Updated World Strawweight Rankings (Top 30)

The most stacked division by far on the women’s scene is the 115 pound weight-class. Since the UFC installed the division it has attracted much attention and has drawn talent from both 105 and 125. Due to this division being so deep expect more fighters competing outside of the UFC to be ranked in the future. For this reason I have decided to extend this month’s rankings to get fans better familiar with some of the lesser known fighters in a position to make some noise going forward.

There are a couple of changes from last week’s edition. Joanna Jędrzejczyk kept her unbeaten record in tact with a dominant victory over Andrade at UFC 211. Also over the weekend, Corteny Casey picked up the biggest win of her career, outpointing JAG in an impressive showing. The win was enough to move her up to the #8 spot, already holding a quick submission victory over Randa Markos.

Top Strawweights (106.1-116lbs):
1 Joanna Jędrzejczyk (13-0-0)
2 Claudia Gadelha (14-2-0)
3 Jéssica Andrade (16-5-0)
4 Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1-0)
5 Rose Namajunas (6-3-0)
6 Maryna Moroz (8-1-0)
7 Carla Esparza (11-4-0)
8 Cortney Casey (7-4-0)
9 Randa Markos (7-4-0)
10 Tecia Torres (8-1-0)

Debuting in the UFC at 6-0 Jedrzejczyk has kept her perfect record in tact over seven fights inside of the octagon, notching wins over many of the top strawweihts in the world. Namajunas picked up a solid win over Michelle Waterson but the victory did little for her standing in the division. Randa Markos started 2017 off with a bang bye picking up the biggest win of her career. A February decision victory over former UFC champion Carla Esparza.

Top Contenders:
11 Angela Hill (6-3-0)
12 Livia Renata Souza (10-1-0)
13 Jessica Aguilar (19-6-0)
14 Joanne Calderwood (11-2-0)
15 Viviane Pereira (12-0-0)
16 Weili Zhang (11-1-0)
17 Justine Kish (6-0-0)
18 Michelle Waterson (14-5-0)
19 Felice Herrig (12-6-0)
20 Alexa Grasso (9-1-0)

Livia Renata Souza finds herself near the top of the contenders listing with an impressive first round stoppage of Ayaka Hamasaki in March. China’s Weili Zhang may be the most promising and active prospect on the WMMA scene. Since dropping her first professional fight she has gone 11-0 with 5 submission and 6 TKO victories to her name. Her most notable win was a historic one, becoming the first woman in 29 fights to stop Japanese star Emi Fujino. Danielle Taylor sneaks up the ranks by outpointing Jessica Penne in her last outing.

Extended Contenders:
21 Danielle Taylor (9-2-0)
22 Virna Jandiroba (11-0-0)
23 Mizuki Inoue (12-4-0)
24 Juliana Lima (9-3-0)
25 Paige Vanzant (7 -3-0)
26 Synthia Calvillo (5-0-0)
27 Jessica Penne (12-5-0)
28 Marina Rodriguez (7-0-0)
29 Angela Lee (7-0-0)
30 Kinberly Novaes (9-2-0)

Jandiroba picked up a solid win over former UFC fighter Ericka Almeida at Fight 2 Night 2. With an unbeaten 11-0 mark as a professional she may have punched her ticket to the big leagues with the win. Once considered to be among the elite at both 105 and 115 pounds Jessica Penne has dropped her last 3 bouts, 2 of which in brutal fashion. She could find herself outside of the listing due to movements within the division and may want to return to Atomweight at some point. Kinberly Novaes looks to move up from the #30 spot with a win at Pancrase later this month. She already holds a victory over UFC title challenger Jéssica Andrade.

Valerie Letourneau was removed from the 115 pound standings after being signed to Bellator. She will be returning to flyweight for the promotion.

Fights To Watch:
-#29 Angela Lee vs #33 Istela Souza, ONE Championship, May 26
-#30 Kinberly Novaes vs #44 Syuri Kondo, Pancrase 287, May 28

World WMMA Rankings: Flyweight (Top 20)

Finally the 125 pounders are getting some love. Bellator has announced that it will crown its first champion in the flyweight division later this year. This will be the promotion’s second attempt after a failed run under former president Bjorn Rebney. Bellator already has a stable of quality fighters competing at 125, but they haven’t stopped adding new faces to the young but promising division. Their most recent signings include former UFC fighter Valerie Letourneau and 5-0 prospect Juliana Velasquez, who will be dropping 10 pounds to try her luck in the Bellator cage. She was ranked #17 at bantamweight before the announcement.

In a somewhat unexpected development the UFC has also announced that it will be adding the flyweight division, making it the twelfth weight-class and fourth women’s division to be promoted under the UFC banner. Some may be wondering what will happen to Invicta FC as they only promote one category that the UFC has not touched yet, Atomweight. The organization has also lost most of its top talent to competing bodies. Once the premier platform for female athletes to compete and raise their value in a changing market, it appears that Invicta may not be as necessary as it once was. While it remains a solid place for talent development expect any top prospect or champion to be snatched up by the major players in MMA.

