20 Women MMA Fighters That Are Unstoppable

20 Women MMA Fighters That Are Unstoppable

In a sport that was once dominated by men, women MMA fighters are starting to draw some huge crowds and boast large fanbases. Women have risen to prominence in the sport over the past eight years and today there are multiple promotions accepting women MMA fighters. 

As early as a decade ago, women were struggling to make a name for themselves in the MMA community. In fact, UFC president Dana White was asked in a 2011 interview when women would fight in the UFC and he replied ‘never.’ Of course, that ‘never’ wouldn’t last very long. 

Two years after uttering that famous one-word answer, White retracted the statement by signing Ronda Rousey as the first ever female fighter in the UFC. While women have been in the MMA for over a decade prior to this moment, it was a major turning point for women in the sport.  

RELATED: 20 Best UFC Fighters of All-Time

Who Are the Top Women MMA Fighters Today?

20 Women MMA Fighters That Are Unstoppable
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Ronda Rousey retired from MMA in 2018 as one of the greatest of all-time, meaning she won’t be featured on our list of the top women MMA fighters today. She did, however, inspire and influence a lot of today’s top women MMA fighters and that has to stand for something, right? 

With that said, there are plenty of women MMA fighters that are extremely difficult to beat on any given night and they come from a wide range of promotions – including the UFC, Invicta FC, Bellator, PFL, JEWELS, Rizin FF, and more. You don’t have to be in the UFC to be unstoppable.

As we count down our list of the 20 best women MMA fighters in 2022, we’re going to focus on women that have fought at least once in their division in the past 18 months. We’ll be choosing from the featherweight, bantamweight, flyweight, strawweight, and atomweight divisions. 

20. Ketlen Vieira

Country: Brazil

Nickname: Fenomeno

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 12-2-0

Ketlen Vieira started her career 6-0 under the Mr. Cage and Big Way Fight Night promotions. She eventually won the Mr. Cage bantamweight title before grabbing the attention of Dana White and the UFC. They signed her to a contract and mader her UFC debut in October 2016. 

She won her first four fights in the UFC, including wins against Cat Zingano and Sara McMann. While she’s just 2-2 since, she most recently defeated Miesha Tate in November 2021. She continues to climb the ranks of the bantamweight division and has a bright career ahead of her.

19. Alesha Zappitella

Country: United States

Nickname: Half Pint

Promotion: Invicta Fighting Championships

MMA Record: 9-2-0 (1 NC)

Alesha Zappitella started her career 3-0-0 (1 NC) before grabbing the attention of Invicta FC, where she has spent her entire career thus far. She made her Invicta debut in October 2016 and won her first two fights before suffering back-to-back defeats in 2019, bringing her to 5-2-0. 

Since that disappointing 2019 campaign, Zappitella has won four straight fights. In that time, she won the Invicta Atomweight title and has already defended the title once. She’s scheduled for her second title defense in a rematch against Jessica Delboni, who she defeated in May 2021. 

18. Marina Rodriguez

Country: Brazil

Nickname: n/a

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 15-1-2

Marina Rodriguez started her career 8-0-0 before grabbing the attention of Dana White. She was featured in Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 2 in 2018, defeating Maria Oliveira before officially signing a contract with the UFC. She made her UFC debut in September 2018

Her debut ended in a draw, but she won her next two fights against Jessica Aguilar and Tecia Torres. After facing her second draw and a disappointing defeat against Carla Esparza, she has won her past three fights – including a victory against all-time great Michelle Waterson. 

17. Taila Santos


Country: Brazil

Nickname: n/a

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 19-1-0

Taila Santos started her career 14-0-0 before taking a two-year hiatus from fighting. In August 2018, she received an invite to Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 2 and defeated Estefani Almeida. Upon her victory, Santos earned a UFC contract and made her debut in early 2019. 

After losing her debut fight to Mara Romero Borella, Santos has won her past four fights – including wins against Molly McCann, Gillian Robertson, Roxanne Modafferi, and Joanne Wood. She’ll continue to fight bigger names as she makes a name for herself in the UFC world. 

