25 Best UFC Women Fighters of All-Time

25 Best UFC Women Fighters of All-Time

Women have only been fighting in the UFC since 2012, but the best UFC women fighters of all time made the most of the opportunities they were given – despite the sport being dominated by men for over two decades. They defied the odds and ushered in a generation of new fighters.

The first female MMA fight occurred in 1997 when Becky Levi defeated Betty Fagan. Over 12 years later, Strikeforce became the first major promotion to host a female MMA fight and Invicta Fighting Championships became the first major women’s pro-MMA organization in 2012. 

While the UFC got its start in 1993 and experienced massive growth through the early 2000s, it took Dana White quite a while to open up to the possibility of women fighting in the UFC. He finally folded when he signed Ronda Rousey in November 2012 and the rest is history. 

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Who Are the Best UFC Women Fighters of All-Time?

25 Best UFC Women Fighters of All-Time
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Since the signing of Ronda Rousey, women have risen to prominence in a promotion once dominated exclusively by men. While she was the first female star in UFC, she wasn’t the only female star and she doesn’t even rank at the top of the best UFC women fighters of all-time. 

Over the past nine years, there have been a number of female MMA superstars that could be considered as the best UFC women fighters of all-time. They come from different backgrounds, different divisions, and different fighting styles, but they each finished their career as a legend. 

While most lists you see on the internet rank out the top-five and other lists include non-UFC women fighters, we’re going to do things differently and rank out the 25 best UFC women fighters of all-time – that’s right, we’re only including women that spent time in the UFC.

25. Raquel Pennington

Country: United States

Years Active: 2009-present

MMA Record: 12-8-0 (1 KO)

Raquel Pennington, also known as ‘Rocky,’ made her pro debut in 2012 and was a member of The Ultimate Fighter 18. She made her UFC debut in 2013 and went 2-2 before a four-fight win streak. She then went 1-3, but is 2-0 since and has a fight scheduled for December 18, 2021.

24. Sarah Kaufman

Country: Canada

Years Active: 2006-present

MMA Record: 22-5-0 [1 NC] (11 KOs)

Sarah Kaufman made her pro debut in 2007 in what was the first female fight in TKO 29 – Repercussion history. She was the bantamweight champion for Strikeforce and fought for Invicta FC before joining the UFC in 2013. She’s just 1-2 since with one ‘no contest.’  

23. Cat Zingano

Country: United States

Years Active: 2008-present

MMA Record: 12-4-0 (5 KOs)

Cat Zingano, also known as ‘Alpha,’ made her pro debut in 2008 and spent time with Invicta FC and Strikeforce before her 2013 UFC debut. She beat Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes before losing to Ronda Rousey and Julianna Pena. She’s just 1-4 since, but is still an all-time great.

22. Karolina Kowalkiewicz

Country: Poland

Years Active: 2010-present

MMA Record: 12-7-0 (1 KO)

Karolina Kowalkiewicz, also known as ‘Polish Princess,’ began her pro career in Poland and won her first seven fights before joining the UFC in 2015. She won her first three fights, including one vs. Rose Namajunas, but is just 2-7 since – losing to several all-time greats in that span.

21. Liz Carmouche

Country: United States

Years Active: 2010-present

MMA Record: 16-7-0 (7 KOs)

Liz Carmouche, also known as ‘Girl-Rilla,’ started her MMA career in 2010 and spent time with Strikeforce and Invicta FC before making her debut against Ronda Rousey in the UFC’s first ever female fight. She’s just 7-7 since joining the UFC and currently fights in the Bellator MMA.

20. Tatiana Suarez

Country: United States

Years Active: 2014-present

MMA Record: 8-0-0 (2 KOs)

Tatiana Suarez made her MMA debut in 2014 and won her first three fights en route to the Gladiator Challenge championship. She then won The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale before signing with the UFC in 2016. She has won her last four fights, including one against Carla Esparza.

19. Aspen Ladd

Country: United States

Years Active: 2015-present 

MMA Record: 9-2-0 (6 KOs)

Aspen Ladd went 8-1 as an amateur before making her professional MMA debut with Invicta FC in 2014. She went 5-0 before signing with the UFC in 2017 where she won her first three fights. She’s just 1-2 since, but her ability to finish should land her several more wins in the UFC.

