Rose Namajunas (Jeff Vulgamore/Combat Press)

Combat Press Women’s MMA Rankings: May 2021

Riley Kontek Staff Writer

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 weight classes from strawweight up to featherweight, 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 month.

Featherweight Division (61.9-66.3 kilograms)
  1. Amanda Nunes (1)
  2. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (2)
  3. Felicia Spencer (4)
  4. Julia Budd (3)
  5. Kayla Harrison (5)
  6. Megan Anderson (6)
  7. Cat Zingano (7)
  8. Arlene Blencowe (8)
  9. Janay Harding (9)
  10. Jessy Miele (10)

Julia Budd added another win in April when she squeaked by Dayana Silva at Bellator 257. Despite Budd’s victory, the close nature of the contest causes her to slip one spot in the rankings. Meanwhile, Cat Zingano holds steady in seventh after topping Olivia Parker at Bellator 256.


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

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the past month, so the rankings remain unchanged.

Flyweight Division (52.8-57.2 kilograms)
  1. Valentina Shevchenko (1)
  2. Liz Carmouche (3)
  3. Jessica Andrade (2)
  4. Katlyn Chookagian (4)
  5. Juliana Velasquez (5)
  6. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (6)
  7. Cynthia Calvillo (7)
  8. Jennifer Maia (8)
  9. Joanne Calderwood (9)
  10. Lauren Murphy (10)

UFC queen Valentina Shevchenko defended her title at UFC 261, where she finished Jessica Andrade. This results causes a rankings dosey doe between Andrade and Liz Carmouche. Carmouche, who defeated Vanessa Porto at Bellator 256, moves up to second in the rankings.

Strawweight Division (50.1-52.7 kilograms)
  1. Rose Namajunas (2)
  2. Zhang Weili (1)
  3. Joanna Jędrzejczyk (3)
  4. Xiaonan Yan (4)
  5. Claudia Gadelha (5)
  6. Carla Esparza (6)
  7. Marina Rodriguez (7)
  8. Michelle Waterson (8)
  9. Tecia Torres (9)
  10. Amanda Ribas (10)

Rose Namajunas is once again back atop the strawweight mountain after her knockout of Zhang Weili to regain the title.

Atomweight Division (Under 50.1 kilograms)
  1. Seo Hee Ham (1)
  2. Ayaka Hamasaki (2)
  3. Alesha Zappitella (3)
  4. Ashley Cummins (4)
  5. Jessica Delboni (5)
  6. Kanna Asakura (6)
  7. Rena Kubota (7)
  8. Lindsey VanZandt (8)
  9. Mina Kurobe (10)
  10. Lindsay VanZandt (-)

Dropped from the rankings: Kelly D’Angelo (9)

No fighters in the top 10 were in action during the past month, but there is a small change to the rankings. Kelly D’Angelo, whose last fight was contested in the strawweight division, departs the top 10. This opens the door for Lindsey VanZandt to enter the rankings.

Editor’s Note: Fighters are eligible to be ranked if they have competed in the last 18 months. Fighters who announce their retirement will remain ranked for a period of six months following their final bout.