Rose Namajunas

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: May 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. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Julia Budd (2)
  3. Germaine de Randamie (3)
  4. Megan Anderson (4)
  5. Holly Holm (5)
  6. Marloes Coenen (6)
  7. Charmaine Tweet (7)
  8. Latoya Walker (9)
  9. Roberta Paim (10)
  10. Daria Ibragimova (-)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Arlene Blencowe (8)

April was a quiet month for the featherweights, and May is looking the same so far. Arlene Blencowe dropped out of the rankings after taking her second consecutive fight at bantamweight. At Australian FC 18, Blencowe, while competing at bantamweight, bested Rhiannon Thompson.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Amanda Nunes (1)
  2. Valentina Shevchenko (2)
  3. Ronda Rousey (3)
  4. Raquel Pennington (4)
  5. Julianna Pena (5)
  6. Sara McMann (7)
  7. Cat Zingano (6)
  8. Liz Carmouche (8)
  9. Tonya Evinger (9)
  10. Sarah Kaufman (10)

The bantamweight division was also quiet in April. Nobody in the top 10 is set to compete during May, either.


Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Jennifer Maia (1)
  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Roxane Modafferi (3)
  4. Rin Nakai (7)
  5. Sarah D’Alelio (5)
  6. Agnieszka Niedźwiedź (6)
  7. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (-)
  8. DeAnna Bennett (8)
  9. Kalindra Faria (9)
  10. Andrea Lee (10)
  • Dropped out of rankings: Julia Berezikova (4)

The flyweight division has really started cooking in recent months, especially with Bellator taking more of a vested interest in the division. Top Bellator flyweight Ilima-Lei Macfarlane jumps into the rankings this month after besting Jessica Middleton at Bellator 178 to keep her undefeated professional run intact. Roxanne Modafferi scored a big win over Priscila de Souza under the Fusion Fight League banner to hold her spot at No. 3. Modafferi will make a quick turnaround this month when she takes on Sarah D’Alelio in a high-profile bout at Invicta FC 23. The main event of the Invicta card features Agnieszka Niedźwiedź and Vanessa Porto, positioning both women for a potential title shot against Jennifer Maia. Andrea Lee will compete on the same Invicta card when she takes on promotional newcomer Liz Tracy. Meanwhile, longtime top-10 fighter Julia Berezikova drops out of the rankings due to inactivity.

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

Two top-10 fighters squared off in April, which shook up the rankings a tad. In a high-profile bout at UFC on Fox 24, Rose Namajunas submitted Michelle Waterson to potentially become the top contender. She’s poised to meet the winner of the title contest between UFC champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade, who will compete in May in the co-main event of UFC 211. Also on the UFC 211 card, Jessica Aguilar returns from an injury layoff to take on Cortney Casey.

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 (6)
  7. Tessa Simpson (8)
  8. Mina Kurobe (7)
  9. Naho Sugiyama (9)
  10. Simona Soukupova (10)

April was a quiet month for the ranked atomweights, but there are a pair of bouts in May that will feature ranked fighters. Herica Tiburcio will square off with Tessa Simpson at Invicta FC 23 to move up the ladder and potentially earn a title shot. Also, Angela Lee will go to work in the ONE Championship organization, where she fights Istela Nunes, albeit at the 115-pound weigh-in limit utilized by the Pacific promotion for its atomweight bouts.

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.