Female fighting has grown dramatically over the last decade. We’ve seen talent from across the globe compete in women’s MMA in this period and I hope women continue to take on MMA as time progresses. Ever since the UFC introduced their women’s division in November 2012, female fighting has skyrocketed and we’ve seen some icons make names for themselves in the MMA. Today, I’ll rank those icons from 5 to 1 and give my take on who the greatest female fighter of all time is.
5) Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The number five spot was a tough decision for me as a lot of the fighters stake a claim for this spot and a few of them have all beaten each other in recent years and there’s no standout fighter of them all. Or, they haven’t been competing at the top for long enough for me to put them in this list just yet. So I’ve gone with JJ. JJ has a record of 16-4 and is a former Strawweight Champion. She had a terrific title run, in which she defended her belt 5 times before losing to Rose Namajunas in 2017. To be fair to the former champ, in most of her title fights she dominated, consistently setting records for the amount of significant strikes and leg kicks being landed in a fight. I think JJ would’ve been higher if it wasn’t for her two losses to Namajunas and her most recent loss to Zhang Weili. If she was able to recapture the belt, that definitely would’ve put her at number four or even higher on my list.
4) Ronda Rousey
Love her or hate her, you can’t deny the impact Rousey had in women’s MMA. She was the first woman to be signed to the UFC and probably the biggest star to ever come out of the UFC’s women’s divisions. I do think she was over-hyped. I remember Joe Rogan saying at one point she could beat the majority of the male 135lbs fighters, which is absolutely absurd. However, when she was in her prime, she was untouchable. She used to win fights in less than 20 seconds like it was nothing. She had 11 out of her 12 wins come by a 1st round finish and was completely dominant throughout her career, until she lost. When Holly Holm shocked the world by beating Rousey with one of the most iconic head kicks of all time, Rousey acted like a child and in her next fight against Amanda Nunes a year later, she got dispatched by the ‘Lioness’. I think the way Rousey left after her two losses drops her down this list for me. Also the level of competition from 2012-2015 was nowhere near the level of talent we have now and I think if Rousey was to continue fighting, she’d continue losing due to her poor standup game.
3) Valentina Shevchenko
The ‘Bullet’ comes in at number three for me and ever since moving to flyweight, she has simply been unstoppable. The fact that on Saturday in her decision win against Jennifer Maia when Valentina lost round 2 a lot of fans thought she was ‘pushed’ shows her talent, as if we’re being honest, she outclassed Maia in every other round. Shevchenko is good wherever the fight goes and her record 20-3 speaks for itself. Even that record, could be slightly debated as well. Because in the eyes of many fans, she won her rematch against Amanda Nunes. I’m still unsure as I can see why both women would’ve won the bout. I think if Shevchenko clears out the Flyweight division she could possibly go up to no.2 on my list but it’s tough to call as the top 2 are pretty solidified in their positions and just like Valentina they’re both still active.
2) Cris Cyborg
If I did this list a year or two ago, Cyborg would’ve been first but after her convincing loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 232, I think she’s got to go second. Cyborg’s striking is elite and after losing her first ever MMA bout, she never lost for 13 years in MMA. She dominated fights and seemed to be unstoppable as she’d rarely get touched by opposition and had 18 KO’s in her 23 wins. Since leaving the UFC over a year ago, Cyborg has moved to Bellator, where she already claimed their Women’s Featherweight Championship in her first fight against Julia Budd and has already defended it with a submission victory, which was the first of her 15 year career. One other thing that lets Cyborg down in her bid for being the ‘Greatest Female Fighter of all-time’ is her failed drugs test. I don’t want to go into too much detail about it as I’m pretty sure most fighters use Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s) but she just got caught. At the end of the day, Cyborg ranks second for me.
1) Amanda Nunes
On a current 11 fight winning streak, has beaten the three women placed under her on this list and is the first ever female UFC two division champion. Nunes is incredible. She’s nearly cleared out the Women’s Featherweight division. I believe she’s only got Megan Anderson to go before that occurs. She’s dominated the Bantamweight division for years and doesn’t seem like she’s losing anytime soon. There isn’t much more I can put forward for her. Just dominant and in my eyes the best female fighter of all time.