The Beaten Path: 10 Female BW and SW Prospects the UFC Should Sign

Riley Kontek@@BigRIlesMMAFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2014

The Beaten Path: 10 Female BW and SW Prospects the UFC Should Sign

0 of 10

    Felipe Dana

    The finish line has been crossed. The "Prospects the UFC Should Sign" series is coming to a close. We left off with the flyweights, but now it's time for a whole new gender.

    The women of MMA have attained more spotlight recently due to their inclusion in the UFC. Stars like Ronda Rousey have carved a path for the 135ers, and the 115ers are quick to follow into the company thanks to The Ultimate Fighter 20.

    The women's roster of the UFC could use some extra faces at this point, as depth is the key to creating a more interesting division. There are plenty of women who can fit the bill, despite WMMA being in sort of a post-embryonic stage.

    So, we picked out five bantamweights and five strawweights whom the UFC needs to snag to cushion its new divisions. Here are those 10 ladies, with the prospect label being a little more lax in this countdown.

    Note: This is the first year that female fighters have been included in the series, so there is no history to cover in this installment.

Aisling Daly

1 of 10

    Weight Class: Strawweight

    Record: 14-5

    Last Fight: Submission win vs. Karla Benitez

    Ireland's Aisling Daly has been around the block a few times. That's why she is a great candidate to join the UFC and deepen the new strawweight division.

    She is a well-rounded fighter with tight boxing and a good grappling game. Her submissions are rarely mentioned despite half of her wins coming via tapout. Plus, she has only has two decision wins, which shows she's a finisher.

    The UFC is heading to Ireland this year, and it would be a great opportunity to showcase the underrated Irish talent. Daly is a gritty veteran who could add depth to that card.

Agnieszka Niedzwiedz

2 of 10

    Weight Class: Bantamweight

    Record: 5-0

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Kerry Hughes

    One of three 19-year-olds on this countdown, Poland's Agnieszka Niedzwiedz has a bright future on her hands. She is still in her teens, yet she is already an undefeated pro MMA fighter who debuted in late 2012.

    She is a ground fighter with a heavy top game and impressive submission ability. She enjoys throwing heavy punches from top position, punishing opponents whose takedown defense isn't up to par.

    Her latest win over Kerry Hughes in Cage Warriors boosted her status. Her best days are ahead of her, and she would be a welcome addition to the UFC if the promotion travels to Poland.

Justine Kish

3 of 10

    Weight Class: Strawweight

    Record: 4-0

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Randa Markos

    As mentioned throughout this series, the RFA organization is the unofficial feeder system of the UFC and has provided the company with solid talent. That means that Justine Kish could be a shoo-in to make it to the UFC in the near future.

    She is a muay thai practitioner who came into 2013 with just one fight, which took place in 2010. She started to get busier, though, as she already has three fights in the last half year—all wins.

    The Blackhouse product combines technical striking with excellent clinch work. She has even added some submissions to her game, which make her an all-around threat wherever the fight goes. 

    Her win over Randa Markos in her last fight was huge. It could have been an audition for bigger things, as Kish now seems bound for a fruitful UFC tenure.

Pannie Kianzad

4 of 10

    Weight Class: Bantamweight

    Record: 4-0

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Milana Dudieva

    Pannie Kianzad is a featherweight who is making test cuts to 135 pounds. Should she successfully make it to 135, she would be a great candidate to occupy a spot in the UFC women's bantamweight division.

    She is a strong, well-rounded fighter who has yet to have a blemish on her record. Her most recent win was the biggest of her career, as she beat Milana Dudieva in a 140-pound catchweight bout. It was a lower-weight fight for her as she cuts down to 135.

    The UFC has a firm foothold in Sweden and should continue nabbing the best prospects in the country. Kianzad would be a great signing from a talent aspect and a historic first female Swede in the company.

Stephanie Eggink

5 of 10

    Weight Class: Strawweight

    Record: 4-1

    Last Fight: Submission win vs. Angela Magana

    Already a champion in the reputable XFC organization, Stephanie Eggink is a name to look out for in the world of WMMA.

    She is a former boxer who has greatly improved her ground game with the Gracie gym and women like Shayna Baszler. She showed off her new ground skills against Angela Magana in her last fight, where she won the XFC title with a picture-perfect triangle choke.

    With her well-rounded skill set, I can see her being a threat in the UFC when the 115ers start occupying the new division. Her mixture of technical striking and improved ground work make her a threat wherever the fight goes.

Leslie Smith

6 of 10

    Weight Class: Bantamweight

    Record: 6-4-1

    Last Fight: Decision loss vs. Barb Honchak

    Leslie Smith is currently a flyweight with Invicta FC, but she used to be a bantamweight who competed against some of the best in the world.

    She is a striker with a fun style and contagious personality. She has never been in a dull fight, with notable throwdowns against Sarah Kaufman, Barb Honchak and Kaitlin Young.

    She would be a great, entertaining fighter who would deepen the bantamweight division. She has the type of style that would put a grin on Dana White's face, and she would be competitive with the division's best.

Kalindra Faria

7 of 10

    Weight Class: Strawweight

    Record: 14-3-1

    Last Fight: Knockout win vs. Laura Balin

    Kalindra Faria was a top female flyweight until last month. Now, she is a top female strawweight who could be headed to the UFC sooner than later.

    She is 27 years old and has been a buzzsaw on the Brazilian circuit. While she is a powerful striker on the feet, her ground game of nasty ground-and-pound and submissions has overwhelmed her opposition.

    She is on a 10-fight win streak, with two strawweight wins in March 2014. That type of resume should catch the eye of Sean Shelby and earn her a contract with the UFC.

Larissa Pacheco

8 of 10

    Weight Class: Bantamweight

    Record: 9-0

    Last Fight: Knockout win vs. Irene Aldana

    Women's MMA is still in the early stages of development but definitely has a bright future. The same can be said about 19-year-old Brazilian Larissa Pacheco, who could be waving the UFC flag in the near future.

    She is a power puncher with good technique and nasty stopping power. She won her biggest test in her last outing, trampling respected Mexican striker Irene Aldana in impressive fashion.

    She also has great submission ability, which allows her to be versatile. She can be a great asset to the company and the women's bantamweight future in the UFC.

Mizuki Inoue

9 of 10

    Weight Class: Strawweight

    Record: 7-2

    Last Fight: Disqualification loss vs. Emi Tomimatsu

    When thinking about prospects, age is one thing we always consider. The younger the fighter, the more apt we are to call her a prospect. Mizuki Inoue is just 19 years old and is possibly one of the best prospects in women's MMA.

    She is a well-rounded fighter, as she has a great grappling base and refined boxing skills. She is currently with the Deep Jewels promotion and cannot get out of her contract, but once she honors her commitment, you can bet the UFC will be looking to snag her.

    Her best years are ahead of her, and that's a scary thought. Imagine her in five years when she's even better. She could be a champion.

Rin Nakai

10 of 10

    Weight Class: Bantamweight

    Record: 15-0-1

    Last Fight: Decision win vs. Tara LaRosa

    Japan has an excellent bantamweight star in Rin Nakai, who is under contract with Pancrase. Should she ride out that contract and become available, the UFC needs to grab her and put her in its women's 135-pound division.

    She is a wrestler with an extremely heavy top game and the physical strength to hold people down. She is an armlock specialist who loves using the kimura and armbar when on top, which she has used to beat numerous opponents.

    She is a definite beast at 135 and could become a title challenger quickly. The UFC will be in Japan in the near future, and she would be a wonderful addition to that potential card.