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. Charmaine Tweet (NR)
  9. Roberta Paim (8)
  10. Peggy Morgan (9)/Amanda Bell (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

A formerly ranked featherweight returns to the rankings after a stint at lightweight. Charmaine Tweet took a victory over Jessy Miele in Canada to earn her spot back in the featherweight rankings. The biggest news of the division, though, is that Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will now be on a UFC fight card in a 140-pound catchweight bout against Leslie Smith. Can she make 135 pounds? Doubtful. But being a feature fighter is more important. We will see how things work out in the UFC, but it’s highly possible that Justino could drop out of the featherweight rankings if this 140-pound deal or an eventual bantamweight move happens.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Miesha Tate (3)
  2. Holly Holm (1)
  3. Ronda Rousey (2)
  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. Julianna Pena (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Sarah Kaufman (10)

There was a major shakeup in the bantamweight division this month in the form of another title change in the UFC. Miesha Tate, a heavy underdog going into UFC 196, submitted champion Holly Holm to take the title off her in Holm’s first title defense. It now sets up an interesting scenario at the top of the division, where Ronda Rousey is also lurking. Also on the UFC 196 card, Amanda Nunes won yet another fight when she beat Valentina Shevchenko in a very entertaining affair. Nunes continues to make a statement and show she’s in the title picture as well.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Barb Honchak (1)
  2. Jennifer Maia (3)
  3. Vanessa Porto (2)
  4. Roxanne Modafferi (4)
  5. Julia Berezikova (5)
  6. Kalindra Faria (6)
  7. Katlyn Chookagian (T-10)
  8. Sarah D’Alelio (NR)
  9. Aline Serio (7)
  10. DeAnna Bennett (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Emily Corso (8), Andrea Lee (9), Poliana Botelho (T-10)

The flyweight rankings are very different from last month. A number of top fighters were in action and some non-ranked fighters pushed their way in. Jennifer Maia improves her ranking the most after winning the Invicta interim title over Vanessa Porto. Maia’s victory should set up a shot at Invicta titleholder Barb Honchak in the not-so-distant future. Also at Invicta FC 16, Roxanne Modafferi scored a win over a returning DeAnna Bennett to stake her claim for a title shot. Furthermore, Sarah D’Alelio gets a spot on the rankings after making a successful debut at flyweight over Andrea Lee. It was a come-from-behind win that has now put her in the hunt. Outside of Invicta, Katlyn Chookagian continues to dominate the East Coast MMA scene. She knocked out Stephanie Bragayrac to extend her impressive run up the 125-pound rankings.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (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. Tecia Torres (10)
  10. Michelle Waterson (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: DeAnna Bennett (9)

The strawweight division was quiet in the month of March. None of the top 10 fighters were in action, outside of DeAnna Bennett, who moved up to 125 pounds. However, there is a big match this month between seventh-ranked Rose Namajunas and ninth-ranked Tecia Torres. The two first fought at Invicta FC 6, where Torres edged Namajunas for the decision in an entertaining fight. It should be a great rematch that pushes one of them into potential title contention.

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

Like the flyweight division, Invicta’s most recent show brought big changes in the rankings at atomweight. Ayaka Hamasaki solidified her top ranking by beating top contender Amber Brown in the main event of Invicta FC 16. Meanwhile, a title contender may have risen. Jinh Yu Frey took out former champion Herica Tiburcio at the same event. She showed great skill and progression, so it’s possible she could be the next challenger to Hamasaki.


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.