These women could take anyone down with their intense MMA moves. These are the top women MMA, or mixed martial arts, fighters in the business!
Rowdy Ronda Rousey
Ronda Rousey is always the first name people think of when they think of women’s Mixed Martial Arts. Rousey is considered by many to be the greatest female MMA fighter of all time. Before MMA, Rousey was a Olympian who competed in the 2008 games in Judo. Rousey is the only United State’s woman to ever place in Judo, receiving a medal at the games.
Today, Rousey holds the first ever UFC Bantamweight Champion title and won eight straight fights during her first year. Rousey is credited with bringing some sass to MMA, by introducing trash talk, which is usually associated with male MMA and boxing. She is also the reason why many people are new to the MMA fandom.
Ayaka Hamasaki: One Of The Best In MMA
Ayaka Hamasaki only lost a fight four years into her career, which is one of the longest winning streaks in male and female MMA history. Hamasaki is considered by judges and MMA Rising to be the fifteenth best overall fighter in all of female MMA.
Like Rousey, Hamasaki is the proud owner of a black belt in Judo and is also trained professionally in the sport of boxing. Because of all of her varying talents, Hamasaki is very versatile when it comes to fighting in the MMA league. Even though this fighter is relatively small, sitting at 5’2” and 114 pounds, Hamasaki packs a lethal punch.
Paige VanZant Is A Fighter And A Dancer
This fighter is currently ranked number 8 in the world when it comes to the Strawweight division in UFC. Paige VanZant is an American female MMA fighter who began fighting for Invicta FC, but moved to the UFC in 2013. VanZant is known for her specific fighting style, which is incredibly aggressive. The fighter utilizes her knees and elbows, not only only her arms and her legs, which really throws her opponents off guard.
VanZant is also known for being a contestant and competitor on the hit reality show Dancing With the Stars on its 22nd season. With her partner Mark Ballas, the couple reached the finals of the show, but ended up coming short by placing in second place.
“THE” Sara McMann
Sara McMann is an American MMA fighter who transitioned easily from a professional career in wrestling. McMann is one of the greatest American Olympic wrestlers and was even the first women to receive a medal for wrestling. In today’s MMA standings, McMann is currently ranked number four in the bantamweight category.
The only person who has ever bested and beat out this fighter is Ronda Rousey, who knocked out McMann with a blow to the lower back. McMann’s record used to be seven to one, with a loss to Ronda Rousey, which is one of the highest in the league.
Marloes Coenen’s Brutal Legacy
Marloes Coenen is a (now-retired) Dutch Mixed Martial Arts fighter, who has been fighting since 2000. Coenen was ranked as number two in the 145 pound category according to the Unified Women’s MMA rankings. Coenen’s fighting career began when she learned how to defend herself late at night. Coenen stated that she first began learning to fight because she had to bicycle alone through a very dangerous part of town and didn’t want to be taken advantage of.
Coenen has won many championships including the Dutch Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Championship, the 2000 ReMix World Cup Championship, Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship, and finally the 2007 ADCC Bronze- Women’s Under 67 Kg.
Holly “The Preacher’s Daughter” Holm
Holly Holm is best known for taking down the great Ronda Rousey in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. Before becoming a Mixed Martial Arts’ fighter, Holms was a professional boxer and kickboxer, which adds to her fighting ability. Holms is also the first person to ever win championships in both boxing and mixed arts. But, her true claim to fame is a win against Ronda Rousey, which gave her the coveted bantamweight title.
Holm’s career is not the only controversial topic people talk about. Holm is a very outspoken Christian follower who adheres to the Church of Christ, where her father is a pastor. The Church of Christ is known for its very intense views about Catholicism and Christianity.
Jessica Aguilar, AKA “Jag”
Jessica Aguilar is one of the best Strawweight fighters in the UFC. During the first year of her career, Aguilar was one of the best, with a 17 to 4 record in 2006. She is also known for being able to knockout her opponents, which is one of the hardest things to do in a UFC fight. Aguilar is very knowledgeable of Jiu Jitsu as well and uses her skills while fighting in Mixed Martial Arts. Today, Aguilar is currently listed as the fourth overall fighter in UFC from MMARising.
Surprisingly, Aguilar owns a tanning salon franchise in Florida and manages it while she is not fighting. This fighter is also a very proud member of the LGBTQ community and regularly gives talks to women to help inspire the LGBTQ female community.