18. Katlyn Chookagian

Country: United States

Years Active: 2012-present

MMA Record: 16-4-0 (2 KOs)

Katlyn Chookagian, also known as ‘Blonde Fighter,’ made her pro debut in 2014 and won her first seven fights before her UFC debut in 2016. She went 6-2 before losing to Valentina Shevchenko for the UFC Women’s Flyweight Championship in 2020. She’s 3-1 since.

17. Tecia Torres

Country: United States

Years Active: 2011-present

MMA Record: 13-5-0 (1 KO)

Tecia Torres, also known as ‘The Tiny Tornado,’ made her professional debut with Invicta FC in 2012, was featured in The Ultimate Fighter 20, and signed with the UFC in 2014. She won six of her first seven fights, but suffered four straight losses to other UFC greats. She’s 3-0 since.

16. Cláudia Gadelha

Country: Brazil

Years Active: 2008-present

MMA Record: 18-5-0 (2 KOs)

Cláudia Gadelha, also known as ‘Claudinha,’ made her pro debut in 2008 and was with Invicta FC before signing with the UFC in 2013. While she has struggled to put together impressive win streaks, she has beaten the likes of Karolina Kowalkiewicz in 2017 and Carla Esparza in 2018.

15. Jennifer Maia

Country: Brazil

Years Active: 2009-present

MMA Record: 19-7-1 (4 KOs)

Jennifer Maia started her career in boxing and went 3-0 before making her pro MMA debut in 2009. She was with Invicta FC from 2013-2018 and was the Flyweight Champion before signing with the UFC in 2018. She’s 4-3 since and all three losses came against women on this list.

14. Michelle Waterson

Country: United States

Years Active: 2007-present

MMA Record: 18-9-0 (3 KOs)

Michelle Waterson, also known as ‘The Karate Hottie,’ made her professional debut in 2007 and didn’t sign with the UFC until 2015. She won her first two fights, lost her next two, and then went on a three-fight win streak. She’s just 1-3 since, but has a bout scheduled for March 2022. 

13. Carla Esparza

Country: United States

Years Active: 2010-present

MMA Record: 18-6-0 (4 KOs)

Carla Esparza, also known as ‘Cookie Monster,’ was 3-0 before signing with Bellator MMA in 2010. She later became the first Strawweight Champion in Invicta FC and won The Ultimate Fighter 20. She lost four of her first eight UFC fights, but is 5-0 over the past two years. 

12. Julianna Peña

Country: United States

Years Active: 2009-present

MMA Record: 10-4-0 (3 KOs)

Julianna Peña, also known as ‘The Venezuelan Vixen,’ made her pro debut in 2009 and won The Ultimate Fighter 18 in 2013 to be named bantamweight champion. An injury kept her away from the octagon in 2014, but she’s 5-2 since and will face Amanda Nunes on Dec. 11, 2021.

11. Germaine de Randamie

Country: Netherlands

Years Active: 2008-present

MMA Record: 10-4-0 (4 KOs)

Germaine de Randamie, also known as ‘The Iron Lady,’ is one of the best female kickboxers of all-time. She went 46-0 with 30 knockouts before pursuing an MMA career in 2008. She has won seven of her nine UFC fights and was the inaugural Women’s Featherweight Champion.

10. Miesha Tate

Country: United States

Years Active: 2007-present

MMA Record: 19-8-0 (4 KOs)

Miesha Tate, also known as ‘Cupcake,’ made her pro debut in 2007 and became the Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion in 2011. She made her debut with the UFC in 2013 and lost her first two fights, but won the next five en route to being named UFC Bantamweight Champion in 2016.

9. Weili Zhang

Country: China

Years Active: 2013-present

MMA Record: 21-3-0 (10 KOs)

Weili Zhang, also known as ‘Magnum,’ made her pro debut in 2013 and while she lost the fight, she won her next 16 fights before signing with the UFC in 2018. She won her first three fights and was named UFC Strawweight Champion. She defended the title once, but is 0-2 since.

