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 featherweight 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 (5)
  6. Arlene Blencowe (6)
  7. Faith van Duin (7)
  8. Roberta Paim (8)
  9. Peggy Morgan (9)
  10. Amanda Bell (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

After an inactive month for the featherweights where none of the top-10 fought, we look forward to the month of March. While there still aren’t any of the current top-10 fighters competing, a formerly ranked fighter who is the top lightweight in the world looks to return to the division. Charmaine Tweet is set to take on Jessy Miele, who is a fringe top-10 featherweight. It’s a fight that has been brewing for a while, with Miele campaigning for it on Twitter. Keep an eye on this fight, as it could enter a new lady into the 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

The bantamweights were also quiet in the month of February, but there are two extremely important bouts that will take place in March at UFC 196. The most important contest is the UFC women’s bantamweight championship tilt that pairs champion Holly Holm, in her first title defense, against Miesha Tate. It serves as the co-main event of a huge card headlined by Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. The lineup also features another top-10 dust-up that pits Amanda Nunes against Valentina Shevchenko. Shevchenko took the rankings by storm when she bested Sarah Kaufman in a short-notice UFC debut. March looks like a pivotal, exciting month for the 135-pound division.

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 (6)
  7. Aline Serio (7)
  8. Emily Corso (8)
  9. Andrea Lee (9)
  10. Poliana Botelho (10)/Katlyn Chookagian (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The trend for February extends to the flyweight division, where there were no top-10 fighters in action. However, March will see five of the ranked combatants compete in bouts that will surely shape up the rankings in different ways. An interim Invicta flyweight champion will be crowned when Brazilians Vanessa Porto and Jennifer Maia collide at Invicta FC 16. Also on the card, 10th-ranked strawweight DeAnna Bennett moves back up to 125 pounds to take on veteran contender Roxanne Modafferi. Furthermore, Andrea Lee returns to Invicta to continue her rapid ascent up the ladder. Lee meets former bantamweight Sarah D’Alelio. These fights demonstrate the importance of the March 11 Invicta card. Cage Fury FC champion Katlyn Chookagian will defend her title against Stephanie Bragayrac in a featured bout. Chookagian is one of the best prospects in the division and has a great future ahead of her.

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 (6)
  7. Rose Namajunas (7)
  8. Joanne Calderwood (8)
  9. DeAnna Bennett (9)
  10. Tecia Torres (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

Inactivity extended to the strawweight division as well, and March spells more of the same. Beyond DeAnna Bennett’s departure for the flyweight division, the other ranked ladies are not booked to fight. However, Alexa Grasso and Mizuki Inoue, who creep around the fringes of the rankings, will be in action and looking to reassert their names amongst the top of the 115-pounders.

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

After a slow month in February, March will be packed with atomweight action. Invicta atomweight champion Ayaka Hamasaki will seek to defend her title for the first time when she meets up with surging 105er Amber Brown. Brown has been marching up the rankings in impressive fashion. Top fighters Herica Tiburcio and Jinh Yu Frey are also set to collide at the upcoming Invicta show. This fight could provide a top contender to the Hamasaki-Brown winner. Janaisa Morandin returns to the cage in an attempt to push up her stock when she fights Aline Martins. A win for Morandin would make her a candidate to become a fringe top-five fighter.

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. His work has also appeared on The MMA Corner. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.

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