Jessica Andrade (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: July 2016

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. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Julia Budd (3)
  4. Chamaine Tweet (4)
  5. Annalisa Bucci (5)
  6. Arlene Blencowe (6)
  7. Faith van Duin (7)
  8. Latoya Walker (8)
  9. Robert Paim (9)
  10. Megan Anderson (10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The featherweight division was rather quiet in June, but there was one woman in action. However, it was a ranked featherweight fighter taking a bout at bantamweight. Faith van Duin was victorious over Charlene Watt via unanimous decision in their 135-pound contest. Next month will be busier for the division. Among the match-ups, we’ll see 10th-ranked Megan Anderson fight fringe top-10 candidate Peggy Morgan at Invicta FC 18 in Kansas City.

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)

June spelled a drought when it came to action in the women’s bantamweight division, but it won’t be so dry in July. Half of the top 10 will be in action, including the top two bantamweights in the world. Miesha Tate will put her UFC title on the line against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200, the biggest card in MMA history. Second-ranked Holly Holm will headline a UFC on Fox card against Valentina Shevchenko in what should be a barn burner. Cat Zingano will finally return to the Octagon when she takes on Julianna Pena at the aforementioned UFC 200. There should be some major shakeups to the rankings as a result of the fallout of these July fights.


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

There’s not much action to report in the flyweight division from June, and July is looking to be more of the same. The biggest fight of the month featured a pair of strawweights competing in the first women’s flyweight bout in UFC history. However, Joanne Calderwood, the winner of that bout, has stated that she plans to return to the strawweight division for her next fight. We’re not sure where the less fortunate Valérie Létourneau, who was on the losing end of the contest, will go from here. Sixth-ranked Katlyn Chookagian has signed with the UFC and will be moving up to the bantamweight division next month. She will fight Lauren Murphy in what will mark the biggest fight of Chookagian’s career. Stay patient, though, as more flyweight bouts are certain to materialize in the near future.

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

There’s some movement in the lower half of the strawweight top 10 following some good fights in June. Joanne Calderwood won a fight, but she stays put in the rankings because her win came at flyweight. Calderwood bested Valérie Létourneau in one of her best performances in recent memory. Jessica Andrade debuts in the strawweight rankings after dropping from bantamweight. Andrade decimated the formerly ranked Jessica Penne. Some of the best strawweights in the world will be competing soon. Top-ranked Joanna Jędrzejczyk will put her UFC belt on the line when she takes on rival Claudia Gadelha in a long-awaited rematch. Potential top contenders Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Rose Namajunas are set to square off as well. It’s going to be a huge month of July for the 115-pounders.

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

The action in the atomweight division came overseas in June. Two Japanese fighters bettered their record and standing. Naho Sugiyama moves up to the second spot after she grabbed the Deep Jewels atomweight championship with a victory over Emi Tomimatsu. It gets her one step closer to getting back to the No. 1 ranking, which she previously held several years ago. Satoko Shinashi scored another win and solidified her status in the top 10 when she bested Proof Date. Next month is going to be a quiet one for the division.

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.