16. Norma Dumont Viana

Country: Brazil

Nickname: The Immortal

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 7-1-0

Norma Dumont Viana started her career 4-0-0 in Brazil, which included two submissions in the first round. She impressed Dana White and the UFC enough to sign a contract with the promotion. She eventually made her UFC debut in February 2020 against Megan Anderson. 

Since her debut loss, Dumont has won her past three fights against Ashlee Evans-Smith, Felicia Spencer, and Aspen Ladd. If she can continue this streak she’s on, it won’t be long until she sees some big-name fights. She’s a fighter I can see winning a featherweight title at some point. 

15. Carla Esparza

Country: United States

Nickname: Cookie Monster

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 18-6-0

Carla Esparza started her career 9-2-0, spending most of her early career with Bellator and Invicta FC. With the UFC adding the strawweight division, Esparza was featured on The Ultimate Fighter 20 to determine the inaugural strawweight champion, which she won in 2014.

While she lost the title in her next fight and went 3-4 over the next three years, Esparza has won her past five fights and is working her way back to title contention. She’s coming off a KO/TKO win against Xiaonan Yan on May 22, 2021, which earned her the Performance of the Night. 

14. Holly Holm

Country: United States

Nickname: The Preacher’s Daughter

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 14-5-0

Holly Holm had a successful kickboxing and boxing career before joining the MMA community. She spent time with Bellator and Legacy Fighting Championship before signing on with the UFC in 2014. At the time, she was 7-0-0 and six of those victories came by way of knockout or TKO.

Once she entered the UFC, Holm won her first three fights and won the bantamweight title in an upset against Ronda Rousey. She failed to defend the title, is 4-5-0 since her title win, and has lost three straight opportunities at another title. Still, she’s one of the most lethal kickers in MMA.

13. Julia Budd

Country: Canada

Nickname: The Jewel

Promotion: Professional Fighters League

MMA Record: 16-3-0

Julia Budd started her career with Strikeforce and went 2-2-0 in her first four fights, which included losses to Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey before the UFC was a thing. She then went 4-0-0 in the Invicta FC before signing with Bellator, where she spent most of her career.

With Bellator, Budd won her first seven fights and was the inaugural featherweight champion in 2017 after defeating veteran Marloes Coenen. She defended her title three times before losing it to Cris Cyborg. Since her defeat, she’s 3-0 and now fights in the Professional Fighters League.

12. Ilima-Lei Macfarlane 

Country: United States

Nickname: The Ilimanator

Promotion: Bellator

MMA Record: 11-1-0

Ilima-Lei Macfarlane started her career 5-0-0 as an amateur before winning her pro debut with Xplode Fight Series. After the bout, she signed a contract with Bellator and has been with the promotion ever since. She has completely dominated the Bellator women’s flyweight division. 

After winning her first five fights with Bellator, Macfarlane won the inaugural flyweight title against Emily Ducote – her first MMA championship. She defended her title four times before suffering her first MMA loss against Juliana Velasquez. Both fighters were undefeated entering the bout.

11. Juliana Velasquez

Country: Brazil

Nickname: n/a

Promotion: Bellator

MMA Record: 12-0-0

Juliana Velasquez started her career 5-0-0 before signing with Bellator and making her debut in December 2017. She won her first five fights against the likes of Na Liang, Rebecca Ruth, Alejandra Lara, Kristina Williams, and Bruna Ellen. At this point, she was 10-0-0 in her career.

In December 2020, Velasquez faced off against Macfarlane – who was searching for her fifth flyweight title defense. Velasquez crashed her party and took over the title, handing Macfarlane her first loss. As for Juliana, she has defended her title once already and is currently 12-0-0. 

10. Germaine de Randamie

Country: Netherlands

Nickname: The Iron Lady

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 10-4-0

Germaine de Randamie started her pro career in 2008 and went 1-1-0 in her first two fights. She then signed with Strikeforce and went 2-1-0 in her next three fights. Her loss came to Julia Budd in what was a rematch of a Muay Thai fight from years in the past. It was a humbling loss. 

