Women of the MMA world have gone on to prove that fighting is not just guy stuff. These women have fought hard and have bled harder in the octagon. On November 16, 2012, the eve of UFC 154: St. Pierre vs. Condit, Dana White confirmed with Jim Rome the UFC would feature women’s MMA. Subsequently Ronda Rousey became the first woman to sign up with UFC. She then faced Liz Carmouche on February 23, 2013, at UFC 157, marking the first ever fight in which women competed. Since then the UFC women’s bantamweight division has flourished and the promotion also added the 115-pound strawweight division. The octagon has witnessed female power and has resulted in some of the most memorable matches in MMA history ever since.
The women in the octagon have time and again had harsh words for each other. They hold grudges from their past matches and this has led to bitter rivalries. These rivalries have attracted huge attention and have been one of the main reason for the acceptance of women in the MMA universe. MMA is perhaps the only sport in which women and men have some sort of equal relations. The credit goes to these rivalries. It’s true these feuds have had their positive effect, but bad blood runs deep.
Let us take a look at some of the most popular and heated feuds in the history of Women’s MMA.
Leslie Smith vs. Kaitlyn Young
Leslie Smith is known to most of the fans as a positive fighter and a sporty persona. Not so well known to many people is how heated her rivalry was with fellow Invicta FC veteran Kaitlyn Young. Young who is known as a pioneer of Women’s MMA, is also known for her positive approach to match decisions.
Just like the Moon has its dark side so do humans have their savageness, and however much we try to hide it, at some point it does come out. So it did when these two women met each other at the first ever Invicta FC event in April 2012. The two women charged forward and fought hard against one another producing a real classy and close match that went to the judges’ scorecards. The match was declared as draw, and both fighters were honored with a “fight of the night” bonus. This however did not lead to who was the better fighter. You cannot put two computers in a cage without letting them know who was the better and the stronger fighter. This resulted in heavy trash talk between the two women. Each would proclaim that she won and the judges were wrong. They would call out each other and both would express their desire for a rematch.
The women would finally get their wish as they clashed 6 months later at Invicta FC 3, where Smith would get the better of Kaitlyn by knocking her out in the 2nd round. The pair never saw a third encounter in the cage and there was no formal confirmation weather the bad blood had come to an end.
Rose Namajunas vs. Tecia Torres
Again a rivalry which began in the cage of Invicta FC, but unlike the earlier one did not see its end in there. Rose locked horns against Tecia at Invicta FC 6 in July 2013. The pair fought and the decision went to the judges, who named the bout in favor of “The Tiny Tornado”. “Thug” did not like the fact that she was robbed of her perfect record. Rose at many points had even said that she thought she won the fight and this resulted in a stressed relation between the two ladies.
The pair met 3 years later on UFC on FOX 19 and this time inside the UFC octagon. Tecia came up on the short end this time as the fight went to the judges “Thug’s” hand was raised. At the backstage interview Rose would again say that last time she thought she had won. The feud could see a trilogy but there has been no sign of a third octagon meet so far. But at the very same time it is unclear whether Tecia has taken her first career defeat lightly.
Cris Cyborg vs. Ronda Rousey
This is a feud which started when “Cyborg” tested positive for steroids. The two were a part of the same Strikeforce promotion at that time, and Rousey would call “Cyborg” a cheat and would tell people how she was the one they should look up to and not someone who took steroids. The pair at various points has taken huge digs at each other with Cyborg claiming Ronda was running from her, and which Rousey would retaliate by saying she would fight people who only were in her weight division.
After trying a lot Cyborg could not move down to 135-pounds and hence at various points has challenged Ronda to a super fight. With this she very recently posted a picture of how Rousey was running away from her. The women do hate each other but a match between them now seems like a wild teenage dream but the bad blood is as real as it could be.
