The history of women's professional fighting first debuted in the U.S. in 1876. This historical bout took place between Nell Saunders and Rose Harland, the grand ole prize for this boxing match was a silver butter dish. It wasn't until 1975 that Nevada issued a female boxing license to Caroline Svendsen. However women's boxing would have to wait until 1996 when Christy Martin fought Deirdre Gogarty, this was considered the first modern professional women's boxing match in the U.S.
UFC pro female fighting has recently joined the ranks for popular entertainment. In 2012, women's Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey's fight against Liz Carmouche garnered 450,000 pay per view buys at UFC 157. This number surpassed fight views for Anderson Silva, George St. Pierre and other male champions.
10 Germaine De Randamie - MMA, Netherlands
Germaine De Randamie is a Dutch female fighter that started off in smaller promotions but is now signed to the UFC. “The Iron Lady” stands at 5’9” and fights in the Bantamweight class at 135 Lbs. She currently trains out of San Jose, CA at the American Kickboxing Academy. Her MMA record stands at 4-3-0. Germaine won a split decision against Julie Kedzie in her first UFC debut and her next professional bout will be against Larissa Pacheco on March 14th, 2015.
Her training regimen includes running and swimming in the morning and sparring and pads in the evening. Being an experienced stand up fighter in Muay Thai, she has dedicated herself to mastering Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling.
9 Ga Yeon Song - MMA, South Korea
Known as the “The Deadly Beauty,” Ga Yeon Song originates from South Korea. She was first introduced to Hapkido by her father when she was a child and hasn't looked back since. This diminutive fighter stands at a height of 5’2” and weighs in at 106 Lbs, she fights in Atomweight. She's only been in two professional fights and sits with a record of 1-1.
Ga Yeon Song's fighting background includes Kickboxing, Taekwondo, Judo and Kendo. In her Road FC fight championship fight against Emi Yamamoto, she demonstrated great takedown and grappling techniques. At only 20 years old, Song is off to a great start as one of Korea’s up and coming fighters.
8 Michelle Waterson - MMA, United States
Waterson is an accomplished black belt in karate and an expert in Muay Thai kickboxing. Her nickname, the “Karate Hottie,” originates from her pre-fight days as a 19 year old Hooters waitress. Michelle is 5’3” and 105 Lbs. of fury. Her fight record is 12-4.
Michelle stated that training in Thailand toughened her up for real fighting, unlike her previous martial arts training in the U.S. To prepare for fights, she does repeated drills and shadow boxing as a way of developing fluidity and muscle memory.
7 Megumi Fujii - MMA, Japan
Born in 1974, this 40 year old fighter from Japan was once considered one of the greatest pound for pound fighters by MMARising. Standing 5’3” and weighing a solid 115 Lbs, her fight record is 26-3. On top of that, she was also a national champion in Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She has since retired after losing to Jessica Aguilar at Vale Tudo in Japan for a second time due to an eye injury.
6 Rin Nakai - MMA, Japan
Ms. Nakai stands only 5’1” and fights in the Bantamweight class at 135 Lbs. With a black belt in Judo, 28 year old Rin Nakai is a true powerhouse of a woman. Don’t be fooled by her off-air antics, Rin Nakai is a fighter to be reckoned with. She is already a Japanese superstar but her photos may overshadow her skill as a fighter for Western audiences. Her impressive fight record is 16 - 1 -1 was only blemished by her one loss to Meisha Tate.
5 Gina Carano - MMA, United States
Gina Carano was first exposed to martial arts when accompanied her ex-boyfriend to a Muay Thai studio. After dominating in Muay Thai with a record of 12-1-1, she decided to move ot MMA. To prepare for her MMA fights, she practiced Muay Thai, Jiu-Jitsu and she worked on her ground techniques with Randy Couture.
Her professional fight record stands at 7 -1 and Gina Carano was one of the world's best strikers when she fought professionally. These days, Gina Carano has been drawn to Hollywood where she's appeared in a number of movies, typically in the role of a badass.
4 Cristiane Justino - MMA, Brazil
This 5’8”, 145 pound professional fights in the Featherweight class. Trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai and submission grappling, she’s an absolute force to be reckoned with and is one of the most skilled professional fighters in the world of MMA.
To prepare for fights, Cristiane works out with strength coach Rafael Alejarra. Her workouts includes high intensity circuit training while wearing a weighted vest. Cristiane takes only one minute resting intervals between drills, before relaxing in a tub filled with ice cold water. This is just a sample of Cristiane's workout routine.
3 Avivit Cohen - Israeli Krav Maga Instructor
Avivit Cohen is known as the top civilian Krav Maga teacher in the world. Krav Maga is the Israeli combat fighting style taught to its military officers, as it emphasizes realistic situations. Most martial arts focus on classical forms and stances not applicable to real world situations, but Krav Maga teaches you to take down your enemy using whatever you can. Her intensity and skill level are off the charts and hands down she is one of the deadliest human beings in the world.
2 Laila Ali - Boxing, United States
The 5’10” and 166 pound boxing prodigy made her debut at 21 years old, when she fought April Fowler at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino. In that fight, Laila knocked her opponent out in the first round. Her next bout was a little more entertaining, as she TKO’d Shadina Pennybaker with three seconds left on the clock. Her last professional fight took place in Johannesburg, South Africa at the Emperor’s Palace against Gwendolyn O’Neil. Laila won the fight to finish with a record of 24-0 with 21 TKO’s. Laila finished her career as the IBA, WIBA and IWBF Super Middleweight champion.
1 Ronda Rousey - UFC
Ronda Rousey, formerly of Strikeforce, made her debut in the Octagon on February 23rd of 2013, when she fought against Liz Carmouche. Ever since 2013, the sport of MMA has never been the same again.
This Judo expert trains under Gokor Chivichyan and Edmond Tarverdyan, who are two of the best in the business. Besides training in Judo, she does Pilates, grappling, wrestling and strength conditioning. She's undoubtedly the best pound for pound female fighter in the MMA and is currently the UFC's Women Bantamweight Champion.
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