Randamie signed with the UFC in 2013 and made her debut against Julie Kedzie. If it weren’t for Amanda Nunes dominating the sport, Germaine would be undefeated in the UFC. Unfortunately, she lost to Nunes twice – once in 2013 and then in 2019. Still, she’s 7-2-0 since joining the UFC.

9. Ayaka Hamasaki

Country: Japan

Nickname: n/a

Promotion: Rizin FF

MMA Record: 23-3-0

Ayaka Hamasaki will go down as one of the most dominant women MMA fighters of all-time. She has spent a majority of her career with Jewels, Invicta FC, and Rizin FF. She started her pro career 9-0-0, including two wins against Seo Hee Ham and a win against Yuka Tsuji. 

After suffering her first loss against all-time great Claudia Gadelha, she went on another winning streak with five-straight wins. Another five-fight win streak followed her second loss before Seo Hee Ham finally got her revenge. Since Hamasaki’s third loss, she has won four-straight. 

8. Seo Hee Ham

Country: South Korea

Nickname: Hamderlei Silva

Promotion: ONE Championship

MMA Record: 24-8-0

Seo Hee Ham spent a majority of her early career with Jewels and Smackgirl, winning 13 of her first 18 pro fights. Her five losses in that timespan came at the hands of some of the all-time greats, including Ayaka Hamasaki (twice), Miku Matsumoto, Yuka Tsuji, and Megumi Fujii. 

Hee Ham improved to 16-5-0 before signing a contract with the UFC. She only spent four fights with the promotion and went a disappointing 1-3-0. Since then, she won her past seven fights in Rizin FF and Road FC. She finally got her revenge on Hamasaki in a 2019 split decision.

7. Jessica Andrade

Country: Brazil

Nickname: Bate Estaca

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 22-9-0

Jessica Andrade started her career 9-2-0 before grabbing the attention of Dana White. She signed with the UFC and made her debut in 2013, losing to all-time great Liz Carmouche. After winning her next three fights, she went 1-2-0 in the following three and had a record of 13-5-0. 

Andrade went on another three-fight win streak before earning a strawweight title shot against  Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She lost the fight, but went on a four-fight win streak en route to defeating Rose Namajunas for the strawweight title. She didn’t defend it and is just 2-3-0 ever since. 

6. Julianna Pena

Country: United States

Nickname: The Venezuelan Vixen

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 11-4-0

Julianna Pena started her career 4-0-0 before suffering back-to-back losses in 2012 and 2013. She was then selected to be featured in The Ultimate Fighter 18 and went on to defeat Jessica Rakoczy and was named the women’s bantamweight champion for TUF 18 in November 2013.

After missing all of 2014 due to injury, Pena returned in 2015 and won her next three fights. She then went 2-2-0 over her next four fights, losing to Valentina Shevchenko and Germaine de Randamie. Her first title opportunity came in 2021 and she pulled off one of the biggest upsets.

5. Weili Zhang

Country: China

Nickname: Magnum

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 21-3-0

Weili Zhang started her career with a loss in her pro debut, but that didn’t mean much because she would go on to win her next 21 fights between 2014 and 2020. She spent most of that time with Kunlun Fight before signing a contract with the UFC in 2018. She was 16-1-0 at the time.

After joining the UFC, Zhang won her next five fights – including wins over Jessica Aguilar, Tecia Torres, Jessica Andrade, and Joanna Jędrzejczyk. She won the strawweight title over Andrade and defended it against Jędrzejczyk, but has lost back-to-back bouts against Rose Namajunas.

4. Rose Namajunas

Country: United States

Nickname: Thug

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 11-4-0

Rose Namajunas started her career 2-0 with Invicta FC before suffering her first loss to Tecia Torres in 2013. At that time, it was announced that Namajunas would be featured in The Ultimate Fighter 20 for a shot at the inaugural strawweight championship. She made it to the finale. 

