We all have that one team in every sport, which has talented athletes, has been a part of every major league, has some of the most famous athletes on the team, but despite these facts is considered the weakest team altogether; this team is considered overrated by the masses but people who closely follow the sport know how talented and capable a team they are. The Women’s featherweight division in mixed martial arts stands as the perfect representation of this fact. The women’s 145-pound division is known for Cris Cyborg and she is so dominant as a champion that people think that there is no talent in the division.
Let me remind everybody that this was the same argument UFC president Dana White gave when he was asked about creating a women’s division in UFC. He said that it did not have depth and the very same thing is being said about the women’s featherweight division. To everyone who is thinks the division lacks talent, you are wrong. The women’s featherweight division is talented but they do not have a stage where they can represent themselves. The women of the featherweight division are scattered in promotions world-wide like Bellator, Invicta FC and regional promotions, but the UFC has the resources as well as the stage which can attract all these women and assemble a strong division which gives heavier women a chance to showcase their talent as well.
These women are underrated as whole and have managed to produce some of the most exciting matches in women’s MMA history, ranking these pioneers is a huge honor for me. Ranking these super women, here is PRO MMA NOW’s women featherweight ranking for August 2016. Kindly note that it is an attempt from PRO MMA NOW to establish and popularize women’s MMA and we have introduced the pattern of ranking all women’s weight classes. It is an attempt to make women’s MMA fans aware about new and talented fighters. If we have forgotten any fighter do let us know by commenting below.
1. Cris Cyborg (16-1, 1 NC)
Cyborg has established herself as the deadliest and the most dominating fighter in all of women’s MMA. She has throttled her opponents pretty easily; her list of victims include former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion and MMA pioneer Marloes Coenen, famed flyweight Vanesa Porto, ultra-tough Daria Imbragimova, women’s MMA pioneer Shayna Baszler, the first celebrity of women’s MMA Gina Carano, famous kickboxer Charmaine Tweet, MMA great Hiroko Yamanaka, and famed featherweight Faith Van Duin. Since making her UFC debut at UFC 198, people have understood how dangerous Cyborg is as she finished off Leslie Smith in just 81 seconds. The deadly striker is now set to clash Lina Lansberg in the main event of UFC fight night 95.
2. Julia Budd (8-2)
Julia has established herself as an elite featherweight. She started a career back in 2010 and since then has managed to rattle off some really good wins. She started her career back in Strikeforce and in her tenure in the company faced some of the best MMA fighters on the planet, managing some impressive victories including a win over multiple time kickboxing world champion Germaine De Randamie. Her only losses come to the decorated judoka and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and the current UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. Apart from all this she has been undefeated the past 4 years and has managed a super impressive six-fight win streak with victories over famed featherweight Charmaine Tweet, formerly undefeated Roberta Rovel, and respected featherweight Gabrielle Holloway. She was scheduled to face Marloes Coenen at Bellator 155, but had to pull out because of injury and since then there has been no update on her next fight.
3. Cindy Dandois (7-2)
Dandois is one of the most popular female featherweight fighters today. She made her debut back in 2009 and since then has impressed everyone time and again. Dandois debuted against Marloes Coenen and rattled off a huge upset as she stunned the former Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion. She continued her reign of dominance as she went on to defeat respected featherweight who recently challenged Cris Cyborg for the Invicta FC featherweight belt, Daria Ibragimova. Dandois very recently destroyed Jessamyn Duke. Apart from that she has defeated fellow ranked featherweight Megan Anderson and has now established herself as the best opponent for Cris Cyborg. The 31-year-old has already started a campaign for a match against Cris for the featherweight title but it seems she will have to rattle of another win before she gets a shot against her.
