Top 15 Female (MMA) Mixed Martial Artists

By Susan Dorling | 2020 Guide

MMA is singlehandedly responsible for changing the world of professional combat sports. Every year, we witness unbelievable feats of strength, agility, stamina, and flexibility. However, one of the most significant achievements of MMA is letting women take the ring in a traditionally male-dominated arena.

Today, many female MMA artists have become a global sensation, garnering almost as much audience as their male counterparts. These badass women aren’t just setting new records; they are breaking barriers and shattering stereotypes with every bout. These dames are fighting for something much bigger, something that goes beyond the belt.

And that is why they need to be appreciated and applauded for all they have done to make combat sports as inclusive as it should’ve been since the start. So, here we are with our tribute to some of the most formidable female MMA artists of all time.


1. Ronda Rousey

  • HEIGHT: 5.7 feet
  • WEIGHT: 135 pounds
  • REACH: 66 inches
  • CLASS: Bantamweight
  • COUNTRY: USA

In 2012, Ronda Rousey signed her contract as the first female UFC fighter. It was just a year after UFC President Dana White laughed at the idea of women in the Octagon. Rousey, also the first American to win an Olympic medal in Judo, changed the White’s mind and audience perception about women in combat sport.

After winning the first women UFC championship, she successfully defended her title six times in a row. No matter how many records anyone else creates or breaks, Rousey’s legacy makes her one of the most defining athletes in sports history. White himself believes her to be one of the finest fighters not just in women’s UFC, but in MMA on the whole.

All her achievements aside, Ronda Roused is an absolute badass with a charismatic personality, a brilliant mind, and a beautiful heart. Like most of her fans and followers, she believes that she can beat a male opponent – but she chooses not to, as she doesn’t want people to watch a man hitting a woman on TV. Her journey from UFC to Hollywood and WWE actually put women’s MMA on the map.

Rousey defeated most of her opponents with an armbar submission, often within seconds. With 12 wins and just 2 losses in her entire MMA career, Rousey retired in 2016 and got her UFC Hall of Fame in 2018.

2. Amanda Nunes

  •  HEIGHT: 5.8 feet 
  • WEIGHT: 145 pounds
  • REACH: 69 inches
  • CLASS: Featherweight
  • COUNTRY: Brazil

Amanda Nunes, the lioness of Brazil, made her mark when she won the career-ending match against Ronda Rousey at UFC 207. She has only gotten fiercer since then and created a legacy of her own. Holding the number 1 spot on UFC’s current pound-per-pound ranking, she is also the reigning champion in not one but two different UFC divisions – a record of its own. She simultaneously holds the bantamweight and featherweight championship titles.

Nunes, a jiu-jitsu black belt, is known for her ability to take her opponent down within seconds. Since her fight with Ronda Rousey, she has broken almost every record that exists in this sport. She has beaten every athlete to hold the women’s bantamweight title. With every match, Nunes pushes the women’s combat sport to another level. She is singlehandedly raising the bar to a point where women’s fight garners as much hype and attention as men’s competition.  

With incredible strength, brilliant technique, and tremendous control, Amanda Nunes has already become the GOAT of this game. Many believe that there isn’t much left for her to achieve in UFC, but Nunes doesn’t seem to be in a mood to retire anytime soon.

3. Cristiane Justino

Image Source: Wikipedia
  • HEIGHT: 5.8 feet
  • WEIGHT: 145 pounds
  • REACH: 68 inches
  • CLASS: Featherweight
  • COUNTRY: Brazil

Better known as the living legend Cris Cyborg, Justino may have left UFC, but not without a legacy. In her four-year run with UFC, she faced just one loss, that too at the hands of Amanda Nunes. The loss cost her featherweight championship and created reasons for her to leave UFC. She is currently under the contract of Bellator MMA, where she won the featherweight championship in early 2020.

Despite her falling out with UFC, Cris is considered one of the best female fighters of all time. She has dominated the ring for over a decade and started when there was no featherweight division in UFC. This eventually caused health issues for Cris, and many believe it to be the reason behind her loss to Nunes.

Cris is credited for defining what women’s MMA is all about. She is a powerhouse, and also one of the most feared opponent. Many even believe that UFC’s decision-makers deliberately kept Rousey away from Cris to keep up Rousey’s image as the fiercest fighter. Others think that it was Rousey herself who tried to avoid Cris. With a total of 22 wins and just two losses in her entire MMA career, Cris has beaten almost all the toughest competitors, including Holly Holm and Yana Kunitskaya.

4. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

Image Source: Wikipedia
  • HEIGHT: 5.6 feet
  • WEIGHT: 115 pounds
  • REACH: 65 inches
  • CLASS: Strawweight
  • COUNTRY: Poland

Earlier this year, we witnessed what will go down in history as one of the best MMA fights. At UFC 248, Zhang Weili may have managed to defend her title, but it’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk who won everyone’s attention and heart. She managed 186 significant strikes, the highest by any fighter in a loss. It was a narrow split decision, and Jedrzejczyk is already preparing for a rematch she promises to be even more memorable.

Jedrzejczyk’s UFC 248 performance didn’t just overshadow her opponent’s win; the entire match made the main event seem boring. And that isn’t the first time Jedrzejczyk pulled off such a remarkable performance. During her championship match in UFC 193, she set a record of 220 significant strikes as the highest in a UFC championship match. In the same match, she set a record of most leg kicks in a match.

Trained as a Muay Thai kickboxer, Jedrzejczyk was considered the queen of the strawweight division for years, defending it five times in a row. Her kickboxing training is evident in her fighting style as she lands a flurry of knees and punches on her opponents. Her sprawl-and-brawl strategy is one of the best we have seen so far in UFC. Owing to her speed and agility, many of her bouts seem one-sided to say the least.

 5. Valentina Shevchenko 

  • HEIGHT: 5.5 feet
  • WEIGHT: 125 pounds
  • REACH: 66 inches
  • CLASS: Flyweight
  • COUNTRY: Peru

Jedrzejczyk may be ahead of Valentina Shevchenko on our list, but she lost her flyweight championship to Shevchenko in the UFC 231. Hailing from Kyrgyzstan, Shevchenko managed to counter her opponent’s fast and precise attacks and finally won the match in the fifth round. This memorable bout is a fine example of why they call her the Bullet. Her speed and agility are almost matchless.

In her entire UFC career, Shevchenko has just two losses, both against Nunes. She is trained in Muay Thai and was already considered one of the best female fighters before joining the UFC roster. Besides that, she has a black belt in Judo, the influence of which is evident in her grappling and takedowns.

Shevchenko moved back to the flyweight division after losing to Nunes in bantamweight. However, she is considered way better than any of her competitors in this division.

6. Ayaka Hamasaki

Image Source: Sherdog
  • HEIGHT: 5.2 feet
  • WEIGHT: 108 pounds
  • REACH: N/A
  • CLASS: atomweight
  • COUNTRY: Japan

Hamasaki, a Japanese kickboxer and mixed martial artist, is a force to be reckoned with in the women’s atomweight division. She currently ranks at #2 with the highest quarterly ranking in the same division. With four out of her five previous match-ups being an astounding victory, she shows no sign of slowing down. Hamasaki currently has no intention to join UFC but instead wants to go back to Japan, where lightweight women combat is more popular.

 Ayaka Hamasaki made her MMA debut in October 2009. She has been on the Jewels, and Shooto MMA roster in Japan and later joined Invicta FC in the United States. Winning the first Jewels 115 Queen Tournament, Hamasaki made history as the first champion in the lightweight division.  

Her pro record to date is 20 wins, with three of her victories being KOs, nine submission wins, and eight decision wins. After 8-year judo practice, she stopped soon after finishing college but began training for MMA in around 2008. She was then introduced to Abe Ani Combat Club (AACC) by a friend, and she hasn’t looked back ever since.

7. Marloes Coenen

Image Source: Sherdog
  • HEIGHT: 5.9 feet
  • WEIGHT: 145 pounds
  • REACH: 67 inches
  • CLASS: Featherweight
  • COUNTRY: Netherlands

Before there was Rousey, there was ‘Rumina.’ Marloes Coenen made her MMA debut in November 2000 and managed to claim the 2000 ReMix World Cup. This was the first-ever women MMA event, which cements her legacy the first-ever female MMA champion in the world.

The now-retired Dutch mixed martial artist last competed in the Bellator 174 in the women’s featherweight division against Julia Bud. She may have lost, but she ended with her highest quarterly ranking at #1 for women’s bantamweight division. Her pro record to date is 23 wins, of which three of her victories were KOs, 17 were submissions, and three were decision wins.

