Whenever a strong and dominant ruler falls he leaves a state of confusion and chaos which is accompanied by void which destroys the kingdom which he built and his reign is forgotten. Right now the bantamweight represents the perfect state of chaos and confusion, a period which we all knew was coming. Ronda was that one strong and dominant ruler, she fell and since then the division is pretty messed up. We have seen three champions since Rousey fell and she lost just nine months ago. The women bantamweights are now running wild and almost every fighter claims they deserve a shot at the title. Ranking these fighters will be a tough job and when you have way too many deserving contenders there will be a difference of opinions, do express your thoughts but remember that none of these rankings are biased.
1. Amanda Nunes (13-4)
On July 9th Nunes entered the octagon as an underdog against Miesha Tate but the Brazilian “Lioness” made it pretty clear that she was not someone to mess around with. She forced “Cupcake” to tap out in the very first round, but not before bloodying her up and breaking her nose with her punches. The 28-year-old has now claimed the title of being the best female bantamweight fighter in the world and defeating Tate is not the only bragging right Nunes has. Nunes holds victories over highly decorated fighters including Olympic silver medal winner Sara McMann, whom she dismantled in the very first round by forcing her to tap out, rising contender who defeated Holly Holm in her last fight Valentina Shevchenko, undefeated kickboxer Germaine De Randamie, and known women’s MMA pioneer and legend Shayna Baszler. These victories make up a super strong resume and hence Amanda has earned the right to be ranked as the best women’s MMA bantamweight fighter in the world.
2. Miesha Tate (18-6)
Miesha entered the octagon as favorite at UFC 200 but she failed to keep the gold around her waist as she succumbed to the vicious onslaught of Amanda Nunes. Despite losing her title Miesha still stands as one of the best female MMA fighters on the planet; she holds some really credible victories, and apart from Holly, stands as the only woman to take the fight beyond first round against Ronda Rousey. Apart from that Miesha holds wins over former title challenger Liz Carmouche, world class wrestler Sara McMann, famous striker Jessica Eye, former Pancrase champion Rin Nakai, WMMA legend Julie Kedzie, and top ranked featherweight Marloes Coenen. Tate is a former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion and is credited for being one of the pioneers who were responsible for acceptance of women’s MMA in mainstream media. For now the future of “Cupcake” is not clear but she is known for rising from losses and coming back stronger than ever.
3. Julianna Pena (8-2)
Julianna has established herself as the strongest and the worthiest competitor for the UFC women’s bantamweight title. She has been undefeated since 2013 and has managed a four-fight win streak. She started off in The Ultimate Fighter as an underdog and fighting against the odds she managed to win the reality series. Pena is the only fighter in the top 5, apart from Amanda, who has been on a winning streak, with victories over multiple time boxing world champ Jessica Rakoczy, popular and ranked bantamweight Jessica Eye, and most recently her stunning upset over former title challenger Cat Zingano. Though she may not have a perfect record, “The Venezuelan Vixen” did avenge her loss to Sarah Moras during the TUF 18 series. Pena may currently be the most underrated women’s bantamweight fighter on the UFC roster and could find herself in title contention very soon.
4. Valentina Shevchenko (13-2)
Valentina was expected to suffer a one-sided beating when she entered her bout against Holly Holm at UFC on FOX 20 on July 23rd. It looked like “Bullet” had something else planned as she outstruck, took down and punched “The Preacher’s Daughter” for four rounds to earn a unanimous decision victory. Valentina right now stands with a UFC record of 2-1, with her only loss coming to Amanda Nunes, a fight according to many Valentina could have won. The former multiple time kickboxing world champ, who also happens to hold a victory over Joanna Jędrzejczyk, has established herself as a divisional elite. Apart from that she also holds victories over other strong contenders like former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman and former Strikeforce featherweight title challenger Jan Finney. “Bullet” could be in title contention soon but she does face strong opposition from fellow bantamweight Julianna Pena and this could possibly lead to a huge and critical clash in the near future.
