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. Charmaine Tweet (5)
  6. Latoya Walker (6)
  7. Talita Nogueira (7)
  8. Arlene Blencowe (10)
  9. Felicia Spencer (8)
  10. Ediane Gomes (9)

The featherweight division was dormant in September, and it appears it will be the same way in October.

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

Dropped out of rankings: Sara McMann (7)

A couple of major fights took place in September. Amanda Nunes solidified herself as the best bantamweight in the world. She was able to keep her UFC bantamweight championship while besting Valentina Shevchenko in a fun, close bout. On the same UFC 215 card, Sara McMann was taken out of the top 10 when she was finished by Ketlen Vieira.

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

The month of September was a busy one for the flyweights. In the Legacy Fighting Alliance, Andrea Lee retained her flyweight title by submitting Jamie Thorton. Lee’s win earned her a UFC contract, but she cannot compete for six months due to past indiscretions in drug testing. On the same LFA 23 card, Sabina Mazo stormed into the rankings with another highlight-reel finish, this time against Linsey Williams. Though it doesn’t count on their official records, Roxanne Modafferi and DeAnna Bennett scored wins on The Ultimate Fighter 26 over Shana Dobson and Karine Gevorgyan, respectively. In October, Vanessa Porto faces off with Marta Souza in Brazil.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (1)
  2. Jessica Andrade (4)
  3. Claudia Gadelha (2)
  4. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (3)
  5. Rose Namajunas (5)
  6. Michelle Waterson (6)
  7. Tecia Torres (7)
  8. Carla Esparza (8)
  9. Cynthia Calvillo (9)
  10. Angela Hill (10)

A new No. 2 strawweight emerged in September. In what turned out to be a barnburner, Jessica Andrade scored an impressive decision over countrywoman Claudia Gadelha. Gadelha, the longtime No. 2 fighter in the division, relinquished the spot for the first time in a while. In October, Karolina Kowalkiewicz will fight in front of a home crowd when she takes on Jodie Esquibel.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Ayaka Hamasaki (1)
  2. Jinh Yu Frey (2)
  3. Herica Tiburcio (3)
  4. Seo Hee Ham (4)
  5. Janaisa Morandin (5)
  6. Julia Jones (6)
  7. Tessa Simpson (7)
  8. Mina Kurobe (8)
  9. Naho Sugiyama (9)
  10. Ashley Cummins (10)

There was no activity for the top-10 atomweights in the month of September. As of now, none of the top 10 are scheduled to compete in October either.


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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  • Juchi

    I thought GDR had dropped back down to 135. Wasn’t she supposed to have fought Marion Reneau at 135 last month before she pulled out due to a hand injury? Hasn’t Liz Carmouche also dropped? I thought her next fight is against Alexis Davis at 125.

    • Bryan Henderson

      Hi Juchi,

      GDR is planning to drop down, but as our editor’s note states, “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.”

      This would also apply to Carmouche at flyweight.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      • Juchi

        Thanks for getting back to me Bryan. For future clarification, do they have to fight twice consecutively in their new weight division? I believe GDR has only fought once at FW yet is ranked as a FW and Holm has only fought once at BW since her fight against GDR but still is ranked as a BW.
        Just curious, how will you handle any eventual dual division champions? Say JJ was to win the title at 125 and still retained the title at 115, would you rank her in both divisions or neither if she fails to fight twice in a row at either?

        • Bryan Henderson

          Some situations are a bit more complicated. GDR, for example, was part of the UFC’s initial move to create a 145-pound division. When she moved up and immediately became champion, that required a ranking. Holm was part of that initial move too, but then quickly returned to bantamweight.

          The idea of two fights at one division is to avoid having someone jump into the rankings for one fight only to jump back out the next when they return to their old division (like the Holm situation). There will always be exceptions when they’re warranted, like with your example for JJ.

          • Juchi

            That make sense – kind of, at least for GDR’s initial ranking at FW. But when she announced that she was dropping to BW, followed by an announcement of a fight at BW, it would seem that she should be ranked as BW as was Holly. Even though she has only fought once at FW, will she have to fight two fights at BW to be ranked as a BW?