Michelle Waterson (Jeff Vulgamore/Combat Press)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: May 2018

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 addition of a strawweight division, its recent announcement of a flyweight 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 (61.9-66.3 kilograms)
  1. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  2. Julia Budd (2)
  3. Germaine de Randamie (3)
  4. Megan Anderson (4)
  5. Charmaine Tweet (5)
  6. Talita Nogueira (6)
  7. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  8. Felicia Spencer (8)
  9. Ediane Gomes (9)
  10. Gabrielle Holloway (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the past month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Bantamweight Division (57.3-61.8 kilograms)
  1. Amanda Nunes (1)
  2. Holly Holm (2)
  3. Ronda Rousey (3)
  4. Raquel Pennington (4)
  5. Julianna Pena (5)
  6. Ketlen Vieira (6)
  7. Cat Zingano (7)
  8. Tonya Evinger (8)
  9. Sarah Kaufman (9)
  10. Marion Reneau (10)

There weren’t any ranked bantamweights in action during April, but the month of May is set to feature some important fights. The headliner at UFC 224 pits UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes against top contender Raquel Pennington. Nunes is looking to establish dominance in a division that has not had a dominant champion since Ronda Rousey. Elsewhere, Sarah Kaufman takes on undefeated top prospect Katharina Lehner in the headliner of Invicta FC 29. Invicta’s bantamweight strap is on the line in that affair.


Flyweight Division (52.8-57.2 kilograms)
  1. Jennifer Maia (1)
  2. Valentina Shevchenko (2)
  3. Agnieszka Niedzwiedz (3)
  4. Vanessa Porto (4)
  5. Nicco Montano (5)
  6. Roxanne Modafferi (6)
  7. Rin Nakai (7)
  8. Ilima Macfarlane (8)
  9. Sijara Eubanks (9)
  10. Alexis Davis (10)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the past month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Strawweight Division (50.1-52.7 kilograms)
  1. Rose Namajunas (1)
  2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (2)
  3. Jessica Andrade (3)
  4. Claudia Gadelha (4)
  5. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5)
  6. Tecia Torres (6)
  7. Carla Esparza (7)
  8. Michelle Waterson (8)
  9. Felice Herrig (9)
  10. Alexa Grasso (10)

It was a very active month for the top 10 strawweights. UFC champion Rose Namajunas was able to defend her title against former champ Joanna Jędrzejczyk in a rematch that solidified her as the best 115-pounder in the world. On the same UFC 223 card, Karolina Kowalkiewicz fended off surging contender Felice Herrig. At UFC on Fox 29, Michelle Waterson defeated Cortney Casey to keep her spot in the top 10. In May, Alexa Grasso will look to move up the ladder when she meets undefeated prospect Tatiana Suarez.

Atomweight Division (less than 50 kilograms)
  1. Ayaka Hamasaki (1)
  2. Seo Hee Ham (2)
  3. Jinh Yu Frey (3)
  4. Herica Tiburcio (4)
  5. Mina Kurobe (5)
  6. Julia Jones (6)
  7. Naho Sugiyama (7)
  8. Ashley Cummins (8)
  9. Amber Brown (10)
  10. Kanna Asakura (9)

While April was a slow month for the atomweights, May looks to pick up the pace for the division. Top-ranked fighter Ayaka Hamasaki will compete under the Rizin Fighting Federation banner when she takes on Alyssa Garcia. On the same card, Kanna Asakura looks to make headway in the rankings against Melissa Karagianis.

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.