Her association with MMA organizations includes Strikeforce, where she scored multiple victories, followed by Invicta FC, Dream, and Bellator MMA. She has had her training in jiu-jitsu along with her grandfather and brothers from a young age. She found herself drawn towards the sport due to her desire to be able to protect herself.  

8. Yuka Tsuji 

Image Source: Sherdog
  • HEIGHT: 5.1 feet
  • WEIGHT: 115 pounds
  • REACH: 66 inches
  • CLASS: Strawweight
  • COUNTRY: Japan

Better known as the Vale Tudo Queen, Yuka Tsuji is a now-retired Japanese mixed martial artist who competed in the women’s strawweight division with her last ranking at #8 and her highest quarterly ranking in the same division at #1. Winning thee of her previous five matches in the first round, her pro record to date is 24-3-0. 

Yuka Tsuji Hamasaki made her MMA debut in December 2001. She spent the majority of her career fighting for Smackgirl. In her debut with the Ax, she beat the previously undefeated Ikuma Hoshino, who was perhaps the most accomplished MMA fighter at the time. Tsuji stands responsible for Hoshino’s only defeat in her entire MMA career.

As a martial artist who relies on grappling for most of her career wins, Tsuji makes fair use of her wrestling training. She won the third place in Women’s Freestyle Wrestling in the 1997 Asian Championship.

9. Tara LaRosa

Image Source: Twitter
  • HEIGHT: 5.6 feet
  • WEIGHT: 121 pounds
  • REACH: 66 inches
  • CLASS: Flyweight
  • COUNTRY: United States

The veteran American mixed martial artist may have retired in 2015, but she remains one of the most well-known women athletes in combat sport. Her pro record to date is 22-5-0, with 4 of her victories being KOs, eleven being submission wins, and seven were decision wins. Despite her retirement, La Rosa still knows how to stay in the news.

Tara LaRosa made her MMA debut in April 2002 against Shelby Walker in HooknShoot. Using her judo skills, she got a full mount on Walker and landed enough punches for her opponent to tap out just 3 minutes into the fight. In addition to her BodogFight association, she also fought for Invicta FC and Pancrase. Tara was also one of the few fighters selected to be on The Ultimate Fighter, where her elimination was considered a major upset.

Her inspiration to compete in Judo in her early years came from her love of Chuck Norris and Steven Segal action films. And before her MMA, LaRosa competed in numerous grappling and Jiu-Jitsu competitions, including NAGA Grappling World Championships.

10. Megumi Fujii 

Image Source: Pinterest
  • HEIGHT: 5.3 feet
  • WEIGHT: 115 pounds
  • REACH: 63 inches
  • CLASS: Strawweight
  • COUNTRY: Japan

Nicknamed Mega Megu, Megumi Fujis has been fighting almost all her life. She started Judo training at the age of 3 and kept up the practice through high school through university. By the time she joined MMA in 2004, she already had a decade of combat experience. That is what makes her one of the finest female martial artists in the world.

Now retired, Mega Megu has a pro record of 26-3-0, of which 1 of her victories was KO, 19 were submissions and six being decision wins.

In her debut match, Megumi Fujis managed to defeat her challenger Yumi Matsumoto in just about 40 seconds. Furthermore, her wins over Ana Tavares, Misaki Takimoto, Masako Yoshida, and Keiko Tamai established Fuji as one of the world’s most dominant fighters. Mega Megu is seen as an inspiration for girls who wish to pursue an MMA career in Japan. Her story is one of the best stories ever told. 

11. Sarah Kaufman

Image Source: Sherdog
  • HEIGHT: 5.5 feet
  • WEIGHT: 135 pounds
  • REACH: 66 inches
  • CLASS: Bantamweight
  • COUNTRY: Canada

Sarah Kaufman is a dominant contender in the bantamweight division. Not only is she the Invictus bantamweight champion, but she is also the first Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion and the only Hardcore Championship bantamweight champion. Her pro record to date is 21-5-0.

You need only look at Sarah’s pro record to know she’s a fighter with a heavy hand. She has also competed for Professional Fighters League, Invicta, and Ultimate Fighting Championships.

Unlike other MMA queens, Kaufman started her journey from ballet. She continued dancing up to the point an MMA school opened up in the same building. She joined the school and obtained a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. 