Many fighters have been pushing for the UFC to install the flyweight division, including Joanne Calderwood who is the only fighter currently on the UFC roster to compete at 125 for the promotion. Claudia Gadelha is most likely happy about the news. The BJJ world champion has dropped two close decisions to Joanna Jędrzejczyk and avoided competing on TUF 20 to crown the inaugural strawweight champion, due to the tough cut down to 115 pounds. Joanna Jędrzejczyk has been the main fighter pushing for the division. If her comments on Facebook earlier this week were any indication you should expect to see her vying for a second title later this year or early 2018.

I have been hearing many high-profile analysts commenting on the decision to bring 125 into the UFC. Some take the stance that it is not a deep enough category to have a place on the big show. I feel that this take is illinformed. I too had my reservations in the past about the move, thinking that it would take too much from 115 and 135 as it sits between both divisions. These days I am not as hesitant to get on board with the idea. The talent pool in all three categories has grown, even with fighters moving up and down. Now is the right time for flyweight.

Critics of the decision stating that there is not enough talent probably couldn’t name 8 fighters competing at 125, so their opinion is not an educated one. They are probably not aware that strawweight and bantamweight both have barrowed fighters from the weight-class. Such fighters as Chookagian, Correia, Zingano, Peña, Jędrzejczyk, Calderwood, Gadelha and others have all competed and done some of their best work at 125. Most of them were ranked in the top 5 before being signed to Invicta or the UFC. Even with all of that talent leaving the division it is at the very least as strong as bantamweight.

I believe that 115 and 125 are the only two divisions on the women’s circuit that has enough talent to support rosters in both the UFC and Bellator. Saying that flyweight is not deep enough for the UFC is an extremely weak argument to make. Either way, let’s get to your flyweight standings.

After viewing the standings you may be wondering why Anastasia Yankova does not appear in either listing. Similar to Janaisa Morandin at atomweight Yankova has not consistently made 125 pounds. In fact, she has missed weight in her last 3 showings, and has never made the flyweight limit under the Bellator banner. If she was eligible to be ranked Yankova would come in around 22, just outside of the top 20. Again, popularity should not play a role in how high someone is ranked. I have noticed that some have her ranked but I feel it is not only disrespectful to the fighters who actually make weight but it is irresponsible journalism.

Top Flyweights (116.1-126lbs):
1 Jennifer Maia (14-4-1)
2 Vanessa Porto (18-7-0)
3 Roxanne Modafferi (20-13-0)
4 Ariane Lipski (8-3-0)
5 Ilima-lei MacFarlane (6-0-0)
6 Rin Nakai (19-2-1)
7 Sarah D’Alelio (11-6-0)
8 Marilia Santos (8-1-0)
9 Agnieszka NiedzWiedz (9-0-0)
10 Juliete Silva (7-2-0)

Top Contenders:
11 Rebecca Ruth (6-2-0)
12 Simone Duarte (4-0-0)
13 Daiane Firmino (7-2-0)
14 Lena Ovchynnikova (12-4-0)
15 Isabelly Varela (7-2-0)
16 Andrea Lee (6-2-0)
17 Emily Ducote (5-2-0)
18 Brogan Walker (4-0-0)
19 Sabina Mazo (3-0-0)
20 Kate Da Silva (10-4-0)

Fights To Watch:
-#2 Vanessa Porto vs #9 Agnieszka NiedzWiedz Invicta FC 23, May 20th
-#3 Roxanne Modafferi vs #7 Sarah D’alelio Invicta FC 23, May 20th
-#4 Ariane Lipski vs #22 Diana Belbita KSW 39, May 27th

World Strawweight Rankings (Extended Edition)

The most stacked division by far on the women’s scene is the 115 pound weight-class. Since the UFC installed the division it has attracted much attention and has drawn talent from both 105 and 125. Due to this division being so deep expect more fighters competing outside of the UFC to be ranked in the future. For this reason I have decided to extend this month’s rankings to get fans better familiar with some of the lesser known fighters in a position to make some noise going forward.

Top Strawweights (106.1-116lbs):
1 Joanna Jędrzejczyk (13-0-0)
2 Claudia Gadelha (14-2-0)
3 Jéssica Andrade (16-5-0)
4 Karolina Kowalkiewicz (10-1-0)
5 Rose Namajunas (6-3-0)
6 Maryna Moroz (8-1-0)
7 Carla Esparza (11-4-0)
8 Jessica Aguilar (19-5-0)
9 Randa Markos (7-4-0)
10 Tecia Torres (8-1-0)

Debuting in the UFC at 6-0 Jedrzejczyk has kept her perfect record in tact over seven fights inside of the octagon, notching wins over three of the top 10 strawweights in the world. The undisputed queen of the weight-class will put her title on the line at UFC 211 on May 13th against fast rising challenger Jéssica Andrade. Namajunas picked up a solid win over Michelle Waterson but the victory did little for her standing in the division. Randa Markos started 2017 off with a bang bye picking up the biggest win of her career. A February decision victory over former UFC champion Carla Esparza.

