UFC is the most elite mixed martial arts organization in the world. While the company began in 1993, it wouldn’t be another 20 years until women were introduced to the octagon – a move that would only help grow the fan base and revolutionize the sport.
Now, a UFC card without a women’s bout is unimaginable, and frankly, less appealing. These female gladiators have cemented their place in the UFC, proving that women can fight with a ferocity and grit that will rival any male fighter out there.
There are new, talented, fierce women climbing the ranks and appearing in the UFC daily. Here is a list of the top all-time UFC women’s fighters.
5. Valentina Shevchenko
There’s a reason her nickname is “The Bullet” – she strikes fast with a lethal blow. The former pro Muay Thai fighter from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, has been ruling the UFC Women’s Flyweight division as the undisputed champion.
4. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Jedrzejczyk held the UFC women’s strawweight title from 2015 to 2017, a span of five successful title defenses, which is still the most in division history. The first Poland-born UFC champion is tied with current champion Carla Esparza for the most wins in division history with 10, has the most title fights in strawweight history (nine), and has the most title-fight victories ever in the division (six). She told American fans who could not pronounce her last name that they can just call her “Joanna Champion.”
3. Cris Cyborg
If you’re not afraid of Cris Cyborg, you should be. Cyborg approaches each fight on the attack, never the defense. She became Ultimate Fighting’s only Grand Slam Champion by winning every major Featherweight World Championship in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, becoming the only fighter to hold championship belts in the Bellator MMA, UFC, Invicta, & Strikeforce organizations. With only two losses in her UFC career dating back to 2005, this woman is a force to be reckoned with.
2. Amanda Nunes
Amanda Nunes is one of just two people to have ever taken down Cyborg in her illustrious career. ‘The Lioness’ is currently the Women’s Bantamweight champion AND the Women’s Featherweight Champion – she has held both of those titles for over 1,000 days each. She has held a title for over 3,000 days in her career which is a UFC record.
1. Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey is the sole reason the UFC began to sign female fighters. UFC President Dana White credits her solely with changing his mind about women in MMA. Rousey’s rise as a fighter has had a direct impact on the mainstream rise of women’s MMA and positive image of women competing inside the Octagon. Naturally, ‘Rowdy’ became the first UFC women’s champion. She went on to win six total Bantamweight title defenses.
Read more: How to bet on UFC.
AP Photo/Jae C. Hong