15 Greatest Female MMA Fighter of All Time

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a raw, hybrid full-contact cage sport incorporating techniques from many combat sports.

In 1997, the first official female MMA fight happened in the USA. Since the numbers of women have established their legacy and achieved incredible milestones.

However, it was 2009 Strikeforce’s main event fight between Cris Cyborg and Gina Carano that changed women’s MMA.

Amanda Nunes Vs Cris Cyborg
Who is the greatest female MMA fighter ever

Later, Ronda Rousey’s dominance in the UFC served as jet fuel that thrust women’s MMA into the mainstream.

15 Greatest Female MMA Fighter of All Time

In the past, it would be pointless to list out the 15 best female MMA fighters. But now, it has become a difficult task, thanks to the top MMA promotion franchise. 

Likewise, the rise of women in MMA has given birth to some legendary names in whole combat sports. 

So, without further a due, let’s rank out who is the greatest female MMA fighter to step up on the octagon. 

15. Angela Lee

  • Nickname: Unstoppable
  • Division: Strawweight
  • MMA Record: 10 wins/2 loss
  • Career: 2015-present

Angela Lee is a professional Canadian-American MMA fighter. At present, outside UFC, she is arguably the most highly touted female MMA fighter.

She has fought all of her professional fights for the Singapore-based MMA promotion One Championship.

Likewise, in 2015 Angela became the youngest fighter (19 years) in MMA history to win the MMA world title, defeating Mei Yamaguchi for One Women Atomweight title. 

After an impressive 9-0 run to her professional MMA career, she lost her first fight in 2019. 

However, she still holds the One Women Atomweight title and has already completed four title defenses. 

At present, she ranks 3rd in the female One Championship Women’s Strawweight division. 

14. Julia Budd

  • Nickname: The Jewel
  • Division: Bantamweight/Strawweight/Flyweight
  • MMA Record: 15 wins/3 loss
  • Career: 2010-present

Julia Budd is a Canadian professional MMA fighter and former kickboxer. Probably she is one of the best-underrated fighters in the MMA world.

Likewise, Julia has only lost three times in her professional career. That came in the hands of greats like Amanda Nunes, Ronda Rousey, and Chris Cyborg.

Over 10 years, she has competed in MMA promotion companies like Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and Bellator MMA.

Moreover, on 3rd March 2017, at Bellator 174, she became the first Bellator Women’s Featherweight champion after defeating Marloes Coenen. 

Currently, she is ranked 1 in women’s featherweight and 4th in women’s pound for pound in Bellator Women’s ranking. 

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13. Zhang Weili

  • Nickname: Magnum
  • Division: Strawweight
  • MMA Record: 23 wins/2 loss
  • Career: 2013-present

Zhang Weili is a professional Chinese MMA fighter. After an amazing 16-1 record across China and  South Korea, she instantly impressed everyone in UFC. 

Moreover, in 2019 she became the first Chinese champion in UFC history after defeating Jessica Andrade by TKO in 42 seconds to win the UFC women’s strawweight title.

Zheng Weili
Zheng Weili at UFC 235 pressconference

Later, in her title defense, Weili defeated former world champion Jonna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 248. 

At present, she is the number 1 fighter in the women’s strawweight division and 4th in women’s pound or pound fighter in UFC. 

12. Claudia Gadelha

  • Nickname: Claudinha
  • Division: Strawweight
  • MMA Record: 23 wins/8 loss
  • Career: 2008-present

Claudia Gadelha is a Brazilian professional MMA fighter. She currently fights in UFC but started her MMA career in Invicta FC. 

She made her UFC debut in 2013 at The Ultimate Fighter season 20. Later, she went to become the first UFC strawweight champion. 

In the same year, she also claimed Fan Favorite Fighter of the Year. Currently, she is ranked 8th in the strawweight division. 

11. Jessica Andrade

  • Nickname: Bate Estaca
  • Division: Bantamweight/Strawweight/Flyweight
  • MMA Record: 21 wins/9 loss
  • Career: 2011-present

Jessica Andrade is a Brazilian MMA fighter currently competing n UFC. She is the first UFC female fighter to compete in 3 different weight classes.

Jessica fought in bantamweight for the first two years, later moving to strawweight. Later since 2020, she started fighting in the flyweight.

In Octagen, she has won a majority of her fights with knockouts and submission. Moreover, she holds a record for most knockouts (3) in the female strawweight division. 

