Tonya Evinger vs. Yana Kunitskaya

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: April 2017

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. Julia Budd (2)
  3. Germaine de Randamie (4)
  4. Megan Anderson (5)
  5. Holly Holm (10)
  6. Marloes Coenen (3)
  7. Charmaine Tweet (6)
  8. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  9. Latoya Walker (8)
  10. Roberta Paim (9)

March marked the apparent end of the road for a true trail blazer of women’s MMA. Dutch legend Marloes Coenen finally received her inaugural Bellator featherweight championship fight when she took on Julia Budd in the main event of Bellator 174. Unfortunately, Coenen was finished by Budd. The former Strikeforce champ subsequently retired from competition. The featherweight division will be silent in the month of April.

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

With Holly Holm’s activity seemingly set to come at featherweight and Miesha Tate’s retirement settled in, two new spots open up in the bantamweight division’s rankings. Tonya Evinger settles into the ninth spot after submitting Yana Kunitskaya in the main event of Invicta FC 22. The victory erased a controversial no-contest in the pair’s first meeting, giving Evinger some closure on what was initially a title loss before it was overturned. Sarah Kaufman took her first post-UFC fight in South Korea, where she bested Jessica-Rose “Jessy Jess” Clark by decision. Kaufman, who claims the final spot in the top 10, proved she is still one of the best bantamweights in the world.


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

The flyweights had a quiet month in March. DeAnna Bennett took a fight in the strawweight division, but missed weight. She didn’t do much better in the cage than she had on the scales. Bennett lost to Jodie Esquibel, but the defeat doesn’t affect her standing in the flyweight division.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (1)
  2. Claudia Gadelha (2)
  3. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (3)
  4. Jessica Andrade (4)
  5. Jessica Aguilar (5)
  6. Rose Namajunas (6)
  7. Michelle Waterson (7)
  8. Randa Markos (8)
  9. Carla Esparza (9)
  10. Tecia Torres (t-10)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Joanne Calderwood (t-10)

Following a quiet month of March, the strawweight division has a big fight on the horizon in April. Sixth-ranked Rose Namajunas and seventh-ranked Michelle Waterson will go to war at UFC on Fox 24. The stakes are high: the winner gets the next title shot against the victor of the upcoming title showdown between Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade. Namajunas and Waterson are incredibly exciting and should combine to put on a great show.

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

The upcoming month looks quiet for the atomweight division, but there was plenty of action in March. Ayaka Hamasaki lost, albeit at strawweight, to Livia Renata Souza, likely the best 115-pounder Invicta has to offer. Angela Lee stormed up the rankings due to her tenure in ONE Championship. Lee moves all the way up to the sixth spot after her victory over Jenny Huang. Satoko Shinashi, who fell to Yi Ji Lee in March, falls from the rankings now that her undefeated comeback run has ended.

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.