5. Holly Holm (10-2)
Holly stunned the world at UFC 193 by knocking out Rousey with a brutal head kick and now nine months later she stands with a two-fight losing streak. Earlier this year “The Preacher’s Daughter” lost her perfect record as she was choked to sleep by Miesha Tate, and now she has fallen to rising contender Valentina Shevchenko. These losses will definitely have a huge impact on the career of Holm. Currently Holm is on the sidelines recovering from a broken arm and it looks like we won’t be seeing “The Preacher’s Daughter” back in the octagon for some time.
6. Ronda Rousey (12-1)
Ronda Rousey’s dominating reign came to a brutal end when she was knocked out by Holly Holm on UFC 193. Since falling last November Rousey has not announced her return to the cage yet, but has definitely shown signs of returning in interviews and posting videos and photos on social media. “Rowdy” stands as one of the most dominating female champions the UFC has ever seen and since she fell none of her successors have managed to defend it a single time. Ronda has in the past finished all her opponents and beaten some of the best female competitors the MMA world has seen. Her list of victims include former Strikeforce and UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, Strikeforce bantamweight champion Sarah Kaufman, the deadly Cat Zingano, Olympic silver medal winner Sara McMann, and the heavily underrated Alexis Davis. It is unclear when Ronda will return but when she does she will likely get a immediate and thoroughly earned shot to recapture the title.
7. Tonya Evinger (18-5)
Tonya stands as the most dominating women’s bantamweight champion in MMA today. Having defended her Invicta FC title against fellow MMA veteran Coleen Schneider, Tonya stands as one of the most dangerous and talented fighters who has not fought in the UFC. With her last loss coming back in 2011, “Triple Threat” has managed an impressive nine-fight win streak in which she has managed to defeat top ranked featherweight Cindy Dandois, highly respected lightweight Sarah D’Alelio, fellow MMA veteran Ediane Gomes, sensational women’s bantamweight (who was undefeated until Evinger faced her) Pannie Kianzad, and respected bantamweight Irene Aldana.
8. Cat Zingano (9-2)
Cat Zingano returned after a long break to the octagon against Julianna Pena at UFC 200, a fight which was expected to be a huge return for the former title challenger but it did not turn out as it was supposed to. “Alpha” dominated Pena for the first round but succumbed to Pena’s power the rest of the rounds as she was out grappled by The Ultimate Fighter season 18 winner. Zingano is definitely one of the best women MMA fighters in the world today but if she wants a title shot she will have to work a lot. Despite being on a losing streak, Zingano stands with victories over former champion Miesha Tate, current champion Amanda Nunes, top ranked flyweight Barb Honchak, and rising contender Raquel Pennington. The 34-year-old is yet to announce another match but from her social media posts it looks like she will fight again is 2016.
9. Sara McMann (9-3)
Sara has at last managed to bounce back since losing her perfect record to Ronda Rousey. The Olympic Silver Medal winner won a very controversial split decision against Lauren Murphy in Jan. 2015. This was followed by a losing streak of two matches in which she dropped a unanimous verdict against former champion Miesha Tate and succumbed to Amanda Nunes in the very first round by tapping out to a vicious rear naked choke. Sara though has managed to bounce back from these upsetting losses by dominating Jessica Eye for a duration of 15 minutes in her last bout on May 29. McMann is now angling a fight against a top contender but it is not clear as yet whether she will get one.
10. Raquel Pennington (7-5)
Raquel stands as one of the most dominating strikers in the bantamweight division. Unlike Holly or Valentina, “Rocky” is not a counter-puncher but is someone who is known to unleash herself on her opponents. On April 16th, Raquel lived up to her fame as she defeated former title challenger Bethe Correia, picking up arguably the biggest win of her career. Raquel also stands with victories over Ashlee-Evans Smith and top-ranked strawweight Jessica Andrade among others. She is now scheduled to face Elizabeth Philips on UFC 202.
Remember everybody all women must fight.
Let the game of supreme power now begin.