Getting to Know All 11 Women Signed so Far to the UFC
The UFC kicked off their women's division with the first-ever championship bout at UFC 157.
Ronda Rousey continued her streak of first-round armbars by submitting Liz Carmouche in the evening's main event. The event was covered from bell to bell, and the crowd was on fire, showing the women can draw.
Here is your introduction to the newly minted UFC women's bantamweight division.
UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion: Ronda Rousey
Previous Bout: UFC 157 - Defeated Liz Carmouche by first-round armbar
Ronda Rousey is the reason the women are in the UFC. She is a legitimate star who has transcended the sport. Rousey is a superior athlete, and she continues to develop an all-around game for mixed martial arts.
Rousey has dominated everyone prior to her first UFC bout, but Liz Carmouche did not give her an easy out in the first women's UFC bout. Rousey still ended the fight by first-round armbar.
It is undecided who will challenge Rousey in her next title defense, but it does not look like her reign will be stopped anytime soon.
Previous Bout: UFC 157 - Lost to Ronda Rousey via first-round armbar
Liz Carmouche was chosen as the first opponent for Ronda Rousey, and she showed why in the exciting main event at UFC 157. Carmouche narrowly missed sinking in a rear-naked choke that would have shocked the world.
Carmouche became the first openly gay fighter to headline a UFC show. A historic moment for the company and the sport.
Her performance helped validate the UFC's decision to bring the women's division in to the fold. She showed that the division may not be a one-woman show, and that Rousey is susceptible to an upset. The former Marine earned many new fans with her showing, and her return to the cage is eagerly anticipated.
Previous Bout: Invicta FC 4 - Defeated Shayna Baszler via third-round submission
Meet the third-ranked fighter in the division: Alexis Davis.
Davis is a submission guru, and recently submitted two submission-savvy opponents in Invicta. Hitomi Akano and Shayna Baszler both succumbed to Davis' superior grappling.
In early 2012, Davis dropped a majority decision to Sarah Kaufman, but she nearly stopped the fight in the third and final round. Kaufman is her only defeat in the past two and a half years.
Davis is campaigning for a fight with Rousey, and that could be an interesting fight with her submission skills. Time will tell if her social-media trash talk will lead to a title fight in 2013.
Up at 5:30 training Jiu-Jitsu with Rousey on my mind!!— Alexis Davis (@AlexisDavisMMA) March 1, 2013
Upcoming Bout: UFC 159 vs. Sara McMann
Sheila Gaff is the latest signee to the division. She is currently ranked at No. 2 at flyweight on the Unified Women's MMA Rankings at MMARising.com.
While she is a natural flyweight, Gaff could not pass up the opportunity to be a part of the UFC's roster.
Gaff has won three in a row, including a TKO win over Aisling Daly, and now she will face one of the top prospects at bantamweight in Sara McMann.
It will be interesting to see how she does at bantamweight against one of the strongest women in the division. If she can be successful at UFC 159, it will open the door for other flyweights wanting to make the move to the UFC.
Upcoming Bout: Invicta FC 5 vs. Leslie Smith
Sarah Kaufman is a former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion, but she lost the title to Marloes Coenen in 2010.
Kaufman remains No. 2 on the Unified Women's MMA Rankings in spite of her most recent defeat to Ronda Rousey. The championship tilt only lasted 54 seconds.
She is a good striker with power. Her list of conquests is impressive. Alexis Davis, Miesha Tate, Sarah Schneider, Shayna Baszler and Liz Carmouche are just some of the names on her win column.
She will compete on the next Invicta card, but she is signed to the UFC. She will make her debut later this year, and should not be too far out from another crack at the championship.
Previous Bout: Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman - Lost to Miesha Tate by armbar in the third round
Julie Kedzie is one of the pioneers of women's MMA, but she remains a competitive and exciting fighter in the division.
Kedzie nearly knocked Miesha Tate out in their previous outing, but she made one mistake that led to an armbar late in the fight. Kedzie is 3-3 since 2010.
It will be nice to see Kedzie make her UFC debut after helping the division along for many years.
The Jackson's MMA product is always exciting, and her UFC debut should be fun.
Upcoming Bout: UFC 159 vs. Sheila Gaff
Ronda Rousey is not the only Olympic medalist in the division. Sara McMann is the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in freestyle wrestling.
McMann has taken a slower road than Rousey, but she remains one of the elite of the division. Her most recent bout took place in Invicta, when she defeated submission ace Shayna Baszler by unanimous decision.
As she continues to improve, she becomes an interesting match-up for Rousey. How would the champion deal with McMann's wrestling and strength? We may find out sooner rather than later.
Upcoming Bout: Invicta FC 5 vs. Kaitlin Young
Amanda Nunes is currently signed to the UFC, but will stop by Invicta for her third fight with the promotion. She is 1-1 in the all-women's promotion.
Nunes defeated Raquel Pa'aluhi via submission, but lost a decision to Sarah D'Alelio at Invicta FC 4.
It will be interesting to see how the UFC handles her contract should she lose once again outside of a Zuffa-controlled organization. It is entirely possible that she gets cut before making her UFC debut. That has to be in the back of her mind as she takes on Kaitlin Young.
Nunes is an exciting fighter. Her loss to D'Alelio was the first time any of her bouts have gone to a decision. She is a finisher, and that is welcome in the division. If she gets past Young, we will see her in the Octagon later in 2013.
Germaine de Randamie
Previous Bout: Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman - Defeated Hiroko Yamanaka by unanimous decision
Germaine de Randamie is the sixth-ranked featherweight in the world, but she will need to cut back down to bantamweight.
De Randamie is a good striker that has some grappling deficiencies. She does not have a scheduled bout thus far, but the biggest question will be with the weight cut.
How will she handle the cut back to bantamweight? She should not have any issue, but we've seen this be a problem with fighters in the past.
She compiled a 37-0 kickboxing record. Bantamweight is a grappling-heavy division, but if they are caught by a clean strike from De Randamie, she can knock out anyone.
Upcoming Bout: The Ultimate Fighter Finale vs. Cat Zingano
Miesha Tate is the former Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion, and she lost her crown to current champion Ronda Rousey in an epic clash in March 2012.
Tate is a wrestler at heart, but she is a well-rounded fighter.
Her most recent bout, against Julie Kedzie, stole the show at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman. She survived a near knockout to submit her via armbar in the third round.
Tate and Zingano may be battling for the next title shot when they meet at The Ultimate Fighter Finale. At the UFC 157 post-fight press conference Dana White said, "that would make sense." A rematch with her rival would surely create significant buzz.
Upcoming Fight: The Ultimate Fighter Finale vs. Miesha Tate
Cat Zingano brings her undefeated record in to the Octagon in an important divisional bout at the latest The Ultimate Fighter Finale.
In Zingano's seven-fight run, she has defeated quality fighters such as Barb Honchak, Carina Damm and Raquel Pennington.
She is currently ranked ninth in the Unified Women's MMA Rankings.
The top prospect will have a chance to make a name for herself under the UFC banner. This is a prime opportunity for the casual fan to get introduced to one of the sport's best prospects.