Jessica defeated Rose Namajunas by KO at UFC 237 main event on 11th May 2019 to win her only UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship

Currently, she ranks 1st in the female flyweight division and 6th in the UFC pound for pound ranking in the female category. 

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10. Holly Holm

  • Nickname: The Preacher’s Daughter
  • Division: Bantamweight/ Featherweight
  • MMA Record: 14 wins/ 5 loss
  • Career: 2011-present

Holly Holm is an American professional MMA fighter currently competing in UFC. She also had an incredible boxing career defending her world title 18 times. 

She is cited as the best professional female boxer ever by BoxRec. Moreover, Holm is the first and the only fighter in history to win both boxing and UFC title.

UFC 193: Rousey vs Holm
Holly Holm, after defeating Ronda Rousey.

Likewise, her breakout moment in UFC came on 15th November 2015 at UFC 193 in front of a record 56,215 audience in Melbourne when she TKO Ronda Rousey. 

She became the bantamweight champion and the first fighter to defeat Rousey. However, Holm lost her first title fight to Miesha Tate. 

Currently, she is ranked 8th in the UFC pound for pound in the UFC female ranking. 

9. Marloes Coenen

  • Nickname: Female Rickson Rumina
  • Division: Featherweight/Bantamweight
  • MMA Record: 23 wins/8 loss
  • Career: 2000-2017

Marloes Coenen is a retired professional Dutch MMA fighter. Moreover, she is considered as O.G of female MMA.

In her 17 years as a pro, she competed in different MMA promotions, including Strikeforce, Invicta FC, and Bellator MMA.

In 2000, Marloes debuted in MMA at 19, recording 8 consecutive victories to win ReMix World Cup. 

Following her championship victory, she became the first female MMA champion. Later, in 2010 she also won Strike Women Bantamweight champion.

Coenen was well known for her grappling skills and won her 17 professional wins by submission. 

8. Rose Namajunas

  • Nickname: Thug
  • Division: Strawweight
  • MMA Record: 10 wins/4 loss
  • Career: 2010-present

Rose Namajunas is an American professional MMA fighter. She made her professional MMA debut in Invicta FC after an undefeated amateur career. 

Later, in 2013 she was called up by UFC to compete in The Ultimate Fighter. Unfortunately, in the reality TV show, she lost in the final. 

The best moment of her career came in 2017 when she defeated Jona Jedrzejczyk to clinch the UFC Women’s Strawweight title. Likewise, in her first title defense, she again defeated Jedrzejczyk. 

Later, after her defeat to Jessica Andrade, she reclaimed the strawweight title after defeating Zhang Weili by KO.

Moreover, Namajunas is the first female in UFC to retain her championship title after losing it. 

Currently, she is ranked 3rd in women’s pound-for-pound fighter in UFC Women’s ranking.

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7. Miesha Tate

  • Nickname: Cupcake
  • Division: Bantamweight
  • MMA Record: 18 wins/7 loss
  • Career: 2007-2016/2021- present

Miesha Tate is an American professional MMA fighter. She retired in 2016 but returned to UFC again in 2021.

She is well known as the number 1 rival of Ronda Rousey, creating one of the greatest rivalries in UFC history.

Moreover, she is the first female fighter to drag Rousey to UFC history’s second and third rounds. 

Meisha Tate
Meisha Tate at UFC 205 press conference

Tate has a somehow complex legacy. Although she held bantamweight title in both UFC and Strike Force, Meisha never defended either one. 

Her final victory before her first retirement came on 5th March 2016 at UFC 196 when she defeated Holly Holm for UFC Women’s bantamweight championship. 

6. Valentina Shevchenko

  • Nickname: Bullet
  • Division: Bantamweight/ Flyweight
  • MMA Record: 21 wins/ 3 loss
  • Career: 2008- present

Valentina Shevchenko is a professional Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian MMA fighter and former Muay Thai fighter. 

She is also considered one of the best Muay Thai fighters ever, having multiple world titles to her name.

Shevchenko made her professional MMA debut at the age of 15. Later in 2014, she signed for UFC. Moreover, her two defeats in UFC have come against Amanda Nunes. 

Currently, she is UFC women’s flyweight champion and has not lost after moving to the division. 

After winning the title fight against Jonna Jedrzejczyk on 20th September 2018, she has successfully defended her title 5 times. 

