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. Charmaine Tweet (8)
  5. Annalisa Bucci (5)
  6. Arlene Blencowe (6)
  7. Faith van Duin (7)
  8. Latoya Walker (4)
  9. Roberta Paim (9)
  10. Megan Anderson (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Peggy Morgan (10), Amanda Bell (10)

There was a lot of action in the month of May that caused a stir in the featherweight division. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino made her UFC debut at 140 pounds and continued her path of destruction, downing UFC vet Leslie Smith with strikes in the first round. Where Cyborg goes next is a big question mark, but it could be an Invicta title defense or another 140-pound catchweight contest for the UFC. Second-ranked Marloes Coenen took a loss in Bellator in a massive upset to Alexis Dufresne, but she does not move down the rankings. Why? Because Dufresne missed weight yet again, so it was not technically a featherweight bout. Charmaine Tweet and Latoya Walker swapped spots after engaging at Invicta FC 17, where Tweet leveled and finished Walker with a huge spinning back fist. Megan Anderson makes her debut in the top 10 after besting Amanda Bell with a highlight-reel knockout. The finish took Bell out of the rankings, and it caused Peggy Morgan, the woman she was tied in the rankings, to fall as well. In June, Faith van Duin takes a fight at bantamweight against Charlene Watt.

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

The bantamweight division had two women take victories in the month of May, but the rankings remained pretty much the same as last month. Invicta champion Tonya Evinger continued her title reign with a successful defense over Colleen Schneider in the very entertaining Invicta FC 17 main event. Evinger continues the tear she’s been on since failing to enter The Ultimate Fighter 18 house. Sara McMann solidified her top-10 status by defeating former top-10 fighter Jessica Eye. Looking ahead, there are no top-10 ladies in action in June, so we will have to wait for the busy month of July.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Jennifer Maia (2)
  2. Vanessa Porto (3)
  3. Roxanne Modafferi (4)
  4. Julia Berezikova (5)
  5. Kalindra Faria (6)
  6. DeAnna Bennett (10)
  7. Katlyn Chookagian (7)
  8. Sarah D’Alelio (8)
  9. Poliana Botelho (NR)
  10. Emily Corso (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Barb Honchak (1), Aline Serio (9)

Top-10 women in the flyweight division were nowhere to be found in the month May, as the division was in a bit of a hibernation period. There are some major changes in the rankings, however. Top-ranked Barb Honchak has been removed from the rankings due to an 18-month stretch of inactivity. Jennifer Maia slides into the top spot for the time being. Aline Serio also drops from the 125-pound rankings. Serio is competing at strawweight now, but she lost her Invicta debut against Kaline Medeiros. These departures have opened up opportunity for Poliana Botelho and Emily Corso, who round out the top 10. June looks like another inactive month for the division.

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. Rose Namajunas (6)
  7. Joanne Calderwood (8)
  8. Michelle Waterson (9)
  9. Jessica Penne (10)
  10. Tecia Torres (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Livia Renata Souza (7)

The strawweight rankings look a little bit different this month, as there were some shakeups due to a couple of important fights. Karolina Kowalkiewicz solidified her spot in the top five with another strong performance and victory over Heather Jo Clark. Meanwhile Livia Renata Souza, who lost her Invicta title defense to Angela Hill, tumbles out of the top 10. Next month, Joanne Calderwood will take a fight at 125 pounds in the UFC when she clashes with former strawweight title challenger Valerie Letourneau. Also, Jessica Penne welcomes former UFC bantamweight Jessica Andrade to the strawweight division in a pivotal bout. These contests should cause a rumbling in the rankings.

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

May was a pretty quiet month for the atomweights. However, Janaisa Morandin proved why she is a top-10 fighter in the division. Morandin, competing in Brazil, bested Lavinia Ione. The victory pushes her up a spot in the rankings. Because of her inactivity, Cassie Rodish has been ousted from the atomweight top 10, which in turned allowed Simona Soukupova to climb up into the 10th spot. Two important bouts take place in June that could potentially impact the rankings. Naho Sugiyama looks to possibly make it into the top two when she takes on Emi Tomimatsu in a title bout in Deep Jewels. Meanwhile, Satoko Shinashi seeks to continue her dominant ways since returning to MMA when she meets Proof Date.


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.

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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