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.

Featherweight Division (145 pounds)
  1. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Julia Budd (3)
  4. Latoya Walker (4)
  5. Talita Nogueira (5)
  6. Annalisa Bucci (6)
  7. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  8. Faith van Duin (8)
  9. Roberta Paim (9)
  10. Peggy Morgan/Amanda Bell (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The featherweight division was dormant in the month of December. However, you won’t have to wait long in January to see top females in action. Top-ranked Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino will defend her Invicta featherweight championship yet again when she meets up with Ukrainian fighter Daria Ibragimova. Ibragimova is a submission artist who hasn’t lost since 2010, but Justino hasn’t even left the first round in three of her last four bouts. Also, Amanda Bell, who is tied for the 10th ranking, makes her return on the same Invicta card when she takes on Ediane Gomes, who returns to the featherweight division after a failed run at 135 pounds.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Holly Holm (1)
  2. Ronda Rousey (2)
  3. Miesha Tate (3)
  4. Cat Zingano (4)
  5. Alexis Davis (5)
  6. Amanda Nunes (8)
  7. Tonya Evinger (7)
  8. Sara McMann (9)
  9. Valentina Shevchenko (NR)
  10. Sarah Kaufman (6)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Julianna Pena (10)

The bantamweight rankings had a big shake-up in the month of December. Valentina Shevchenko debuted in the UFC on eight days’ notice and knocked off Sarah Kaufman. It was a huge upset in the eyes of the oddsmakers. That jump into the rankings kicked out Julianna Pena, who may have bigger fish to fry. Pena was arrested for an alleged bar fight in her home state of Washington. All things considered, the bantamweight division has had some major happenings to end 2015.

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

The flyweight rankings look very different from last month. For one thing, Kate Jackson and Katlyn Chookagian are now on the outside looking in, because two other big names jumped into the rankings. Kalindra Faria returned to the 125-pound division in a victorious manner when she bested Thamy Sagat. Faria’s return came after a run at strawweight which saw her fight some of the best 115-pounders in the world. Jennifer Maia picked up another win when she topped Dayana Silva. However, Maia’s bout came in the bantamweight division. She will stay in the flyweight rankings, though, unless she takes another bantamweight bout in her next outing. Andrea Lee earned a fun victory over Ariel Beck for the Legacy FC championship. It solidified Lee’s status as a top star in the 125-pound 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 (8)
  7. DeAnna Bennett (6)
  8. Livia Renata Souza (7)
  9. Joanne Calderwood (9)
  10. Tecia Torres (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Jessica Penne (10)

The strawweight division saw some major changes in the month of December, which continues to show why it’s the most competitive division in women’s MMA. To begin with, Rose Namajunas made the biggest jump in the rankings after her decimation of Paige VanZant in the main event of UFC Fight Night 80. It continues to show why Namajunas is one of the brightest stars in the 115-pound division. Tecia Torres jumped into the 10 spot with a dominant victory over Jocelyn Jones-Lybarger. The last key bout of the month featured the Octagon debut of Karolina Kowalkiewicz, the fifth-ranked fighter, in Orlando. She bested Randa Markos in pretty convincing fashion to prove why she is UFC-worthy. Next month, Livia Renata Souza and DeAnna Bennett, two top-10 strawweights who are not in the UFC, will battle it out for the Invicta strawweight championship. It proves that there is still plenty of talent outside the UFC.

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

The atomweight rankings almost stayed put last month, but a loss by Liz McCarthy opened up the No. 10 spot for Julia Jones. McCarthy, who competed at Combate America, took a tough loss to Kyra Batara to put her on a losing streak. Next month, two of the best atomweights in the world are scheduled to throw down under the Invicta banner. First, Amber Brown will meet up with UFC castoff Lisa Ellis in an attempt to earn a title shot against Ayaka Hamasaki. Then, Jodie Esquibel will take on Angela Hill, another UFC castoff, in a fight that could also earn Esquibel a title shot if she wins. It should be a good month for the atomweights.

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.