Ayaka Hamasaki (Jeff Vulgamore/Combat Press)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: June 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. Cindy Dandois (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Gabrielle Holloway (10)

Amber Leibrock edges closer to the featherweight top 10 following a victory over Janay Harding at Bellator 199. Leibrock’s win might not have allowed her to grab the No. 10 spot, but it does shift the balance enough on the lower end of the rankings to knock Gabrielle Holloway from her tenuous hold on the final spot and give Cindy Dandois the honors. Dandois has spent 2017-18 traveling the globe after a short-lived stint in the UFC. The “Battlecat” returned to the featherweight division in March to pick up a win, and her past resume, which includes a victory over Megan Anderson, bolsters her case at No. 10.


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

The biggest fight in the bantamweight division came at UFC 224, where Amanda Nunes successfully defended her UFC title against Raquel Pennington. Nunes had Pennington on the verge of quitting in her corner prior to the fifth round, but Pennington answered the bell and received a bloodied and broken nose as her reward. Nunes holds strong at No. 1, but Pennington’s drubbing causes her to slip a spot to fifth. Former Strikeforce titleholder Sarah Kaufman claimed another piece of gold when she defeated Katharina Lehner for the Invicta FC title at Invicta FC 29. Kaufman leapfrogs Cat Zingano and Tonya Evinger in the rankings as a result. Ronda Rousey is set to spend her last month in the top 10. Rousey has seemingly left MMA behind in exchange for the world of sports entertainment.

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

Dropped from the rankings: Sijara Eubanks (9)

Some fights can have a ripple effect. Take Andrea “KGB” Lee’s long-awaited UFC debut. Lee decisioned Veronica Macedo at UFC Fight Night 129 on May 19. The victory wasn’t enough to push the 29-year-old into the top 10, but her movement in the polls did cause Sijara Eubanks to slip and Lauren Murphy to rise. Murphy takes the No. 9 slot, but Eubanks might have something to say about that when the pair meet at UFC Fight Night 131 on June 1. Someone will have a definitive claim to the spot when next month’s rankings are released.

Strawweight Division (50.1-52.7 kilograms)
  1. Rose Namajunas (1)
  2. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (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. Tatiana Suarez (-)
  10. Felice Herrig (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Alexa Grasso (10)

There isn’t a lot of debate when it comes to the rankings at strawweight. The division’s pecking order has been solidly established. However, a new face is emerging to wreak some havoc on the division. Tatiana Suarez makes her move into the No. 9 spot following a submission victory over Alexa Grasso at UFC Fight Night 129. Grasso falls from the top 10 as a result. Suarez, who entered the UFC on the momentum of her showing on The Ultimate Fighter 23, is now undefeated through six official pro contests.

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. Naho Sugiyama (7)
  7. Ashley Cummins (8)
  8. Kanna Asakura (10)
  9. Amber Brown (9)
  10. Rena Kubota (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Julia Jones (6)

The most significant movement in the atomweight rankings comes as a result of inactivity. Julia Jones has not competed in more than 18 months and therefore falls out of the top 10. This opens the door for highly decorated kickboxer and shoot boxer Rena Kubota to enter the field. Kubota suffered her first pro MMA loss in December when she lost to Kanna Asakura in the finals of the Rizin 49-kilogram tournament. Prior to the loss, Kubota had collected six victories to kick off her MMA campaign. As for Asakura, the 20-year-old added to her own win column in May with a decision nod over Melissa Karagianis at Rizin 10. Asakura’s win allows her to edge past Amber Brown once more. Rizin 10 also provided the stage for the world’s top atomweight lady, Ayaka Hamasaki, to add to her legacy. The 36-year-old outworked Alyssa Garcia to take a decision win.

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.