With the growing popularity of women’s MMA, it is important to recognize these women with a rankings system similar to the men. Between the UFC’s inclusion of a bantamweight division, its recent addition of a strawweight division and the all-female promotion of Invicta FC, more and more women are being exposed to casual and hardcore fans alike. Every month, Combat Press compiles the staff’s individual rankings from lightweight to atomweight to create the Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings.

Featherweight Division (145 pounds)
  1. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Julia Budd (3)
  4. Latoya Walker (4)
  5. Annalisa Bucci (6)
  6. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  7. Faith van Duin (8)
  8. Roberta Paim (9)
  9. Peggy Morgan (10)
  10. Amanda Bell (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Talita Nogueira (5)

The featherweight division’s top star competed again in January. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino asserted her dominance via knockout in the Invicta FC 15 headliner. Cyborg took on tough opponent Daria Ibragimova, who, unlike Cyborg’s last few opponents, made it out of the first minute with the champ. However, she couldn’t make it out of the first round. Instead, Ibragimova was destroyed toward the tail end of round one, giving Cyborg another victim on her highlight reel. Cyborg, already ranked at the top of the division, makes no move in the rankings, but another fighter dropped out of top 10. Talita Nogueira relinquished her spot due to inactivity. No top-10 fighters will compete in February, a trend that will unfortunately be seen throughout our divisional top-10 rankings.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Holly Holm (1)
  2. Ronda Rousey (2)
  3. Miesha Tate (3)
  4. Cat Zingano (4)
  5. Alexis Davis (5)
  6. Amanda Nunes (6)
  7. Tonya Evinger (7)
  8. Sara McMann (8)
  9. Valentina Shevchenko (9)
  10. Sarah Kaufman (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

No top-10 fighters in the bantamweight division were in action in the month of January, though some had fights announced for the upcoming months. It’s also worth noting that none of these ladies will be competing in February. In short, it’s been all quiet on the western front for the bantamweights.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Barb Honchak (1)
  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Jennifer Maia (3)
  4. Roxanne Modafferi (4)
  5. Julia Berezikova (5)
  6. Kalindra Faria (7)
  7. Aline Serio (6)
  8. Emily Corso (8)
  9. Andrea Lee (9)
  10. Poliana Botelho (10)/Katlyn Chookagian (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

Nobody dropped out of the rankings in January, but one person entered the top 10. How is that possible? Well, Katlyn Chookagian earned a huge victory over Isabelly Varela in January and thereby earned some points in the Combat Press polls. It moved her into a tie with Poliana Botelho in the 10th spot, as the surging prospect continues to show her great potential. The month of February will produce no top-10 fights, as the disappointing trend continues.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (1)
  2. Claudia Gadelha (2)
  3. Jessica Aguilar (3)
  4. Carla Esparza (4)
  5. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5)
  6. Livia Renata Souza (8)
  7. Rose Namajunas (6)
  8. Joanne Calderwood (9)
  9. DeAnna Bennett (7)
  10. Tecia Torres (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

Invicta strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza’s stock is on the rise. Souza defended her Invicta belt in devastating fashion in the month of January. Souza, taking on the undefeated DeAnna Bennett, made quick work of the American, downing her with a body kick and strikes. The victory boosts Souza up to the sixth spot. It was an otherwise quiet month for the strawweights. There will be no top-10 fighters in action in February, but we did get news that top-ranked fighters Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha will coach The Ultimate Fighter 23 and then square off in the summer.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Ayaka Hamasaki (1)
  2. Herica Tiburcio (2)
  3. Amber Brown (4)
  4. Naho Sugiyama (3)
  5. Jodie Esquibel (5)
  6. Jinh Yu Frey (6)
  7. Cassie Rodish (7)
  8. Janaisa Morandin (8)
  9. Satoko Shinashi (9)
  10. Julia Jones (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

A huge move at the top of the atomweight rankings occurred in the month of January. Amber Brown pushed herself into the third spot when she added to her winning streak by besting Shino van Hoose at Invicta FC 15. Brown was the only top-10 woman in action. It will be a quiet month of February for this division as well.


Editor’s Note: Fighters are eligible to be ranked if they have competed in the last 18 months. Any fighter that chooses to switch weight classes will be ranked in their previous weight class until they have competed twice in their new division.