Power Ranking the 8 Best Women's Mixed Martial Artists of All Time
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Over the past decade, women's MMA has come a long way—from a sport that was frowned upon by the fight community to finally being embraced and featured on Pay-Per-View cards.
Women's mixed martial arts still has a long way to go before it is on the same level as men's MMA, but females everywhere should be pleased and happy at the state of the sport. There are many women who have helped female fighters get to where they are today; some are widely known by the fight community and others remain relatively anonymous.
The fighters of today and those of the future have the opportunity to step into the cage because of fighters from the past. Today's ambassadors of the sport are giving women's MMA a positive image.
The eight women on this list are some of the best in the sport and have created a wider acceptance for female fighters. These women have already carved a name for themselves as some of the best in MMA and will continue to help the sport grow and develop into what it can be in the future.
8: Gina Carano "The Face of Women's MMA"
Gina fought in the first televised female fight.
Gina Carano was once considered the face of women's MMA, and rightly so.
Her good looks and talent in the ring helped women's MMA hit the mainstream market. Even though she hasn't fought since her loss to Cyborg, she is still considered one of the best female fighters ever. She was supposed to make a return to the cage in 2011, but a medical issue caused her to withdraw. It is unclear if she will ever return to fighting.
She will be featured in the upcoming movie Haywire.
7: Tara LaRosa "Paving the Way for Women's MMA Since 2002"
LaRosa is a true role model for female fighters.
Tara LaRosa is one of the original female fighters in the sport, fighting since 2002. She has fought a who's-who list of women including Roxanna Modafferi, Hitomi Akano, Julie Kedzie, Shayna Baszler, Kelly Kobold, and she even submitted black belt Carina Damm.
Despite winning championships and beating quality fighters, LaRosa has yet to make it to the Bellator or Strikeforce scene. She is a solid fighter who paved the way for the current and future stars of women's MMA, thus earning her a spot on the list.
Record: 20 - 2
UCW Women's Bantamweight Champion
BodogFight Women's Bantamweight Champion
DaMMAge Fight League Women's 125 lbs Champion
Purple Belt in BJJ
6: Zoila Gurgel "First Bellator Women's Champion"
Zoila "Warrior Princess" Gurgel (formerly Frausto)
Zoila Gurgel is a tough female fighter whose only loss comes from the current Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champ, Miesha Tate.
Since her loss, Gurgel has dominated the Bellator scene, defeating Rosi Sexton, Jessica Aguilar, and Megumi Fujii (for the Bellator Tournament Championship). She was scheduled to fight again at Bellator 57, but had to withdraw because of a torn ACL.
There is no doubt that when she steps back into the cage, she will continue to dominate and move up in the ranks.
Bellator Women's 115 lb Champ
Bellator Women's 115 lb Tournament Winner
Black Belt in Taekwondo
White Belt in BJJ
5: Miesha Tate "Current Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champ"
Miesha "Takedown" Tate
Miesha Tate has been kicking butt since high school when she participated on the boys wrestling team and eventually won the Women's State Championship and World Team Trials. She then took her wrestling experience and transitioned to MMA where she has been making a name for herself.
Tate is a top level female fighter who has held numerous titles, won some pretty prestigious grappling events, and beat down some quality fighters. She is a force to be reckoned with and it's evident why she is the current Strikeforce champ.
Strikeforce Bantamweight Champ
Strikeforce Bantamweight Tournament Champ
Freestyle Cage Fighting Women's Bantamweight Champ
FILA USA World Team Trials Women's Senior Gi Winner
4: Sarah Kaufman "First Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champ"
When compiling a list of the top female fighters, you can't overlook Canadian striking-sensation Sarah Kaufman.
She has beaten some of the best including Liz Carmouche, Shayna Baszler, Miesha Tate, and Roxanne Modafferi (via KO slam). She is one tough chick who has a good chance of stepping into the cage with Ronda Rousey in the near future.
In 2010, Kaufman became Strikeforce's first Women's Bantamweight Champ. However, she lost it two fights later. Despite this fact, she has continued to be a top contender in the division.
Hardcore Championship Fighting Women's Bantamweight Champion
Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight (135 lbs) Champion
Brown Belt in BJJ
3: Ronda Rousey "The Future of Women's MMA"
"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey
This girl has taken the entire women's mixed martial arts scene by storm, most recently snapping Julia Budd's arm in their November 18th fight on Strikeforce.
Out of all seven fights, both amateur and professional, Rousey's total ring time adds up to roughly four minutes and two seconds. This Olympic Judo Bronze Medalist is on a fast track toward earning a title shot and will be dropping down to 135 for her next fight.
All wins via armbar
4th Degree Judo Black Belt
Olympic Judo Bronze Medalist
World Judo Championships Silver Medalist
Pan American Games Gold Medalist
2-time Gold, 1-time Silver Pan American Judo Championship
2: Megumi Fujii "Began Her Career with 22 Consecutive Victories"
Megumi "Mega Megu" Fujii
Who says good things don't come in small packages? Weighing only 113 pounds, Megumi Fujii is a force to be reckoned with, beginning her career on a 22-fight win streak. She has beaten some of the best of the best, amassed 18 submission victories, and was the runner up of the inaugural Bellator Women's Tournament.
18 submissions (11 via armbar)
Began career with 22 consecutive victories (only 2nd fighter to do so)
Black Belt in BJJ & Judo
Japanese National Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion
Two-time BJJ Pan-Am Champion
Five-time Second Place at the World Sambo Championships
1: Cris "Cyborg" Santos "Best Pound for Pound and Most Dominant Woman, Period"
You don't want to see this woman standing across the cage from you.
Cris "Cyborg" Santos
If you follow women's MMA, then you have probably heard of "Cyborg".
She is such a dominant female fighter that Strikeforce cant even find opponents for her. This pound-for-pound top female fighter will be dropping down to the women's bantamweight division since Strikeforce is eliminating the featherweight division.
She goes to show just what a female fighter can do with hard work and dedication.
Purple belt in BJJ
2011 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship Gold Medalist (74+kg Purple)
2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship Bronze Medalist (60+kg)
Three-time Strikeforce Women's Featherweight (145 lb) Championship
2009 and 2010 Female Fighter of the Year