Zhang Weili (pink top) stops Karla Benitez (Kunlun Fight)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: April 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 (1)
  2. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (2)
  3. Julia Budd (3)
  4. Holly Holm (4)
  5. Megan Anderson (5)
  6. Felicia Spencer (6)
  7. Talita Nogueira (7)
  8. Olga Rubin (8)
  9. Arlene Blencowe (9)
  10. Amanda Bell (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. 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. Tonya Evinger (10)
  10. Yana Kunitskaya (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Marion Reneau (9)


Making her return to the rankings is Yana Kunitskaya, who decisioned Marion Reneau at UFC on ESPN+ 4 and subsequently boots Reneau from the top 10. The entertaining fight was a bloodfest that definitely proved both women are among the best in their weight class.

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

Jennifer Maia continues to creep back up the rankings. In March, the Brazilian turned in a strong win over Alexis Davis at UFC on ESPN+ 6. Maia, a former Invicta champion, is now in a good position in a UFC flyweight division in need of contenders. In April, Bellator champ Ilima-Lei MacFarlane will look to defend her title against Veta Arteaga.

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

The strawweights were a busy bunch in March. The biggest move in the rankings comes in the form of Weili Zhang, who makes her debut in the top 10 after besting Tecia Torres at UFC 235. Zhang checks in at seventh, while Torres slides into a tie for tenth. At UFC on ESPN 2, Michelle Waterson won an important bout against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, whose drop in the rankings continues with her current slump. Kowalkiewicz is the other half of the tie for tenth place. Meanwhile, Waterson, who previously resides at No. 10, moves up to the No. 8 spot. In April, Invicta FC champ Virna Jandiroba will make a late-notice UFC debut when she fights ninth-ranked former UFC champ Carla Esparza.

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

One important fight took place in the month of March for the atomweights. Kanna Asakura met Tomo Maesawa at Deep Jewels 23. Asakura maintains her spot at No. 7 following a decision win over her fellow countrywoman.