Claudia Gadelha vs. Joanna Jędrzejczyk
On December 13, 2014, the great feud of Jędrzejczyk-Gadelha began. That night people saw one of the greatest fight between two undefeated mixed martial artists, two fighters who were feared for their style and dominance. Jędrzejczyk went on to win the fight with a razor thin split decision and this changed the shape of the entire division. The fight became one of the most controversial decisions in UFC history and was also considered among the biggest upsets in the UFC strawweight division. Claudia was everyone’s favorite and probably the deadliest strawweight; she had no competition. Everyone thought that Claudia was facing a “Polish nobody” but failed to realize this woman was a kickboxing world champion and had a super ground game defense. With high expectations from Gadelha people waited for the result but Joanna managed to win producing a great upset.
This resulted in a heated war of words between many Joanna-Claudia fans on various social media sites. The decision would continue to gain heat and the result was a women’s strawweight title eliminator match between Claudia Gadelha and former WSOF women strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar. The match took place at UFC 190 and Claudia smashed Jessica. Her punches had anger seeping through them and her dominating presence showed that Claudia had not taken the loss lightly. She went on to win the fight with a unanimous decision. This fight showed that she had returned and was deadlier than ever before. Joanna Jędrzejczyk and Claudia Gadelha would be announced as head coaches for The Ultimate Fighter season 23. They both will have their rematch at the finale of the season on July 8, 2016.
Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate
This one runs deep, both women have an uncanny hatred for each other. The feud which started way back in 2011, is far and wide one of the most popular feuds in the history of MMA. It started off when Rousey demanded a shot against Tate and claimed that she was particularly interested in facing “Cupcake” for the title. An injured Sarah Kaufman gave Rousey the chance she wanted, and Rousey vs. Tate would go on to serve as the main event for Strikeforce in March 2012. Prior to the match the two would lock horns at various points on social media with Tate saying Rousey did not deserve a title shot and was only there because she was pretty. Rousey would make comments on Miesha’s boyfriend Bryan Caraway by saying she could knock him out. This just added fuel to fire. The pair met at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Tate with Rousey submitting her via armbar in the first round.
The feud did not come to an end. Rousey and Tate would eventually coach the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter. The pair would meet again but this time in the octagon. Rousey shared her thoughts on facing Tate again and said:
“I’ve always respected Miesha as a fighter and an athlete. How we feel personally really has nothing to do with that. I think she’s entirely legit, but I don’t really feel bad about hitting her. It’s going to be really interesting for all of the fans who have kept up with [our] rivalry up to this point, and it will be really exciting for people who are learning of it for the first time. I’m actually honored to be coaching opposite her on the show, and I think this is really what was fated to happen. I’m really lucky to have a rival like her.”
Tate would too say that:
“We have our definite disagreements, but I give her credit for what she’s done and where she’s got in the sport of women’s MMA. Without her, I don’t think we’d be as far so I do value that. But at the same time, I feel like I’m right on her heels, and I want what she has. I want the UFC belt. I want my team to win the show, and I want to be able to say that at the end of the day—to look her in the face and say, ‘I’ve beaten Ronda Rousey.’ “
Tate and Rousey’s rivalry is credited with bringing women’s mixed martial arts to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, with UFC president Dana White confirming this during a 2012 interview. In 2013, EA Sports announced that Rousey and Tate were the first-ever female fighters selected for inclusion in a UFC video game. The two also appeared together on ESPN’s SportsCenter while promoting their rematch. In an interview with Yahoo!, Rousey stated, “I think people will look back at this as one of the monumental rivalries”, and as “one of those things that really cemented women’s MMA.”
The match would see Rousey winning again but this was not the end.
Rousey eventually lost her title to Holly Holm, who has now lost the title to Tate. Rousey has done everything to deserve an immediate shot at the title and there is a heavy possibility it might be Tate whom she faces. The bad blood is still continuing and this time to a more savage chapter.
All these women have been given the credit for the respectful position of women in the octagon. All these fighters have huge respect for each other but that does not mean they do not hate each other.
All women must fight.