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. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Julia Budd (3)
  4. Latoya Walker (4)
  5. Annalisa Bucci (5)
  6. Arlene Blencowe (6)
  7. Faith van Duin (7)
  8. Charmaine Tweet (8)
  9. Roberta Paim (9)
  10. Amanda Bell (T-10)/Peggy Morgan (T-10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The month of April was quiet for the featherweight division, but big things are to come in May. Top-ranked 145er Cris “Cyborg” Justino will take a 140-pound catchweight bout in the UFC in Brazil when she takes on Leslie Smith. It bolsters a loaded UFC 198, with Cyborg finally touching down in the world’s largest promotion. Second-ranked Marloes Coenen and third-ranked Julia Budd will battle it out for the inaugural Bellator featherweight championship. Their fight is on the prelims, which is surprising, but nevertheless, one of these women will hold Bellator gold at night’s end. Top-10 fighters Latoya Walker and Charmaine Tweet will clash at Invicta FC 17.

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

The top tier of the bantamweight division was dormant in April, but there are two big fights coming up in May. Invicta champ Tonya Evinger looks to continue her unlikely sprint up the rankings when she defends her belt against Colleen Schneider. Evinger has gone from The Ultimate Fighter washout to Invicta champion, showing great improvements in her game. Sara McMann returns to the cage for the first time since August. She takes on the slumping Jessica Eye. McMann and Eye are both on losing streaks.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Barb Honchak (1)
  2. Jennifer Maia (2)
  3. Vanessa Porto (3)
  4. Roxanne Modafferi (4)
  5. Julia Berezikova (5)
  6. Kalindra Faria (6)
  7. Katlyn Chookagian (7)
  8. Sarah D’Alelio (8)
  9. Aline Sério (9)
  10. DeAnna Bennett (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

April was a slow month for those in the flyweight rankings, and May doesn’t look much busier. Aline Sério is slated to compete at Invicta 17, albeit at strawweight.

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 (7)
  7. Livia Renata Souza (6)
  8. Joanne Calderwood (8)
  9. Michelle Waterson (10)
  10. Jessica Penne (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Tecia Torres (9)

The month of April was an interesting one in the strawweight division. Two former TUF finalists earned big wins. TUF winner and inaugural UFC strawweight champion Carla Esparza took a late-notice bout with Juliana Lima and scored a win for the first time since injuring her leg. TUF runner-up Rose Namajunas also scored a victory in April when she decisioned Tecia Torres out of the top-10 rankings. Two top-10 fighters will be in action in May. Karolina Kowalkiewicz will compete as part of the UFC’s first trip to the Netherlands. She takes on Heather Jo Clark, who will be returning from injury. Invicta strawweight champion Livia Renata Souza will defend her belt against Angela Hill in the co-headliner of Invicta FC 17.

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

The atomweight division was another mostly dormant division in the month of April, and things are just as slow in May. The only thing of note that happened in the top-10 was that Jodie Esquibel was eliminated from TUF 23 after dropping a controversial decision to Ashley Yoder.

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.