8. Holly Holm

Country: United States

Years Active: 2011-present

MMA Record: 14-5-0 (8 KOs)

Holly Holm, also known as ‘The Preacher’s Daughter,’ was a successful boxer before starting her MMA career in 2011. She signed with the UFC in 2014 and won her first three fights en route to being named bantamweight champion. She’s just 4-5 since, but is still an all-time MMA great.

7. Jéssica Andrade

Country: Brazil

Years Active: 2011-present

MMA Record: 22-9-0 (9 KOs)

Jéssica Andrade, also known as ‘Bate Estaca,’ made her pro debut in 2011 and eventually signed with the UFC in 2013. She has 20 UFC fights to her name, winning 13 of them and being named Strawweight Champion in 2019. She has defeated six different females on this list.

6. Joanna Jędrzejczyk

Country: Poland

Years Active: 2012-present

MMA Record: 16-4-0 (4 KOs)

Joanna Jędrzejczyk signed with the UFC in 2014 and won her first eight promotional fights. She was named Strawweight Champion in 2015, a title she defended five times, before suffering her first loss in 2017. While she’s just 2-4 since, she defeated six different females on this list. 

5. Rose Namajunas

Country: United States

Years Active: 2013-present

MMA Record: 11-4-0 (2 KOs)

Rose Namajunas, also known as ‘Thug,’ started martial arts training as a child and made her pro debut in 2013. She lost The Ultimate Fighter tournament finale in 2014, but is 9-2 since. She’s a two-time Strawweight Champion and defended the title twice in the past three years. She defeated five females on this list.

4. Ronda Rousey

Country: United States

Years Active: 2010-2016

MMA Record: 12-2-0 (3 KOs)

Ronda Rousey, also known as ‘Rowdy,’ started her career in judo and competed in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics before making her pro MMA debut in 2011. After becoming the first female signed to the UFC in 2012, she won her first six fights and defended her bantamweight title five times. She defeated four females on this list.

3. Valentina Shevchenko

Country: Kyrgyzstan

Years Active: 2003-present

MMA Record: 22-3-0 (8 KOs)

Valentina Shevchenko, also known as ‘Bullet,’ has had an illustrious career in MMA (22-3), boxing (2-0), and kickboxing (59-2). She made her pro MMA debut in 2003 and went 11-1 before signing with the UFC in 2015. She started her UFC career 3-2, but has won her past eight fights. She has defeated eight females on this list.

2. Cristiane Justino

Country: Brazil

Years Active: 2005-present

MMA Record: 25-2-0 (20 KOs)

Cristiane Justino, also known as ‘Cris Cyborg,’ made her pro debut in 2005 and starred in Strikeforce and Invicta FC before signing with the UFC in 2015. She won her first five bouts and was named Featherweight Champion in 2017 – a title she defended twice. She won her final UFC fight in 2019 before joining Bellator MMA. 

1. Amanda Nunes

Country: Brazil

Years Active: 2008-present

MMA Record: 21-4-0 (13 KOs)

Amanda Nunes, also known as ‘Lioness,’ started martial arts training as a child and made her professional debut in 2008 before signing with the UFC in 2013. After going 2-1 in her first three fights, she has won her last 12 fights and has an opportunity to make it 13-straight on December 11, 2021. 

Nunes is the only female two-division champion in UFC history. She has won seven straight title defense fights and defeated eight women on this list. 

Greatest Female Fighters That Never Fought in the UFC

The best UFC women fighters of all-time played a major role in popularizing women’s MMA, but they aren’t the only women that helped propel the sport into prominence. In fact, there are a ton of women that contributed to the rise of women in MMA, despite never stepping foot in the UFC.

Those women deserve just as much praise for their efforts in the sport of MMA. If it weren’t for them, the best UFC women fighters of all-time would’ve never had an opportunity to showcase their talent on a global scale. Don’t worry, we’re going to highlight some of those women below.

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Some of those legendary and revolutionary women fighters include Marloes Coenen, Megumi Fuji, Tara LaRosa, Yuka Tsuji, Ayaka Hamasaki, Jennifer Howe, Julia Budd, Angela Lee, Satoko Shinashi, Xiong Jing Nan, Gina Carano, Zoila Gurgel, and Erin Toughill.

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