Seo Hee Ham (Daniel Herbertson/Sherdog)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: January 2020

With the growing popularity of women’s MMA, it is important to recognize these women with a rankings system of their own. Between the UFC’s inclusion of a bantamweight division, its addition of the strawweight and flyweight divisions, Bellator’s increasing attention to the women’s side of the sport, 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. Felicia Spencer (5)
  6. Megan Anderson (6)
  7. Arlene Blencowe (7)
  8. Pam Sorenson (8)
  9. Jessy Miele (9)
  10. Talita Nogueira (10)

The year ended quietly for the featherweight top 10. However, a huge fight is on the horizon to open up 2020 for the division. Bellator champion Julia Budd welcomes the legendary Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino to the organization at Bellator 238 in late January. Cyborg, a former UFC titleholder, is often regarded as one of the best female combatants in history and a huge addition for Bellator MMA.


Bantamweight Division (57.3-61.8 kilograms)
  1. Amanda Nunes (1)
  2. Germaine de Randamie (2)
  3. Holly Holm (3)
  4. Raquel Pennington (6)
  5. Aspen Ladd (5)
  6. Irene Aldana (-)
  7. Ketlen Vieira (4)
  8. Cat Zingano (7)
  9. Julianna Peña (8)
  10. Yana Kunitskaya (9)

Dropped from the rankings: Lina Länsberg (10)

Unlike the featherweights, the bantamweights ended 2019 with a boom. Top fighter Amanda Nunes retained her UFC championship by besting Germaine de Randamie at UFC 245. Ketlen Vieira, who was widely thought to be next in line, lost that distinction at the same UFC event when she fell to Irene Aldana. Meanwhile, Aspen Ladd got back in the win column at UFC on ESPN 7, where she took out Yana Kunitskaya. In January, Holly Holm will rematch Raquel Pennington in the co-main event of UFC 246.

Flyweight Division (52.8-57.2 kilograms)
  1. Valentina Shevchenko (1)
  2. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (2)
  3. Liz Carmouche (3)
  4. Jessica Eye (4)
  5. Katlyn Chookagian (5)
  6. Jennifer Maia (6)
  7. Vanessa Porto (7)
  8. Joanne Calderwood (8)
  9. Roxanne Modafferi (10)
  10. Andrea Lee (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Viviane Araujo (9)

The year ended in exciting fashion for the flyweight division. Bellator champion and our second-ranked fighter Ilima-Lei Macfarlane continued her reign of dominance by beating The Ultimate Fighter alum Kate Jackson via decision at Bellator 236. Jessica Eye knocked Viviane Araujo out of the rankings with a big win at UFC 245. In January, Roxanne Modafferi, a trailblazer in women’s MMA, takes on Maycee Barber, arguably the best young prospect in the UFC.

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

Marina Rodriguez fought to a majority draw with Cynthia Calvillo at UFC on ESPN 7. The prevailing opinion was that Rodriguez should have been declared the winner, but the Brazilian at least walked away without a loss. Rodriguez slides into a tie for ninth in our poll, allowing Alexa Grasso to slide into the top 10. In January, Grasso looks to move up when she goes up against No. 7-ranked Claudia Gadelha.

Atomweight Division (Under 50.1 kilograms)
  1. Seo Hee Ham (2)
  2. Ayaka Hamasaki (1)
  3. Jinh Yu Frey (3)
  4. Minna Grusander (4)
  5. Ashley Cummins (5)
  6. Jessica Delboni (7)
  7. Kanna Asakura (6)
  8. Rena Kubota (-)
  9. Kelly D’Angelo (9)
  10. Alesha Zappitella (10)

Dropped from the rankings: Lindsey VanZandt (8)

A changing of the guard has occurred at the top of the atomweight rankings following the very last day of 2019. Seo Hee Ham scored a decision over Ayaka Hamasaki at Rizin 20 to avenge two prior losses to the longtime No. 1. Rena Kubota emerges in the rankings after scoring a revenge win over previously ranked Lindsey VanZandt at the year-end Rizin effort. Also at the event, Kanna Asakura defeated Jayme Hinshaw to further secure her spot in the rankings.