Amanda Nunes (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: January 2019

Riley Kontek Staff Writer

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.

Note: the numbers in parentheses represent the fighter’s ranking from the previous rankings.

Featherweight Division (61.9-66.3 kilograms)
  1. Amanda Nunes (-)
  2. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)
  3. Julia Budd (2)
  4. Holly Holm (3)
  5. Megan Anderson (4)
  6. Felicia Spencer (5)
  7. Talita Nogueira (6)
  8. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  9. Olga Rubin (8)
  10. Cindy Dandois (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Pam Sorenson (10)


The biggest shake up in featherweight history came at the very end of 2018. UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes needed less than a minute to beat the greatest female fighter of all time, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Nunes knocked out the long-reigning queen of the division, and in doing so also knocked Cyborg out of her longtime spot atop these rankings. Nunes, who moved up in weight for the fight, debuts at the very top of the poll. On the same UFC 232 card where Nunes made history, Megan Anderson got back in the win column. It was a bittersweet victory that came when Anderson’s toe went into Cat Zingano’s eye during an attempted head kick. The circumstances surrounding Anderson’s win, combined with her previous loss to Holly Holm, keep Anderson from advancing in the rankings. In fact, she joins the remainder of her counterparts in falling a notch as a result of Nunes’ debut. The arrival of Nunes also forces the departure of Pam Sorenson from the top 10.

Bantamweight Division (57.3-61.8 kilograms)
  1. Amanda Nunes (1)
  2. Germaine de Randamie (2)
  3. Holly Holm (3)
  4. Ketlen Vieira (4)
  5. Raquel Pennington (5)
  6. Sarah Kaufman (6)
  7. Cat Zingano (7)
  8. Aspen Ladd (8)
  9. Marion Reneau (9)
  10. Tonya Evinger (10)

All of the ranked bantamweights who competed in December did so outside of the 135-pound division. Amanda Nunes, of course, takes the top spot in the featherweight division to add to her standing as the world’s top bantamweight. Cat Zingano also stepped up to 145 pounds, but she was the victim of an errant Megan Anderson kick that left her unable to continue in the pair’s UFC 232 bout. Zingano’s loss doesn’t impact her status as the No. 7 bantamweight in the rankings, though.

Flyweight Division (52.8-57.2 kilograms)
  1. Valentina Shevchenko (1)
  2. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (3)
  3. Liz Carmouche (2)
  4. Katlyn Chookagian (5)
  5. Nicco Montaño (4)
  6. Jessica Eye (-)
  7. Jennifer Maia (6)
  8. Agnieszka Niedźwiedź (7)
  9. Alexis Davis (8)
  10. Vanessa Porto (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Sijara Eubanks (10)


The top dog of the flyweight division remained the top dog in December. Valentina Shevchenko continued to dominate at 125 pounds by beating former 115-pound champion Joanna Jędrzejczyk to snag the vacant UFC women’s flyweight title at UFC 231. Bellator champion Ilima-Lei Macfarlane moves up to the second spot after topping UFC veteran Valérie Létourneau in Macfarlane’s home state of Hawaii at Bellator 213. Jessica Eye makes her debut in the flyweight top 10 after squeaking by Katlyn Chookagian at UFC 231. The victory makes Eye potentially the top contender to the aforementioned Shevchenko. Eye’s arrival as the No. 6 flyweight in the rankings leads to the departure of Sijara Eubanks from the top 10.

Strawweight Division (50.1-52.7 kilograms)
  1. Rose Namajunas (1)
  2. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (2)
  3. Jessica Andrade (3)
  4. Nina Ansaroff (-)
  5. Claudia Gadelha (4)
  6. Tatiana Suarez (6)
  7. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (5)
  8. Tecia Torres (7)
  9. Carla Esparza (8)
  10. Michelle Waterson (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Felice Herrig (10)

Joanna Jędrzejczyk’s appearance at UFC 231 against Valentina Shevchenko came in the flyweight division and doesn’t impact the former UFC champion’s standing in the strawweight division, where she remains at No. 2. Nina Ansaroff goes from unranked to fourth by way of her upset victory over Claudia Gadelha on that same UFC 231 card. The American Top Team rep’s victory was massive and showcased a great amount of improvement in Ansaroff’s game. With Ansaroff’s entry into the top 10, Felice Herrig falls from the rankings.

Atomweight Division (less than 50 kilograms)
  1. Ayaka Hamasaki (1)
  2. Seo Hee Ham (2)
  3. Jinh Yu Frey (3)
  4. Alesha Zappitella (10)
  5. Minna Grusander (5)
  6. Ashley Cummins (6)
  7. Kanna Asakura (7)
  8. Amber Brown (8)
  9. Rena Kubota (9)
  10. Mina Kurobe (4)

The best atomweight in the world continued to reign supreme. Ayaka Hamasaki took out seventh-ranked Kanna Asakura in a featured bout at Rizin 14. Hamasaki continues to sit atop the rankings as a result. The biggest jump came in the form of Alesha Zappitella, who shot up to the four spot with her victory over Amber Brown at Invicta FC 33. In the headliner of the Invicta card, Jinh Yu Frey kept her atomweight title with another close victory in a rematch with Minna Grusander. Both ladies hold steady in the rankings. Road FC champion Seo Hee Ham also held onto her title — and her second ranking — by taking out Jung Eun Park at the South Korean promotion’s Road FC 51 show. The only other top-10 atomweight to take a loss in December was Mina Kurobe, who dropped a split decision to Tomo Maesawa at Deep Jewels 22 in Japan. The defeat sends Kurobe spiraling from the fifth spot to the No. 10 slot in the atomweight poll.