In the finale, Namajunas lost to Carla Esparza to begin her UFC career with a loss. She won four of her next five fights before receiving another shot at the strawweight title. She defeated Jędrzejczyk to take the title, defended it in a rematch, but lost it to Andrade. 

After beating Andrade in a rematch, Namajunas defeated Zhang to regain the title and defended it in a rematch.

3. Cristiane Justino

Country: Brazil

Nickname: Cris Cyborg

Promotion: Bellator 

MMA Record: 25-2-0 (1 NC)

Cristiane Justino, more commonly known as Cris Cyborg, started her pro career with a loss in 2005. Since then, she’s 25-1-0 with one no-contest. To say she has been dominant over the past 15 years is an understatement. She’s one of the greatest of all-time, hands down. 

Cyborg joined the UFC in 2016 in the midst of a 15-fight win streak. She won her first five fights in the UFC before suffering her first loss in over a decade to Amanda Nunes. After one more UFC win, she won the featherweight title with Bellator, which she has defended three times. 

2. Valentina Schevchenko

Country: Kyrgyzstan

Nickname: Bullet

Promotion: UFC

MMA Record: 22-3-0

Valentina Shevchenko started her career 7-0-0 fighting out of the KFK, WXF, KFP, and PFF. She suffered her first loss to Liz Carmouche in 2010, but followed that up with four straight victories. At this time, she was 11-1-0 and signed a contract with the UFC, making her debut in 2015. 

She won her first UFC fight, but lost to Amanda Nunes in her second fight. After beating Holly Holm and Julianna Pena, she lost yet again to Amanda Nunes. She has won her past eight fights, including wins against Jennifer Maia, Andrade, Carmouche, and Jędrzejczyk. 

1. Amanda Nunes

Country: Brazil

Nickname: The Lioness

Promotion: UFC 

MMA Record: 21-5-0

Amanda Nunes is widely regarded as the greatest MMA fighter of all-time. She has dominated the sport ever since she turned pro and exemplifies greatness every time she steps foot in the octagon. She started her career 7-3-0 before signing with the UFC and making a debut in 2013.

Once in the UFC, it was game over for other women MMA fighters. Nunes won her first two fights before suffering a loss to Cat Zingano. She then went on a 12-fight win streak, including wins against McMann, Tate, Rousey, Shevchenko (twice), Holm, Cyborg, and Randamie. 

Although she lost in her most recent fight, she’s still the only female two-division champion in UFC history. She’s 21-5-0 and will likely rebound better than ever. 

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

Since women MMA fighters have only recently gained prominence in the sport, many of the names listed above are considered the greatest of all-time. Names like Amanda Nunes, Valentina Shevchenko, Rose Namajunas, Weili Zhang, and Cris Cyborg are the best of all-time.

With that said, there are plenty of women MMA fighters that could be considered among the greatest of all-time that weren’t featured on our list above. Ronda Rousey is a perfect example of someone who has retired, but would easily fall in the top-five greatest women MMA fighters.

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Other prominent names in the sport’s history include Marloes Coenen, Megumi Fuji, Angela Lee, Jennifer Howe, Yuka Tsuji, Tara LaRosa, Miesha Tate, Satoko Shinashi, Xiong Jing Nan, Gina Carano, Michelle Waterson, and Claudia Gadelha. They’ll forever be remembered.

20 of the Most Famous Female Bodybuilders Ever

While some people believe muscles belong on men, the most famous female bodybuilders ever — along with their millions of fans all around the world — respectfully disagree. In fact, it’s safe to say the bodybuilding industry wouldn’t be what it is today if it weren’t for its female athletes. 

It was a man named Henry McGhee that originally opened the door for women in the bodybuilding community. While working at the Downtown Canton YMCA, he believed women should have a similar opportunity to showcase their physique as men have had for years. 

The first event happened in 1977 and a woman by the name of Gina LaSpina was announced the winner. It wasn’t until 1980 that the National Physique Committee (NPC) and International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness (IFBB) started to recognize women in competitions. 

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Who Are the Most Famous Female Bodybuilders Ever?

