Raquel Pennington (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: December 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. Charmaine Tweet (4)
  5. Megan Anderson (5)
  6. Annalisa Bucci (6)
  7. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  8. Latoya Walker (8)
  9. Roberta Paim (9)
  10. Daria Ibragimova (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Cindy Dandois (10)

It was a quiet month for the featherweights in November, and it looks to be another quiet month in December. The two stories coming forth are an Invicta FC main event in January and Cindy Dandois falling out the rankings. On Jan. 14, Charmaine Tweet and Megan Anderson will headline the Invicta FC 20 event in Kansas City, likely in a title eliminator match. Dandois has fallen out of the rankings due to multiple fights in a row at 135 pounds. She will continue in that weight class in December, when she fights for Kunlun Fight in China.

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

The bantamweights had an incredibly interesting month in November filled with title changes, a no-contest, retirements and returns. Tonya Evinger was armbarred out of her Invicta title by Yana Kunitskaya only to have the result overturned due to referee error. Even more out of the blue, Miesha Tate retired from active competition after taking a decision loss to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205. Liz Carmouche returned from a long layoff to best previously unbeaten Katlyn Chookagian at the aforementioned UFC 205. In December, two of the best go at it when UFC champ Amanda Nunes defends against former titleholder Ronda Rousey, who could be on her farewell tour as well. Also, Sara McMann takes on Alexis Davis, who is returning from a pregnancy that caused her to fall from the rankings.


Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Jennifer Maia (1)
  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Roxanne Modafferi (3)
  4. Julia Berezikova (4)
  5. DeAnna Bennett (5)
  6. Sarah D’Alelio (6)
  7. Kalindra Faria (7)
  8. Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (8)
  9. Rin Nakai (9)
  10. Poliana Botelho (10)

The flyweight division has stayed the course for the last few months, but there has been some activity. Rin Nakai continued her run at flyweight and did so in winning fashion, besting Charlene Watt in Japan. Sarah D’Alelio made her Bellator debut in victorious fashion, besting Jaimee Nievara. In December, the aforementioned Nakai will fight under the Rizin banner against Kanako Murata.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (1)
  2. Claudia Gadelha (2)
  3. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (4)
  4. Carla Esparza (3)
  5. Jessica Aguilar (5)
  6. Jessica Andrade (6)
  7. Rose Namajunas (7)
  8. Alexa Grasso (10)
  9. Joanne Calderwood (8)
  10. Michelle Waterson (9)

The strawweights enjoyed a fun month of November. Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Karolina Kowalkiewicz went to war for the UFC title, which Jędrzejczyk retained in a classic bout. Her arch-nemesis, Claudia Gadelha, was also victorious, taking out Cortney Casey in Gadelha’s native Brazil. Speaking of native lands, Alexa Grasso made her UFC debut in impressive fashion when she bested Heather Jo Clark in her home country of Mexico. In December, Paige VanZant and Michelle Waterson will headline a UFC on Fox event in California.

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

The atomweights are ending 2016 in quiet fashion. Amber Brown drops out of the rankings after leaving for the strawweight division. In terms of results, Herica Tiburcio took out fellow ranked fighter Simona Soukupova under the Invicta banner. Currently, there are no ranked fighters going at it in December.

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.