Alexis Davis, the Ally Gator
Alexis Davis is considered today as the third best pound for pound fighter in women’s Mixed Martial Arts. Davis has two black belts, for Jiu Jitsu and for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which helps her while she is fighting. Alexis Davis is also one of the biggest Canadian fighters due to her win and her title of Canadian Open Grappling Champion.
Davis recently made her official return to the sport of MMA on December 3, 2016 by taking on other MMA fighter, Sara McMann. Her biggest claim to fame is hosting two Fights of the Year in both 2009 and 2012, fighting against Tara LaRosa and Sarah Kaufman.
From Ballet To MMA: Sarah Kaufman
Sarah Kaufman is a proud Canadian MMA fighter who is considered fourth in the world in the 135 pound weight class category. Kaufman is a trained dancer, specifically in the styles of hip hop and ballet, which helps with her athleticism and fighting technique. Kaufman signed with UFC in 2013, but lost many different titles, specifically a large fight against fellow fighter Valentina Shevchenko.
Kaufman is currently signed as a free agent to the UFC, because of her age and her fighting record over the recent years. Her former titles include 2009 Fighter of the Year, 2009 Bantamweight Fighter of the Year, and a fighter in the 2012 Fight of the Year versus Alexis Davis. Today, she is still considered one of the best Canadian fighters of all time.
Model-Turned Fighter Michelle Waterson
Michelle Waterson is a Thai UFC fighter, who started out as model on the United States west coast. Waterson first gained fame after being on two different reality television shows including, MTV’s Bully Beatdown and Oxygen’s Fight Girls. In 2007, she left the spotlight of reality television and entered MMA by joining a Freestyle Cage Fighting league.
Waterson officially signed with Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2015, and is competing in the women’s Strawweight division. Her upcoming fight against VanZant is going to take place on December 17, 2016, and will be a UFC main event. Waterson also is a proud mother of a baby girl named Araya.
Meow! It’s Cat Zingano
Cat Zingano is an American fighter in the UFC league and was the first woman ever to win a fight in the UFC by technical knockout. Zingano is currently ranked as the fifth pound-for-pound UFC female fighter in the league. Like most other fighters, Zingano first started out her training as a wrestler, which helped her find strength and agility during her fights. She is also a well versed and practiced fighter of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, finally switching to MMA in 2007.
Even though Zingano lost her last two fights to Ronda Rousey and Julianna Pera, many critics still believe she is one of the best fighters out there. Sadly, Zingano has had a very rough personal life. In 2014, her husband committed suicide, even though the pair had a son together.
She Has A Black Belt In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Jessica Penne is an American MMA fighter who is best known for being the first ever female Invicta FC Atomweight Champion. She is currently thirteenth overall in the UFC Strawweight rankings. Penne is known for her very different style of fighting, which incorporates heavily her knowledge of kickboxing. Penne also utilizes grappling, which is attacking with hooks, body kicks, and punches from very unexpected sides.
Penne also has her black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which gives her fighting depth which other MMA fighters do not have. She has been honored with Fight of the Year three times, and won the First Women’s Fight at the Bellator Five. She also is the recipient of the 2012 Lady Violence Award from FightBooth.com.
It’s A Family Affair For Tonya Evinger
Tonya Evinger is an American fighter who is currently ranked ninth in the 135 pound category for Invicta fighting. When it comes to MMA, Evinger is simply just involved in the family business. Evinger’s brothers, Chris and Owen Evinger, are also both very prominent MMA fighters in the male division. Tonya Evinger’s career is not yet at the caliber of other fighters, mainly because of the program which she fights for.
Evinger is signed to Invicta fighting, even though she lost her bantamweight championship title in an upset loss to Russian newcomer Yana Kunitskaya. But in a shocking twist of events, the loss was overturned due to a wrong referee call, which proved that even sometimes these fights are rigged.
Tecia Torres Is “The Tiny Tornado”
Tecia Torres is an American fighter for the UFC division of Mixed Martial Arts. Torres was involved with mixed martial arts from a young age, learning Taekwondo at a young age and holding a sixteen to one muay thai record. Torres was a part of the reality television show The Ultimate Fighter, which was a tournament show which crowned the best Strawweight division fighter. Torres ranked number three in the tournament, proving that she was one of the best MMA female fighters out there. Torres is specifically known for her fighting style, which incorporates a heavy amount of kicking.