20 of the Most Famous Female Bodybuilders Ever
Mike Orlov / Shutterstock

Over the past 40 years, the most famous female bodybuilders ever have helped revolutionize the bodybuilding and fitness world. They were instrumental in the development, growth, and evolution of the sport. It’s always incredible to see how much effort goes into what they’ve done.

Especially in today’s day and age where we get an up-close view of the behind-the-scenes of bodybuilding. We can truly start to appreciate all the hard work, dedication, determination, and pure grit that goes into being one of the most famous female bodybuilders of all-time. 

Whether you’re a die-hard fan of female bodybuilders or this is your first time learning about the history of female bodybuilding, you’re likely wondering who the most famous female bodybuilders are. Don’t worry, we’re going to rank out the 20 most famous bodybuilders below!

20. Rebekka Armstrong – United States

Rebekka Armstrong was featured as Playmate of the Month in September 1986 and built a career as a model. In 1994, she announced she was HIV-positive, becoming the first Playmate to do so. She knew she was HIV-positive as early as 1989 and struggled with it for years.

That didn’t stop her from achieving success as a bodybuilder, winning the 2004 Muscle Beach lightweight and overall, 2004 NPC Los Angeles Championship middleweight, 2005 NPC Pittsburgh middleweight and overall, and 2009 NPC Los Angeles Championships heavyweight and overall.

19. Marianna Komlos – Canada

Marianna Komlos weighed 197 pounds before she gained any interest in bodybuilding, but eventually started hitting the gym and competing in provincial tournaments as early as 1993. Her strong dedication to the sport resulted in several wins as she entered her peak in 1996.

Komlos won the 1996 Gators Classic in Vancouver — both the lightweight and overall. She then won the 1997 British Columbia Championship as a middleweight, earning the title of ‘Best Poser.’ To top things off, she won the 1997 Women’s Extravaganza as a middleweight. 

18. Melissa Coates – Canada

Melissa Coates began weightlifting at the age of 15 in order to improve her tennis game. After winning the Mid-Canada Junior Girls Championship in tennis, Coates decided to start focusing more on her bodybuilding career. She eventually entered her first contest in the early-1990s. 

In 1995, Coates was granted professional status by the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness. It wouldn’t take long for her to notch her first win as a professional, doing so in her pro debut at the 1996 Jan Tana Classic. She later became a professional wrestler and model.

17. Nikki Fuller – United States

Nikki Fuller played water polo and track and field in high school, but turned her focus to bodybuilding after graduating high school. She weighed 123 pounds at that time, but it didn’t take long for her to gain 20 pounds of muscle. From that moment, her bodybuilding career took off.

Fuller earned her pro card after winning the heavyweight and overall titles at the 1990 NPC Nationals. Her highlight performance came at the 1992 Jan Tana Classic, where she placed first. She never placed higher than 7th place at Ms. International or 9th place at Ms. Olympia.

16. Rasa von Werder – Germany

Rasa von Werder is often heralded as one of the pioneers of female bodybuilding. She was an early advocate of the idea of female bodybuilding and helped to normalize it in the media and public. She started appearing in competitions as early as 1967 and continued through the 1970s.

She placed first in the 1974 Ms. Body Beautiful USA competition by the World Body Building Guild in New York — a competition she placed second the year before. She also won the ‘Most Voluptuous’ trophy at the 1973 IFBB Ms. Americana and ‘Best Body’ trophy in 1974.  

15. Gladys Portugues – United States

Gladys Portugues was inspired to start a bodybuilding career when she witnessed Rachel McLish win the Ms. Olympia title. She would go on to start a bodybuilding and weight training regimen at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. She earned her pro card in 1983. 

Portugues would end up finishing in the top-ten at Ms. Olympia twice in her career. Her highlight performance came when she won the Night of Champions competition. Outside of her bodybuilding career, she has also been featured in a number of films and television shows. 

14. Denise Masino – United States

Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Denise Masino was always interested in the bodybuilding community and used the gym as a safe haven — helping her stay out of trouble. As an amateur bodybuilder, Masino won the 1994 NPC Florida Championships and 1995 NPC Nationals. 

