting for MMA team, Nova Uniano, Claudia Gadelha is one of the best in the business. Cadelha has never lost in her eleven matches. She began her MMA career in 2008 and is currently the number three ranked strawweight fighter in the UFC. Unfortunately, Gadelha has had problems staying healthy. After her first seven straight victories, she was sidelined throughout the entire 2011 season with problems with the veins in her legs. She finally was able to fight again for the first time in over a year on April 20, 2012. In 2013, she became member of the Invicta Fight Club, but suffered a broken nose in her first fight. The injury would once again make her unable to perform for a while and the team was forced to replace her. Gadelha holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and has knocked out two of her opponents. When she is in the ring, she is virtually unstoppable. That being said, her history of injuries and health problem has really affected her career. She could be much higher on this list if she could manage to fight more often.
8. Sara McMann
Sara McMann has been able to translate her success as a world class wrestler into a very promising career in the UFC. Prior to becoming a member of the Revolution MMA fight club, she was an Olympic Athlete. McMann was the first American woman to win a medal in women’s at the Olympic Games. She is currently the number four ranked bantamweight female and is considered the twelfth best pound for pound fighter in women’s MMA. McMann has a 7-1 record. Her only loss came against Ronda Rousey, who knocked out McMann with a painful blow to the liver.
7. Marloes Coenen
Marloes Coenen is currently the number two ranked featherweight fighter in women’s UFC. Prior to bulking up a bit, she was Strikeforce’s Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Weighing in at 145 pounds, Coenen is professionally trained in Jiu Jistsu and fights for the Golden Glory fight club. She currently has a 21-6 record. She has won three and lost three matches by knockout. Her career as a pro MMA fighter began with eight consecutive wins.
6. Jessica Eye
They call Jessica Eye “Evil Eye” for good reason. Making her professional MMA debut in 2010, Eye has gone on to post a 10-2-1 record. She was undefeated as an amateur fighter at the flyweight weight class. In 2013, she put on some more muscle and is now the number five ranked women’s Bantamweight fighter. Her mix of boxing and wrestling moves meshes very well with the style of fighting promoted by her club, Strong Style Fight Team.
5. Alexis Davis
“Ally Gator” as she is known, is considered the third best pound for pound fighter in women’s MMA. Alexis Davis has two black belts, one in Jiu Jitzu and another in Brazilian Jui Jitsu. She made her debut in 2007 by knocking out the former Strikeforce Bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman in the third round. The 5’6” fighter for the club, Cesar Gracie, was the first Canadian woman to become a professional MMA athlete. Since 2007, Davis has posted a 16-5 record. She has knock out two opponents.
4. Jessica Aguilar
Jessica Aguilar is the current UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion. Her nickname is “Jag”. Aside from being the best strawweight fight in MMA, she is also ranked as the fourth best pound for pound female fighter. She began her professional fighting career in 2006 and posted a 17-4 record since then. Two of her victories have come by way of knockouts. Aguilar used her highly developed knowledge of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to defeat Alida Gray and become the first ever women’s strawweight champion in the World Series of Fighting.
3. Sarah Kaufman
Sarah Kaufman was the first ever Strikeforce Women’s Bantamwieght Champion. Currently, she is the sixth highest ranked fighter in that weight class. She has won sixteen of her nineteen fights. Her two losses have come against fellow superstars Ronda Rousey and Marloes Coenen. Her dangerous mix of kickboxing and Brazilian Jui Jitsu skills has allowed her to win ten fights by way of knockout.
2. Cat Zingano
Cat Zingano is one of the best female MMA fighters of all time. She is undefeated and has knocked out four opponents during her career in the UFC. The fighter for Black House MMA weighs in at 135 pounds and stand 5’6” tall. She prefers to use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu moves in her fights. On April 13th, 2013, Zingano became the first female MMA fighter to win by technical knockout. She is currently ranked the fifth best pound for pound MMA fighter and on January 17th, 2014, she officially became ranked the number one bantamweight female fighter in the UFC. At age 31, it is uncertain how much longer she will continue her career. Her body has taken a lot of abuse in the sport and she is now being forced to face younger, fresher opponents.
1. Ronda Rousey
Ronda “Roudy” Rousey is women’s MMA’s finest fighter. She was the first ever female UFC Bantamweight Champion; a title she still holds. Before becoming a professional MMA fighter, Rousey was competing in the Olympics. In 2008, she became the first American to medal is women’s Judo at the Games. In her first MMA fight, she knocked out Hayden Munoz in the first 23 seconds of the fight. Since that match, she has won an additional eight straight. The undefeated, fourth degree black belt is credited with introducing trash talking into the sport. Rousey is constantly belittling her opponents in the ring and on TV. She claims it is a way to make the sport more appealing to viewers. Obviously, it has not only done this, but it has also allowed her to get into her opponents’ heads and break their focus.