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. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Julia Budd (3)
  3. Marloes Coenen (2)
  4. Megan Anderson (5)
  5. Charmaine Tweet (4)
  6. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  7. Latoya Walker (8)
  8. Roberta Paim (9)
  9. Daria Ibragimova (10)
  10. Jessy Miele (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Annalisa Bucci (6)

A couple of ranked featherweight fighters surged in victory, while one top-five fighter was felled. In the main event of Invicta FC 21, Megan Anderson completed her quest for the gold when she scored a brutal knockout win over Charmaine Tweet to become Invicta’s interim champion. It was a win that has fans buzzing over her probable movement over to the UFC. Australian banger Arlene Blencowe was able to secure a first-round finish over fellow countrywoman Janay Harding, but the bout was at bantamweight and has no impact to the featherweight ranks. Meanwhile, Annalisa Bucci departs the top 10 due to inactivity.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Amanda Nunes (1)
  2. Valentina Shevchenko (2)
  3. Holly Holm (3)
  4. Ronda Rousey (4)
  5. Raquel Pennington (6)
  6. Julianna Pena (5)
  7. Cat Zingano (7)
  8. Miesha Tate (8)
  9. Sara McMann (9)
  10. Liz Carmouche (10)

The UFC now has a new top contender to Amanda Nunes’ gold. The month of January featured two top contenders duking it out in the main event of UFC on Fox 23. Valentina Shevchenko showed why she’s one of the best, as the striker resorted to a submission to finish Julianna Pena. The win likely nets Shevchenko a title shot and a rematch with Nunes, whom she fought last year in the Octagon. In February, Holly Holm is set to move up to 145 pounds for the first-ever UFC women’s featherweight championship bout. She takes on Germaine de Randamie for the belt. Also, Sara McMann and Liz Carmouche will do battle in Canada as both ladies jockey for position in a crowded 135-pound ladder.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Jennifer Maia (1)
  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Roxanne Modafferi (3)
  4. Julia Berezikova (4)
  5. Sarah D’Alelio (5)
  6. Rin Nakai (6)
  7. DeAnna Bennett (7)
  8. Agnieszka Niedźwiedź (8)
  9. Kalindra Faria (9)
  10. Andrea Lee (t-10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Poliana Botelho (t-10)

The flyweight division was pretty quiet in January, though there was one top-10 fighter that improved her standing. Andrea Lee continued to polish her star, running through Jenny Liou with relative ease at Invicta FC 21. She makes a quick turnaround this month when she fights for Legacy FC gold against the dangerous Heather Bassett.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (1)
  2. Claudia Gadelha (2)
  3. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (3)
  4. Carla Esparza (4)
  5. Jessica Aguilar (5)
  6. Jessica Andrade (6)
  7. Rose Namajunas (7)
  8. Michelle Waterson (8)
  9. Alexa Grasso (9)
  10. Joanne Calderwood (10)

The strawweights were very quiet to start off 2017, but it won’t last long. February features three of the strawweight’s best getting right to work. Houston will play host to two ranked fights in this division. To open the UFC Fight Night 104 main card, Jessica Andrade looks to punch her ticket to a title shot when she takes on Invicta strawweight champ and returning UFC roster member Angela Hill. In the co-headliner of the same card, Alexa Grasso is out to continue her meteoric rise to the top when she takes on Felice Herrig. Then, in Canada, Carla Esparza, in an attempt to get back into the title picture, will fight on the home turf of her opponent, Randa Markos.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Ayaka Hamasaki (1)
  2. Jinh Yu Frey (2)
  3. Naho Sugiyama (3)
  4. Herica Tiburcio (4)
  5. Janaisa Morandin (5)
  6. Julia Jones (6)
  7. Tessa Simpson (7)
  8. Satoko Shinashi (8)
  9. Simona Soukupova (9)
  10. Kyra Batara (10)

January started off slow for the atomweights, but February is when things will pick up for the 105-pounders. In Japan, Naho Sugiyama will meet up with Mina Kurobe in an attempt to get back into the top two and perhaps earn the right to challenge Ayaka Hamasaki. Then, under the Combate Americas banner, Kyra Batara will headline against Vanessa Fernandez Rico. Batara has had an up-and-down career, but she has won some big fights when she’s needed them.

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.