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 addition of a strawweight division, its recent announcement of a flyweight 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. Julia Budd (2)
  3. Germaine de Randamie (3)
  4. Megan Anderson (4)
  5. Holly Holm (5)
  6. Marloes Coenen (6)
  7. Charmaine Tweet (7)
  8. Latoya Walker (8)
  9. Helena Kolesnyk (-)
  10. Amanda Bell (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Roberta Paim (9), Daria Ibragimova (10)

There wasn’t much activity in the featherweight division in May, but Roberta Paim’s inactivity has led to a small shakeup at the bottom of the top 10. The “Crusher” hasn’t fought since her 2015 decision loss to Julia Budd under the Bellator banner. With no recent fights to her credit, Paim drops out of the rankings. The Brazilian drags Daria Ibragimova down as well. The Ukrainian fighter is nearing her own 18-month hiatus following a failed Invicta title challenge against top featherweight Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino in early 2016. Ibragimova hasn’t won a fight since a March 2015 victory over Anastasia Plisenkova. With the departure of Paim and Ibragimova, the No. 9 spot is now occupied by Helena Kolesnyk. The 27-year-old has five victories and a no-contest through her six professional bouts. She scored a brutal 25-second TKO of Tatiana Portnova in April. Amanda Bell rounds out the top 10. “The Lady Killer” has a .500 mark, but she’s coming off a February victory over Gabrielle Holloway. Only one member of the featherweight top 10 has a scheduled bout for June, but it takes place outside of the weight class. Former UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm is headed back to the 135-pound division for a clash with Bethe Correia at UFC Fight Night 111 on June 16.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Sarah Kaufman (10)

The bantamweight division followed a quiet April with a silent May. Holly Holm’s return to the 135-pound division takes place in June, but she returns to the rankings this month now that her plans to resume her bantamweight career are clear. The move factored into the panel’s tabulated rankings to award Holm the No. 6 position in this month’s poll. Holm’s entrance into the top 10 knocks Sarah Kaufman out of the rankings. Outside of the Holm/Correia fight, June will be another calm month for the 135ers.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Jennifer Maia (1)
  2. Agnieszka Niedźwiedź (6)
  3. Roxanne Modafferi (3)
  4. Vanessa Porto (2)
  5. Rin Nakai (4)
  6. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (7)
  7. DeAnna Bennett (8)
  8. Sarah D’Alelio (5)
  9. Andrea Lee (10)
  10. Kalindra Faria (9)

The flyweight division continued to hop along in May. Roxanne Modafferi, who just recently registered a win over Priscila de Souza under the Fusion Fight League banner, impressed once again in a dominant showing against Sarah D’Alelio at Invicta FC 23. Modafferi’s victory allows her to hold steady in the No. 3 spot, while D’Alelio slides from fifth to eighth. The reason Modafferi didn’t move up with the win has a lot to do with the headliner of the Invicta card, where Agnieszka Niedźwiedź was able to edge Vanessa Porto on the scorecards. The victory catapults the undefeated Polish fighter into the No. 2 slot, leapfrogging Modafferi, Porto and Rin Nakai. Andrea Lee also appeared on the Invicta card. Lee eked out a split decision over Liz Tracy. With the win, Lee nudges past Kalindra Faria to claim the No. 9 spot. Flyweight fans will get to take a deep breath in June, a month in which none of the current top-10 fighters are scheduled to compete.

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

With her victory over Michelle Waterson at UFC on Fox 24 in April, Rose Namajunas moved to the front of the line of strawweight contenders. After May’s action, she now knows her target: UFC champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk. The Polish star dominated Jessica Andrade in the co-main event of UFC 211 to retain her title. The victory keeps Jędrzejczyk firmly planted at the top of the strawweight rankings, while Andrade slips behind Namajunas. Jessica Aguilar returned to action at UFC 211 against Cortney Casey. Aguilar’s standing in the rankings was only saved by Casey’s failed drug test in Texas. The unanimous decision in Casey’s favor was wiped off the record books, allowing Aguilar to slip just two spots to No. 8 in the rankings. Casey, meanwhile, is unable to crack the top 10. June is a key month for the strawweight ladies. At UFC 212 on June 3, Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz lock horns. Meanwhile, Carla Esparza, currently sitting at No. 9, clashes with Maryna Moroz.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Ayaka Hamasaki (1)
  2. Jinh Yu Frey (2)
  3. Herica Tiburcio (3)
  4. Janaisa Morandin (4)
  5. Julia Jones (5)
  6. Mina Kurobe (8)
  7. Tessa Simpson (7)
  8. Naho Sugiyama (9)
  9. Ashley Cummins (-)
  10. Simona Soukupova (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Angela Lee (6)

The atomweights were busy in May. Former Invicta champ Herica Tiburcio squeaked by Tessa Simpson via split decision in a closely contested fight at Invicta FC 23. The Brazilian hangs on to her No. 3 spot with the win, but Simpson remains entrenched at No. 7. However, Mina Kurobe was able to slip past Simpson and take the No. 6 spot. The Japanese fighter did not compete in MMA in May, but she did fight to a draw in a grappling bout with fellow MMA fighter Emi Tomimatsu. Kurobe does have a huge fight on the horizon, though. She travels to South Korea’s Road FC promotion on June 10 to vie for the vacant atomweight crown opposite Seo Hee Ham. The No. 6 slot was open thanks to the removal of ONE Championship atomweight titleholder Angela Lee. The ONE organization’s rules meant that Lee’s recent fights, including her May bout against Istela Nunes, were truly contested at the 115-pound weigh-in limit utilized by the Pacific promotion for its atomweight bouts. The undefeated Lee submitted Nunes, but the win only earns her consideration in the much more crowded strawweight field. Lee’s ousting clears the path for Ashley Cummins to jump into the No. 9 hole. Cummins is only a couple of months removed from her impressive decision win over Amber Brown at Invicta FC 22.


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

Bryan Henderson
Editor-in-Chief

Bryan Henderson became a fan of MMA in the late '90s when he happened upon the early UFC events on VHS at a local video rental store. He started writing about the sport on his Sporting News member blog in 2007 before becoming an official staff writer for Sporting News' "The Rumble" MMA/boxing blog. He went on to become a staff writer and the Features Manager for MMA DieHards before moving on to The MMA Corner, where he assumed the role of Editor-in-Chief. Bryan left The MMA Corner in 2014 and founded Combat Press along with two of his colleagues. In addition to covering mixed martial arts, Bryan also operated the Modified Mind body modification e-zine website for more than a decade.

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  • Juchi

    Speaking of Kurobe’s fight with Seo Hee Ham, I’m surprised Ms. Ham is not in your top 10. While she did lose several fights at 115, the only fights she has lost in the past 6 years at atomweight is to #1 Ayaka Hamasaki.

    • Bryan Henderson

      Hi Juchi,

      Thanks for your comments.

      Ham isn’t in our top 10 at atomweight because she’s been competing at strawweight for the last couple years. We rank fighters based on the division where they are currently competing. Since Ham now appears to be returning to atomweight, she’ll be eligible for the atomweight rankings again after her fight with Kurobe.