Most Popular and Successful Female MMA / UFC Fighters
Mixed Martial Arts is a popular sport for many reasons and one of the real plus points of divisions such as the UFC, Invicta and Bellator is the fact that they host both men’s and women’s bouts on the same bill.
In more than twenty years since the sport hit the mainstream we’ve seen some classic female fighters and it’s fair to say that MMA wouldn’t have been the same without them. The question as to who is the greatest of them all is up for some debate but to help you make up your mind, here are five of the best.
A firm favourite among followers of the UFC, Valentina Shevchenko is, at the time of writing, the current women’s lightweight champion of this division. Born in Kyrgyzstan in 1988, she is one of the most versatile fighters in history having established impressive pro records in boxing, Muay Thai and kickboxing.
After making her name in the Legacy Fighting Championship, the Valentina Shevchenko UFC career began at the end of 2015 with a win over Sarah Kaufmann. It was a successful start to life in the biggest division of all but in her first crack at a title bout, Shevchenko lost in a split, and controversial decision to Amanda Nunes.
She switched to the flyweight division and the Valentina Shevchenko next fight showed that she would be a UFC champion at this level. She would have to wait but in September 2018 she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk to take the vacant women’s ufc flyweight title. As the year came to a close. The Valentina Shevchenko UFC and overall fight record stood at 16 wins from 19 pro fights.
A long-standing rival of Valentina Shevchenko, Polish fighter Joanna Jedrzejczyk made her pro mma debut in 2012. Two years’ later, the Joanna Jedrzejczyk UFC career began and she’s become a popular figure with fight fans ever since.
Competing as a strawweight, the Pole recorded early victories over Juliana Lima and Claudia Gadelha at the end of 2014 and then, in the Joanna Jedrzejczyk next fight, she claimed her first ever UFC title by winning the strawweight championship in a battle against Carla Esparza.
The Polish fighter went on to make five successful title defences but, after losing her crown to Rose Namajunas, she has made the decision to step up to lightweight. 2018 ended with that defeat to Valentina Shevchenko but overall, the Joanna Jedrzejczyk UFC career is an impressive one. She ends the year with an overall record of 15 wins from 18 pro fights with four victories coming by knockout and one by submission.
She’s enjoyed a colourful and sometimes controversial career but the world of MMA will always pay close attention whenever the Cris Cyborg next fight is announced. Compared with some of the fighters on this list, she’s reaching the veteran stage of her career but we suspect there is more to come from this brilliant Brazilian.
In terms of the Cris Cyborg UFC career, she is set to end 2018 as the women’s featherweight champion while she also holds this title in two additional MMA organisations. Having made her name with Strikeforce and Invicta, she joined up with the UFC in 2015 and fans waited with anticipation for the Cyborg next fight on the bill.
A number of impressive wins followed before Cyborg claimed her first UFC championship with victory over Tonya Evinger. The lightweight belt was hers and in the Cris Cyborg next fight, she completed a successful defence with Holly Holm. Before 2018 comes to a close, Cyborg will fight Amanda Nunes and she will go into that December 29 battle with a record of 20 wins from 22 pro fights.
As we’ve seen, the Amanda Nunes next fight will be for that UFC lightweight belt as she takes on the reigning champion Cris Cyborg. Brazilian Nunes has an impressive record ahead of that bout but with 16 wins from 20 pro fights, she can’t quite match the defending champion.
Nunes still has a great future in the sport and is expected to be a UFC champion one day. She began with the Strikeforce organisation before moving to Invicta but her rise through the ranks was rapid and she made her UFC debut in April 2013 and marked the occasion with a win over Sheila Gaff.
The Nunes UFC next fight came with another victory, this time over Germaine de Randamie and she’s maintained a healthy ratio of wins to losses along the way. There have been some setbacks but she has been a bantamweight champion of the UFC division and her upcoming battle with Cyborg has the potential to be one of the best women’s MMA fights of all time.
While she may currently be competing in the world of professional wrestling, Ronda Rousey made her name with Mixed Martial Arts and for many of us, that’s where her true legacy lies. Rousey is a versatile athlete and first came into the public eye when she won a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Having retired from the sport, she pondered her next move and eventually plumped for the world of Mixed Martial Arts. Rousey started with Strikeforce but she was soon to be noticed by the best division and the first Ronda Rousey UFC fight came in 2013 and in a short space of time she became the first official women’s bantamweight champion.
She became renowned for winning fights quickly and there were early despatches of Sara McMann and Alexis Davis in title defences. Many felt that Rousey was in a class of her own and perhaps that’s why, as we look ahead to 2019, the Ronda Rousey next fight will fall under the auspices of the WWE. There’s still time to switch back however and the potential remains for Ronda Rousey to become the best female MMA fighter of all time.