Jessica Eye (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: December 2014

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 lightweight to atomweight to create the Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings.

Lightweight Division (155 pounds)
  1. Charmaine Tweet (1)
  2. Jozette Cotton (2)
  3. Amanda Lucas (3)
  4. Veronica Rothenhausler (4)
  5. Elina Nilsson (5)
  6. Lissette Neri (6)
  7. Bobbi-Jo Dalziel (7)
  8. Jessica Halverson (8)
  9. Michelle Young (9)
  10. Tierra Arnold (10)
  11. Ida Ruiten (11)
  12. Elshaddai Cleffman (12)
  13. Jennifer Johnston (14)
  14. Katharina Albinus (13)
  15. Anna Barone (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

With the lightweight division, patient is a must. It is a shallow weight class that will gain depth further down the road. The only lightweight bout of the month saw Lisa McCallam, who is on the fringe of the top 15, defeat Stacey Hayes in England. That performance, which marked McCallam’s return from a two-year absence, has her within arms reach of the rankings, so continued activity would be smart for the Brit. Ranked lightweights Charmaine Tweet and Lissette Neri are set to drop back to the featherweight division next month. Tweet will fight Faith Van Duin, and Neri will take on Jessy Miele.

Featherweight Division (145 pounds)
  1. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Julia Budd (3)
  4. Latoya Walker (5)
  5. Andria Wawro (6)
  6. Talita Nogueira (7)
  7. Annalisa Bucci (8)
  8. Amanda Bell (9)
  9. Robert Paim Rovel (10)
  10. Arlene Blencowe (11)
  11. Faith Van Duin (12)
  12. Marina Shafir (13)
  13. Maria Hougaard Djursaa (14)
  14. Gabrielle Holloway (15)
  15. Jessy Miele (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Pannie Kianzad (4)

The featherweight division also had a very quiet month, though one of its strongest competitors dropped to 135 pounds in search of a title. Pannie Kianzad became the Cage Warriors bantamweight champion after a successful featherweight run. Looking forward, ranked fighters Faith Van Duin and Jessy Miele are set to welcome former ranked featherweights Charmaine Tweet and Lissette Neri back to the division. Also, Andria Wawro, in an attempt to jump even further up the rankings, welcomes former The Ultimate Fighter competitor Peggy Morgan back to the featherweight division.


Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Ronda Rousey (1)
  2. Cat Zingano (2)
  3. Sara McMann (3)
  4. Alexis Davis (4)
  5. Miesha Tate (5)
  6. Jessica Eye (6)
  7. Sarah Kaufman (7)
  8. Liz Carmouche (8)
  9. Lauren Murphy (9)
  10. Bethe Correia (10)
  11. Jessica Andrade (11)
  12. Amanda Nunes (12)
  13. Holly Holm (13)
  14. Tonya Evinger (14)
  15. Rin Nakai (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

For a division as typically busy as the bantamweights, November saw a scarcity of fights. The major bout of the month was a showdown in Mexico between UFC fighters Jessica Eye and Leslie Smith. Despite a dominant performance by Eye in which she constantly swung for the fences and looked for the finish, it was a gruesome doctor’s stoppage from an exploded ear that gave Eye the win. Next month looks to be similarly slow. The biggest bout of December will see Tonya Evinger attempt to continue her march to the top against returning veteran Cindy Dandois. The bout serves as the co-main event of Invicta FC 10, which will give Evinger big-time exposure and either get her an Invicta title shot or a call from the UFC.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Barb Honchak (1)
  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Jennifer Maia (3)
  4. DeAnna Bennett (4)
  5. Zoila Gurgel (6)
  6. Munah Holland (7)
  7. Julia Berezikova (8)
  8. Aline Serio (9)
  9. Elaine Albuquerque (11)
  10. Roxanne Modafferi (10)
  11. Pearl Gonzalez (12)
  12. Reyna Cordoba (14)
  13. Debora Ferreira (13)
  14. Emily Corso (15)
  15. Silvana Gomez Juarez (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Nina Ansaroff (5)

Another division, another slow month. The only top-15 fighter that threw down in November was Reyna Cordoba, who continued her undefeated streak with a submission of Anely Jimenez. That win should warrant bigger and better fights for the judoka, who has spent her time competing in the Central American circuit. December will be a much busier month for the division. Roxanne Modafferi will take on Andrea Lee at Invicta FC 10 in a veteran vs. prospect match-up. On that same card, top-ranked fighters DeAnna Bennett and Jennifer Maia square off in what could be a top contender’s bout. Silvana Gomez Juarez will meet Linn Wennergren in an attempt to move up the top-15 ladder. Also, Debora Ferreira meets Antonia Silvaneide in an XFC tournament bout. It’s safe to say that the division’s rankings will change greatly in the new year.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Jessica Aguilar (1)
  2. Carla Esparza (2)
  3. Claudia Gadelha (3)
  4. Joanne Calderwood (4)
  5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (5)
  6. Katja Kankaanpaa (6)
  7. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (7)
  8. Mizuki Inoue (8)
  9. Tecia Torres (9)
  10. Felice Herrig (10)
  11. Bec Rawlings (11)
  12. Rose Namajunas (12)
  13. Kalindra Faria (13)
  14. Stephanie Eggink (14)
  15. Justine Kish (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

As we continue to wait for The Ultimate Fighter 20 to play out completely, the division remains in a metaphorical stranglehold. That said, the strawweight division’s best fighter, World Series of Fighting champion Jessica Aguilar, performed in November. She proved why she’s so good, defeating legit top-15 competitor Kalindra Faria. It was a good fight that was lost in the shuffle of Super Saturday. Two more of the top strawweights will throw down in December when Claudia Gadelha takes on Joanna Jedrzejczyk. One would assume this is a No. 1 contender’s bout, with the winner meeting the winner of the TUF 20 tournament, which will come to its conclusion this month as well.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Michelle Waterson (1)
  2. Jessica Penne (2)
  3. Seo Hee Ham (3)
  4. Ayaka Hamasaki (4)
  5. Naho Sugiyama (5)
  6. Alex Chambers (6)
  7. Jodie Esquibel (7)
  8. Cassie Rodish (8)
  9. Amber Brown (9)
  10. Sadae Numata (10)
  11. Catherine Costigan (11)
  12. Janaisa Morandin (12)
  13. Liz McCarthy (13)
  14. Saori Ishioka (14)
  15. Jinh Yu Frey (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

A quiet November will lead to a busy December for the atomweights. Seo Hee Ham defeated Saori Ishioka early in November. Days later, she inked a contract with the UFC to compete at 115 pounds. That is a big addition for the UFC as the company looks to add more South Koreans to its ranks before taking a show to Asian nation. December will see three of the atomweight division’s best throw down. Michelle Waterson defends her Invicta belt against dropping strawweight Herica Tiburcio in what should be an awesome fight. On that same card, Jinh Yu Frey, in an attempt to not only get back into the win column but to push herself further up the rankings, will battle Cassie Robb. Finally, Ayaka Hamasaki will battle fellow Japanese star Mei Yamaguchi in a bout that could push Hamasaki into the division’s top three.