SPORTS

Who is the world’s best women’s mixed martial artist, regardless of weight class?

 My latest top-10 ranking is listed below.

Cris Justino

1. Cris Justino 
Record: 17-1
Div.: Featherweight (Invicta FC/UFC)
Last: W (TKO2) Lina Lansberg, Sept. 24, 2016
Next: TBD

Justino is now 2-0 in the UFC, to no one’s surprise. The big question around Justino regards the long-term play. She’s a budding star who lacks opponents, because of the fact her best fighting weight is 145, a weight division UFC doesn’t promote.


Joanna Jedrzejczyk

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Record: 13-0
Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
Last: W (UD) Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Nov. 12, 2016
Next: TBD

Jedrzejczyk had to overcome some adversity in her title fight against Kowalkiewicz, but it was still a relatively dominant performance. She has failed to earn a finish in three straight fights, but that’s the closest thing you can come to a criticism of the UFC champ.


Amanda Nunes

3. Amanda Nunes
Record: 14-4
Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
Last: W (TKO1) Ronda Rousey, Dec. 30, 2016
Next: TBD

In a matter of six months, Nunes dispatched two of the biggest stars in women’s MMA — Miesha Tate and Rousey — and she did so in a matter of two rounds combined. Nunes is a finisher and a ferocious bantamweight champ.


Valentina Shevchenko

4. Valentina Shevchenko
Record: 14-2
Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
Last: W (Sub2) Julianna Pena, Jan. 28, 2017
Next: TBD

Shevchenko lost to Amanda Nunes in March 2016, but has quickly set up a rematch against the current champ by defeating Holly Holm and Julianna Pena. She’ll be a live challenger in that fight, and let’s not forget she’s undersized for this division.


Claudia Gadelha

5. Claudia Gadelha
Record: 14-2
Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
Last: W (UD) Cortney Casey, Nov. 19, 2016
Next: TBD

Gadelha put up a good fight in her rematch against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in July, but things fell apart for her in the final two rounds. She’s in that awkward spot of having two losses to the current champion of her weight class. She’s clearly No. 2 … and probably hoping another contender can knock off Jedrzejczyk and shake up the division.


Carla Esparza

6. Carla Esparza
Record: 11-3
Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
Last: W (UD3) Juliana Lima, April 23, 2016
Next: UFC Fight Night on Feb. 19, vs. Randa Markos

After taking a full year off following an ugly loss to Jedrzejczyk in March 2015, Esparza returned to her winning ways by grinding away on Lima at UFC 197. Opponents know what’s coming from Esparza, but they still can’t stop it.


Karolina Kowalkiewicz

7. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Record: 10-1
Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
Last: L (UD) Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Nov. 12, 2016
Next: TBD

Kowalkiewicz came up short in her title bid against Jedrzejczyk at UFC 205, but she may have won a bigger fan base. Although she was visibly overmatched, Kowalkiewicz had several big moments, including a huge right hand in the fourth round — probably the biggest shot ever landed on Jedrzejczyk.


Jessica Andrade

8. Jessica Andrade
Record: 16-5
Div.: Strawweight (UFC)
Last: W (UD) Angela Hill, Feb. 4, 2017
Next: TBD

Andrade has been a buzz saw ever since cutting down to 115 pounds in 2016. There are some blemishes on her record for sure, but she’s entering the prime years of her career and has been on absolute fire in this weight class.


Holly Holm

9. Holly Holm
Record: 10-2
Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
Last: L (UD) Valentina Shevchenko, July 9, 2016
Next: UFC 208 on Feb. 11, vs. Germaine de Randamie

The former boxing champion is now in a bit of a tailspin. After blowing up the state of the division with a knockout of Ronda Rousey, Holm has lost two in a row. Her loss to Shevchenko in July was not all that close.


Ronda Rousey

10. Ronda Rousey
Record: 12-2
Div.: Bantamweight (UFC)
Last: L (TKO1) Amanda Nunes, Dec. 30, 2016
Next: TBD

It didn’t seem possible going in, but Rousey’s comeback fight at UFC 207 against Nunes might have been uglier than her loss to Holly Holm in 2015. If Rousey continues to fight, she clearly needs to make adjustments to her preparations. If she never fights again, few will be surprised.

One thought on “Who is the world’s best women’s mixed martial artist, regardless of weight class?

  1. Joanna doesnt do steroids. Cris Cyborg does. Joanna should be #1 lbs for lbs female fighter in the world.

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