Due to her Taekwondo background, Torres is very strong with her legs and uses them to win almost every fight which she enters. She also won the 2013 Strawweight of the Year award, but hopes to continue her winning streak.
Tara LaRosa Beat The Odds
Tara LaRosa is an American MMA fighter who is best known for being the first and only BodogFight Women’s Bantamweight Champion for the 135 weight class. LaRosa was selected to become part of the UFC team for the show The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey Versus Team Tate. Apart from career success, LaRosa has had a very difficult personal life. In 2007, an explosive device hit LaRosa’s boyfriend’s truck, killing him on impact.
Tara LaRosa also had a brush with death while hiking in Western Pennsylvania. The drop in temperature and no cell phone reception almost killed the fighter during her hike, but she was able to text her mother for help. These brushes with death have given LaRosa the fire and drive to fight.
Call Her Cyborg: Cristiane Justino
Cristiane Justino is commonly referred to by her nickname, “Cyborg,” which shows that she is quite feared for her fighting style. Cristiane Justino is a Brazilian fighter who is currently the Invicta FC World Featherweight Champion and is signed with UFC. Justino’s first fight with UFC was against Leslie Smith, with ended with a Justino win and a TKO. Justino also faced newcomer Lina Lansberg, but the referee had to end the fight halfway through because Justino was dominating the fight so much, the ref feared for Lansberg’s life.
Cristiane Justino was also married to the MMA fighter Evangelista Santos, who also went by the nickname of “Cyborg.” The couple couldn’t find anything in common other than their nickname, and ended up splitting in 2011.
Miesha Tate Was Known As “The Takedown” For Good Reason
Miesha Tate is now retired from MMA, but her legendary career is one for the books. Tate is an American retired fighter who was signed to UFC as a UFC Bantamweight Women’s Champion. Her career also included Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is credited with creating modern day MMA with her fight against Ronda Rousey in 2012. Tate’s final victory came in early 2016 when she fought against Holly Holm, and won the UFC’s Women’s Bantamweight Championship.
Even though she is retired, Miesha Tate is still involved in the spotlight as a model and spokesperson for ESPN The Magazine and even Fitness Gurls. She is also a character for the extremely popular game EA Sports UFC.
Liz “Girl-Rilla” Carmouche
Liz Carmouche is an American Mixed Martial Arts fighter who is signed to UFC. She made history for UFC by being apart of the first female MMA match against Ronda Rousey for the title of Women’s Bantamweight Champion in 2013. Carmouche most recently fought against title holder Katlyn Chookagian on November 13, and won to keep her record at an outstanding eleven to five ratio.
Carmouche is also known as the first openly lesbian fighter in the UFC, which is incredibly motivational. While she is not fighting, Carmouche is giving speeches and motivational talks to help the LGBTQ community. She is said to retire in the next year
Jessica Andrade Gets Aggressive
Jessica Andrade is a Brazilian Mixed Martial Artist who currently competes in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. As of July, 2016 this fighter was ranked as being number sixth in the UFC official Strawweight champions’ league. Tate caught her big break when she replaced Miesha Tate in the fight on The Ultimate Fighter. Andrade’s first fight was against Liz Carmouche, making the event a historical one.
The fight between Carmouche and Andrade was the first fight with two openly lesbian fighters, proving that UFC is an organization of acceptance. Andrade’s most recent fight was against Joanne Calderwood, which resulted in a victory for Andrade. Andrade’s impressive record is now fifteen to five, which proves she is one of the best.
Jennifer Maia: No Holding Back
Jennifer Maia is a Brazilian female Mixed Martial Artist fighter who is currently signed to Invicta Fighting Championships. Maia is ranked as the second 125 pound female fighter in the entire world, according to the Unified Women’s MMA rankings. Maia first started out as a professional boxer, which allows her to have quick feet while fighting in the MMA arena. Maia’s experience as a boxer has also shaped her fighting technique, and has made her incredibly strong in the upper body, while still being able to be light.
Maia made her Invicta debut in 2013 and has kept up a strong record. In her most recent fight, Maia beat out Roxanne Modafferi to keep a fourteen win to four loss record. She’s one impressive fighter, who will most likely be signed to UFC any day now.