Women's MMA genesis, much like it's male counterpart, has deep roots in the Japanese pro-wrestling scene.
Ladies Legend Pro Wrestling brought women's MMA to the masses when it held it's first Ultimate L-1 Challenge tournament in 1995. In this "shoot-fighting" tourney, the first woman to rule the ring was Russian Olympic judoka Svetlana Goundarenko.
Weighing in at over 300 pounds, Goundarenko dominated the competition with her sheer size and submission skills.
After the Ultimate L-1 Challenge folded, Goundarenko's would go on to compete at the ReMix World Cup 2000. After back-to-back submission wins in the opening rounds, Goudarenko would ultimately lose a lopsided decision in a David and Goliath type battle against 132 lb. Megumi Yabushita.
Goudarenko's size, which had aided her in her first few bouts, ended up costing her the match against Yabushita as Goudarenko gassed badly in the second round.
With a career record of 6-2, Goudarenko was one of the first women to rule the sport and also helped to pioneer the heavier women's divisions.