Furthermore, Shevchenko holds the record for most successive wins (7) in UFC women’s flyweight division. 

According to UFC women’s ranking, she is 2nd best pound-for-pound fighter. 

5. Megumi Fuji

  • Nickname: Mega Megu
  • Division: Strawweight
  • MMA Record: 26 wins/3 loss
  • Career: 2004-2013

Megumi Fuji would definitely get a spot in women’s MMA Mount Rushmore if there were one.

Across MMA promotions like Shooto, Jewels, Smackgirl, and Bellator terrorized her opponent with her grappling strength and toughness. 

During Fuji’s professional MMA career, she had an impressive 22 fight winning streak before her first defeat at 36.

Later, she vanished like a ghost and has not fought since 2013 in the cage. Currently, Fuji is 44 years old, so an MMA return looks unlikely. 

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4. Joanna Jedrzejczyk

  • Nickname: JJ
  • Division: Strawweight/Flyweight
  • MMA Record: 20 wins/4 loss
  • Career: 2012-present

Joanna Jedrzejczyk is a Polish professional MMA fighter and also a former Muay Thai fighter.

Before making her UFC debut, she was a 5-time muay Thai world champion. 

Later, within one year of her UFC debut, she claimed the UFC Strawweight title on 14th March 2015 at UFC 185 after defeating Carla Esparza

Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Joanna Jedrzejczyk, after retaining her title at UFC 205

She successfully defended her title 5 times before losing to Rose Namajunas in 2017.  Furthermore, Jedrzejczyk has many impressive records of her name.

She holds the record for most victory in UFC women’s strawweight (10) and most title matches in any  UFC women’s weight class.

Likewise, Rose ranks 2nd in women’s strawweight and 5th in women’s pound for pound per UFC women’s ranking.

3. Ronda Rousey

  • Nickname: Rowdy
  • Division: Bantamweight/Featherweight
  • MMA Record: 12 wins/2 loss
  • Career: 2010-2016

Ronda Rousey is an American former professional MMA fighter and wrestler. In 2015, ESPN ranked her as the best female athlete ever. 

The legacy of Rousey is unprecedented. She is the first woman to hold UFC and WWE world champion.

Furthermore, she is the first female UFC fighter, UFC champion, and UFC Hall of Fame Inductee. Previously, she also held Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title.

Before her shocking loss to Holly Holm in 2015, Rousey was on 10 fights winning streak. Moreover, she won most of her fights in less than 1 minute. 

Likewise, her 6 consecutive title fights rank longest in UFC history. Similarly, she holds a record for most title defenses by women. 

Rousey’s resume speaks of her greatness. Thanks to her, women in combat sports are booming like never before. 

2. Amanda Nunes

  • Nickname: Lioness
  • Division: Bantamweight/Featherweight
  • MMA Record: 21 wins/4 loss
  • Career: 2008-present

Amanda Nunes is a Brazilian professional MMA fighter. At present, she is the dominant force in MMA, ranking 1 in the UFC pound for pound women’s ranking.

Nunes is the holder of both UFC Women’s bantamweight and featherweight championships. Moreover, she is the first one in UFC history to achieve that milestone. 

Likewise, she holds the most wins in UFC (14) and title fights (9). Similarly, she has the most successive wins in UFC among females with 12. 

Furthermore, Nunes holds the longest UFC title reign in UFC history, holding a bantamweight title since 2016. 

By the time her career ends, she might even sit on the throne of the greatest female Mixed Martial Artist of all time. 

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Cris Cyborg

  • Nickname: Cyborg
  • Division: Featherweight
  • MMA Record: 24 wins/2 loss/1 No-contest
  • Career: 2005-present

Cris Cyborg is Brazilian-American professional MMA fighter. Since losing on her professional debut, Cyborg transformed herself into a beast.

Likewise, Cris went undefeated for 20 fights before losing to Amanda Nunes in 2018.

As of 2021, she ranks number 1 in the pound for pound ranking among Bellator women.

Cris Cyborg strong left hand punch over Holly Holm at UFC 219
Cris Cyborg strong left-hand punch over Holly Holm at UFC 219

Furthermore, Cyborg is the first fighter in MMA history to become a grand slam champion holding a world title across four different promotional franchises; Strikeforce, Invicta, UFC, and Bellator.

Although people may question her doping incident, she is still the greatest fighting machine for the octagon. 

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