4. Megan Anderson (7-2)
Megan Anderson has gone on to become one of the most talked about featherweights in women’s MMA. Her last few performances have beyond doubt been very impressive. The Australian is on a three-fight win streak, with all of her wins coming via knockout. The 26-year-old who is now very keen on getting a title shot, has managed to rattle off an impressive resume by managing wins over rising featherweight Amber Leibrock, famed featherweight Amanda Bell, and former TUF 18 alumni Peggy Morgan. It is a matter of time before Anderson gets a title shot and keeping her last few fights under notice, she can definitely give tough competition to Cris Cyborg.
5. Alexis Dufresne (6-2)
When you need to explain coming out of nowhere, Alexis Dufresne’s managing to find a spot in these rankings is a perfect example. On Bellator 155 in her fight against Marloes Coenen “Sneaky Zebra” entered the Bellator MMA cage as a horrendous underdog. There were many reasons, first she was on a losing streak in the UFC and her losses came to low ranked bantamweights like Sarah Moraes and Maria Reneau. Secondly, she took the fight on a very short notice but when she entered the cage in May 2016 Alexis made it pretty clear that she had got in to get her hand raised. She produced the biggest upset of the featherweight division for 2016 as she destroyed Marloes Coenen in the very first round forcing her to tap her to a vicious triangle armbar. Since then there has not been any update on her next fight.
6. Marloes Coenen (23-7)
Many will be surprised by the rank given to Marloes in these ranking but if you are closely following her recent matches you will know why. Coenen is a women’s MMA pioneer and has had a career of over 16 years in which she has managed some very impressive wins. The list includes former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman, former UFC bantamweight title challenger Liz Carmouche, and TUF vet Roxanne Modafferi. The famed featherweight also headlined the first ever Invicta FC event. Despite these facts “Rumina’s” recent stunning loss to Alexis Dufresne pushes her down, and the most horrible part about this loss is the fact that Alexis took the fight on an extremely short notice. Coenen is now looking for a rematch with Alexis so she can get back in the title picture.
7. Charmaine Tweet (9-5)
“Not So Sweet” stands as one of the most dominating featherweight fighters in women’s MMA. This might come to a surprise to many people but if you take a close look at her career you will come to know that most of her losses come to some of the best women MMA fighters of all time, like former Strikeforce and UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, popular and respected featherweight Julia Budd, and former Strikeforce and current Invicta FC featherweight champion Cris Cyborg. She is now on a three-fight win streak since falling to Cyborg back in Feb 2015.
8. Latoya Walker (5-1)
Walker ended up on the wrong side of the spinning back fist of Charmaine Tweet at Invicta FC 17; this strike crumbled the perfect record of Latoya Walker. “Black Mamba” holds victories over TUF 18 vet Peggy Morgan, famed featherweight Anita Rodriguez and current Bellator featherweight Gabrielle Holloway. The 36-year-old has not announced any bout so far but after this humiliating loss Walker will definitely return way more deadly than she ever was.
9. Daria Ibragimova ( 9-2)
Ibragimova succumbed to deadly Cris Cyborg in the very first round of their January encounter, and since then “Immortal” has not been on any fight radar. The 32-year-old however holds one of the most impressive MMA records in the featherweight division. Of her two losses one comes at the hands of division elite “Cyborg” and the other at the hands of top contender Cindy Dandois. Before locking horns with “Cyborg” Daria was on a seven-fight win streak and with a record this impressive she might only need a pair of victories before she gets back in the title picture.
10. Faith Van Duin (6-2)
“Immortal” has managed to bounce back from her loss to “Cyborg” by defeating Charlene Watt on June 27th at Brace 41 in New Zealand. Watt had been on a five-fight winning streak coming into the fight. The former Invicta FC title challenger stands with an impressive MMA record with wins over Bellator MMA fighter Arlene Blencowe, featherweight elite Kate Da Silva, and Invicta FC fighter Amanda Bell. The 30-year-old New Zealander has been far and wide regarded as one of the most popular and talented featherweights in women’s MMA. Hopefully we’ll hear about her next opponent in the near future.
All women must fight,