Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (Bellator MMA)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: May 2019

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)

April was a quiet month for the featherweights, but that will change in May. Two top featherweights will square off in the UFC when former Invicta champions Megan Anderson and Felicia Spencer meet in Rochester, N.Y. The winner could be the next fighter to compete for the UFC title.


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 (9)
  10. Yana Kunitskaya (10)

The bantamweights were also dormant in April, but a couple fighters will see action in May. Aspen Ladd looks to continue her rapid march up the rankings when she takes on former flyweight Sijara Eubanks in Rochester, N.Y. Meanwhile, Sarah Kaufman moves all the way up to lightweight for the Professional Fighters League’s second season tournament. She takes on featherweight prospect Morgan Frier in an attempt to secure a million bucks.

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

Bellator champ Ilima-Lei Macfarlane secured her spot as the second-best flyweight in the world. The rising star scored a win over Veta Arteaga to keep her belt, though she wishes to give Arteaga an immediate rematch due to the nature of the stoppage.

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 (7)
  8. Michelle Waterson (8)
  9. Carla Esparza (9)
  10. Tecia Torres (10)/Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10)

Former UFC champion Carla Esparza solidified her top-10 status when she handed former Invicta champ Virna Jandiroba her first career loss. Esparza is now back in a position in which she can potentially challenge for the UFC title. Speaking of the championship, it will be on the line in May in the UFC 237 main event, where titleholder Rose Namajunas goes up against against Jessica Andrade.

Atomweight Division (Under 50.1 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)

Rena Kubota was the only atomweight to compete in April. She secured a victory over Samantha Jean-Francois in a 110-pound catchweight bout. In May, eighth-ranked atomweight Amber Brown moves up to 115 pounds as an Invicta Phoenix Rising tournament alternate against Manjit Kolekar.