Masino made her pro debut at the 1996 Jan Tana Classic, where she finished sixth. In 2003, she finished second at the Ms. International and won her first contest as a professional the same year at Night of Champions. She also placed third at Ms. Olympia in 2003 and second in 2004. 

13. Nicole Bass – United States

Nicole Bass is a woman of many talents. Outside of being a bodybuilder, she was an actress and professional wrestler — making several guest appearances in soap operas and starring in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Her bodybuilding career dates back as early as 1985.

From 1985-1997, Bass appeared in as many as 15 major bodybuilding competitions and finished in the top-ten in 13 of them. She won the 1988 NPC Northeastern States heavyweight and overall titles, as well as the 1997 NPC Nationals heavyweight and overall titles. 

12. Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia – Venezuela

Born in Venezuela, Yaxeni Oriquen-Garcia started dedicating herself to a bodybuilding career in her early 20’s. In 1993, she won four contests as an amateur as she started to turn some heads in the bodybuilding community. It didn’t take long for her to earn her pro card with IFBB.

Oriquen-Garcia made her pro debut at the 1994 Jan Tana Classic, placing 10th in the contest. She peaked in 2005 when she won the Ms. Olympia title — the only Venezuelan bodybuilder to do so. She’s also a five-time winner of the Ms. International competition, including in 2005. 

11. Tonya Knight – United States

Tonya Knight competed in the NPC USA Championship three times as an amateur, finishing 11th in 1984, 6th in 1985, and 4th in 1986. She would later make her professional debut at the 1988 Pro World Championship, placing 5th before making her first Ms. Olympia the same year.

Knight would place 4th in that 1988 Ms. Olympia and won her first competition a year later at the 1989 Ms. International. Unfortunately, she was later disqualified from both for having a surrogate take a urine test. She returned in 1991 to legally win the Grand Prix Italy and Ms. International.

10. Ritva Elomaa – Finland

Ritva Elomaa, better known as ‘Kike,’ has had quite a diverse career over the past 30+ years. She graduated as a radiographer from the Helsinki Nursing School in 1980 before enjoying a brief bodybuilding career. She only competed four times as a pro, but she made them count.

In 1981, Ritva Elomaa shocked the world by finishing in first place at the Ms. Olympia contest — beating out Rachel McLish in the process. She retired in 1983 and has since become a member of the Finnish Parliament. She took office in 2011 as a member of the Finns Party. 

9. Rachel McLish – United States

Rachel McLish graduated from University of Texas-Pan American after studying physiology and health and nutrition. After founding the Sport Palace Association in Harlingen, McLish felt inspired to enter the world of bodybuilding thanks to encouragement from Lisa Lyon and others. 

Though she only competed for four years, McLish became one of the most recognizable names in the sport. She finished in the top-three of every event she entered, winning the 1980 and 1982 Ms. Olympia contests — placing second in 1981 and 1984 — and won the 1982 Pro World Championship. 

8. Betty Pariso – United States

Betty Pariso grew up playing volleyball, track and field, and ping pong. She didn’t start focusing on her bodybuilding career until her early-30s, largely because she wanted to do away with her ‘stick figure.’ By the 1990s, she was competing at an amateur level in the bodybuilding world. 

Pariso won her first professional competition at the 2001 Jan Tana Classic. While that was the only pro win of her career, she made a habit of finishing in the top-five. Born in 1956, she’s an inspiration to anyone over the age of 40 that has aspirations of becoming a pro bodybuilder. 

7. Andrea Shaw – United States

Andrea Shaw began working out at the age of 15 and showed an interest in bodybuilding as early as 17 years old. Her figure career began in 2008, but she quickly took an eight-year hiatus after two competitions. Her physique career began in 2016 and she dominated for three years.

In 2019, she was approached by several female bodybuilders and was convinced to transition to bodybuilding. Since 2020, she has five major title wins, including the Ms. Olympia twice, the Pro League WOS Rising Phoenix Pro Women’s Bodybuilding twice, and the IFBB Omaha Pro once. 