12. Miesha Tate 

  • HEIGHT: 5.6 feet
  • WEIGHT: 135 pounds
  • REACH: 66 inches
  • CLASS: Bantamweight
  • COUNTRY: USA

Although her nickname ‘Cupcake’ sounds sweet and nice, Miesha is quite a brutal force in the Octagon. Now retired, Tate amassed an impressive 5 to 1 amateur record in MMA before going pro. She is a UFC legend as she was Rousey’s opponent in the first women’s UFC bout. 

Making her debut in November 2007, Miesha Tate is a former UFC women’s bantamweight champion. Known primarily for her grappling ability, she fought Marloes Coenen for Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion title. In this historic fight, Tate defeated Coenen via submission, the first of her opponent’s career.

Tate is known for her extensive database of knowledge in ground-based fighting arts, including jiu-jitsu, submission defense, and wrestling. Miesha grew up playing with boys and was also a part of a boy’s wrestling team in high school. Tate started her career with a one night at the HOOKnSHOOT Women’s Grand Prix. Tate later joined UFC and surprised everyone by beating the Olympic Medalist, McMann. 

13. Jennifer Howe

Image Source: Fightergirls
  • HEIGHT: 5.4 feet
  • WEIGHT: 135 pounds
  • REACH: 66 inches
  • CLASS: Bantamweight
  • COUNTRY: USA

Jennifer Howe, now retired, is known as one of the best female fighters in MMA. She may not be too well-known among recent fans, but she was once considered the queen of women’s combat sports. She ruled the ring during the early 2000s when she also earned the third rank in the National Golden Gloves. Howe was once known as the undefeated fighter due to her 12 consecutive wins. She ended most of her matches in the first round. It is said that many fighters of her time refused to face her. 

Howe has fought for HooknShoot, Extreme challenge, and IFC Caged Combat. As one of the top female fighters out there, Jennifer Howe was the only female member of the Team Extreme.

Her jiu-jitsu training shows in her fighting style, but she leans more towards attack instead of grappling as she has scored more KOs than submissions. Training with the likes of Justin Ellison, Steven Comm, and James Saccomano, Jennifer will remain one of the most formidable female fighters ever to grace the ring. 

14. Rose Namajunas

  • HEIGHT: 5.5 feet
  • WEIGHT: 115 pounds
  • REACH: 65 inches
  • CLASS: Strawweight
  • COUNTRY: USA

Better known as the Thug Rose amongst her fan and peers, Rose Namajunas is a top-standing strawweight fighter in UFC. ith her shaved head and a fierce stare, you can recognize this champion from afar. At one point, she held the UFC record for most submissions in any division.

Namajunas made her MMA debut in May of 2013 in the King of the Cage tournament and won all her fights. She soon began fighting for Invicta, where she won two of her four bouts by TKO. Her moment of glory arrived when she ended the long-standing winning streak of Joanna Jędrzejczyk, in just one round.

Still fighting strong, Namajunas began her Taekwondo training at the age of 5 and earned a junior black belt at nine years old. She continued her training for martial arts in her teens and trained for both karate and jiu-jitsu. She further expanded her horizons in the world of martial arts by training for kickboxing and wrestling. 

15. Weili Zhang 

Image Source: China Daily
  • HEIGHT: 5.4 feet
  • WEIGHT: 115 pounds
  • REACH: 63 inches
  • CLASS: Strawweight
  • COUNTRY: China

Weili Zhang is a Chinese mixed martial artist who competes in UFC women’s strawweight division. Hailed as the best fighter from China so far, Zhang has secured 21 victories in a row since her first loss. 

Weili Zhang, aka Magnum, made her MMA debut in September 2013. A fierce fighter who relies on speed and accuracy, she has rightfully earned her nickname. She is known for giving her best performance regardless of the outcome of the match. Her much-delayed, upcoming title defense against  Joanna Jędrzejczyk is one of the most anticipated bouts in the UFC women’s division.

Trained in Shaolin Kung Fu from a young age of 12, Magnum also trained in the Chinese variation of wrestling called Shuai Jiao. Later in her career, she also got her training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu to improve her grappling technique. Her transition to MMA came after this journey that has made her such a capable fighter. 

Now you know our list of top female MMA artists. We picked some legends and pioneers who paved way for women in this sport, but we also listed some of the most promising MMA artists we have today. There are numerous honorable mentions we wanted to be a part of our list such is Holly Holm, Juliana Penna, Michelle Waterson, and Cat Zingano to name a few. Let us know who you see as the top female MMA artists.

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