6. Juliette Bergmann – Netherlands

Juliette Bergmann started to study fitness training — as well as financial management and journalism — when she completed school. By 1981, she began bodybuilding training and entered her first competition in 1982 (placing in 1st place). By 1983, she knew it was the career for her. 

After winning the Dutch National Championship in 1984 and 1985, she made her pro debut at the 1985 Ms. Olympia. She took a 12-year absence starting in 1989, but returned to win the 2001 Ms. Olympia lightweight and overall. She repeated as lightweight champion in 2002 and 2003. 

5. Ana Claudia Macedo Pires – Brazil

Ana Claudia Macedo Pires will go down as one of the greatest Brazilian female bodybuilders of all-time. She started to gain an interest in bodybuilding at the age of 14 and enjoyed a long and fruitful career in the sport. She’s known as a legend in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro. 

She’s an 11-time Rio De Janeiro winner, six-time Brazilian winner, and two-time South America winner of the Heavy Weights IFBB. She also placed fifth at the Arnold Classic Brazil in 2013, sixth place at the Arnold Classic Europe in 2013, and third place at the IFBB Brazil National Contest in 2014. 

4. Kim Chizevsky-Nicholls – United States

Kim Chizevsky-Nicholls played volleyball, basketball, and cheerleading in high school before joining the dance squad and aerobics team in college. She was an aerobics instructor by 1988, but decided to turn her focus towards bodybuilding thanks to her boyfriend’s encouragement.

After nearly placing first in every amateur contest she entered, Chizevsky-Nicholls made her pro debut in 1993. She would win the Ms. International competition in 1993 and 1996 before winning the Ms. Olympia competition four years in a row from 1996-1999. She retired in 1999. 

3. Corinna Everson – United States

Corinna Everson was a three-sport athlete (gymnastics, track and field, and badminton) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before marrying a competitive bodybuilder in 1982. She would make her professional debut that same year after winning several competitions as an amateur.

Over the next two years, Everson won a total of seven competitions — including four overalls, two heavyweights, two middleweights, and three pairs/couples. From 1984-1989, Everson won the Ms. Olympia competition six years in a row, truly dominating the sport during that time. 

2. Lenda Murray – United States

Lenda Murray was a cheerleader and played track and field in high school. She earned a degree in political science and was a cheerleader in college. Not long after that, she was a cheerleader for the Michigan Panthers (USFL) and tried out for the Dallas Cowboys cheer team.

She began training in 1984 and eventually decided to compete in bodybuilding in 1985. Murray made her pro debut in 1990 at the Ms. Olympia competition, finishing in first place and winning it six years in a row before placing second in 1996 and 1997. She won it again in 2002 and 2003.

1. Iris Kyle – United States

Iris Kyle is hands-down the most decorated, accomplished, and successful female bodybuilder of all-time. She played basketball at Alcorn State University, but turned her focus to bodybuilding after moving to Orange County. Her first contest was at the 1994 Long Beach Muscle Classic. 

Kyle earned her pro card five years later and made her pro debut at the 1999 Ms. International competition. Since then, she has won 10 Ms. Olympia titles (nine straight from 2006-2014), which is the most of any male or female ever. She also won seven Ms. International titles 

Who Are the Most Famous Female Bodybuilders Right Now?

The most famous female bodybuilders are the ones we see at the top of the podium the most often. They compete at a high level on a consistent basis, which is why they earn so much praise and inspire the incoming generation of female bodybuilders — continuing the cycle. 

While we’ve already discussed some of the most famous female bodybuilders of all-time, you might be wondering who the most famous female bodybuilders are in the world right now. Andrea Shaw, who we mentioned above, is certainly one of the females on that list. 

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Some of the other most famous female bodybuilders right now include Helle Trevino, Mona Poursaleh, Margie Martin, Irene Andersen, Michaela Aycock, Virginia Sanchez, MayLa Ash, Monique Jones, Asha Hadley, Janeen Lankowski, and Margita Zamolova.

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