Top Contenders:
11 Angela Hill (6-3-0)
12 Livia Renata Souza (10-1-0)
13 Joanne Calderwood (11-2-0)
14 Viviane Pereira (12-0-0)
15 Weili Zhang (11-1-0)
16 Justine Kish (6-0-0)
17 Michelle Waterson (14-5-0)
18 Felice Herrig (12-6-0)
19 Alexa Grasso (9-1-0)
20 Danielle Taylor (9-2-0)

Livia Renata Souza finds herself near the top of the contenders listing with an impressive first round stoppage of Ayaka Hamasaki in March. China’s Weili Zhang may be the most promising and active prospect on the WMMA scene. Since dropping her first professional fight she has gone 11-0 with 5 submission and 6 TKO victories to her name. Her most notable win was a historic one, becoming the first woman in 29 fights to stop Japanese star Emi Fujino. Danielle Taylor sneaks up the ranks by outpointing Jessica Penne in her last outing.

Extended Contenders:
21 Virna Jandiroba (11-0-0)
22 Mizuki Inoue (12-4-0)
23 Juliana Lima (9-3-0)
24 Paige Vanzant (7 -3-0)
25 Cortney Casey (6-4-0)
26 Cynthia Calvillo (5-0-0)
27 Jessica Penne (12-5-0)
28 Marina Rodriguez (7-0-0)
29 Angela Lee (7-0-0)
30 Kinberly Novaes (9-2-0)

Jandiroba picked up a solid win over former UFC fighter Ericka Almeida at Fight 2 Night 2. With an unbeaten 11-0 mark as a professional she may have punched her ticket to the big leagues with the win. Once considered to be among the elite at both 105 and 115 pounds Jessica Penne has dropped her last 3 bouts, 2 of which in brutal fashion. She could find herself outside of the listing due to movements within the division and may want to return to Atomweight at some point. Kinberly Novaes looks to move up from the #30 spot with a win at Pancrase later this month. She already holds a victory over UFC title challenger Jéssica Andrade.

Valerie Letourneau was removed from the 115 pound standings after being signed to Bellator. She will be returning to flyweight for the promotion.

Fights To Watch:
-#1 Joanna Jędrzejczyk vs #3 Jéssica Andrade UFC 211, May 13
-#8 Jessica Aguilar vs #25 Cortney Casey UFC 211, May 13
-#29 Angela Lee vs #33 Istela Nunes, ONE Championship, May 26
-#30 Kinberly Novaes vs #44 Syuri Kondo, Pancrase 287, May 28

World Atomweight Rankings (Top 20)

The Atomweight division is one of the hardest lists to compile due to many reasons. Among them are issues such as inconsistent fights at the weight and ranked fighters like Yamaguchi, Waterson and Penne leaving the division to return to Strawweight. There is also the issue of many 105 pound athletes competing on the regional circuit, not being contracted by major organizations. This makes it harder for even the most educated journalist to present an accurate picture because there is bound to be a fighter here and there that deserves to be ranked. Atomweight is not as dependent on ranked opposition as most other weight-classes. You really have to be in the know and passionate about the sport to tackle a subject such as this one.

The rankings you will find here are in no way affiliated with the Unified WMMA rankings (UWMMAR) or any other sites that hosts lists such as these. While those journalists do a solid job of putting together lists every month I feel that at times it becomes a popularity contest. MY rankings will at times look drastically different from others you may see. A perfect example would be Janaisa Morandin. You will find that she is widely considered to be a top 10 fighter in the division but the talented Brazilian is unranked in the top 20 of my Atomweight compilation, for legitimate reasons. Morandin has compiled a perfect 9-0 record in her career thus far, but has only made the atomweight limit once as a professional. Janaisa’s resume also lacks meat as “Evil Princess” has yet to face a ranked fighter from either division. She is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on, but not quite ready to be ranked.

These rankings also go a little deeper than others you may find elsewhere. In my almost ten years of doing this I have realized that fans many times like to understand the bigger picture. My goal is to keep fans informed without overwhelming them with information. Generally these lists will consist of the top 10 ranked fighters in a particular division as well as a bottom 10 contenders list. This will make a total of 20 ranked fighters, not the typical 10 you may be used to. From time to time I may extend the listing for a post or two if there is reason for it, such as a lot of movement in the weight-class or prospects I feel should be recognized. This also keeps the author honest and unlikely to rank out of emotion. Many times I’ve noticed fighters jumping all over the place in other compilations without any explanation. I hope this approach will keep my readers from feeling lost.

Top Atomweights:
1 Ayaka Hamasaki (14-2-0)
2 Mina Kurobe (10-2-0)
3 Jinh Yu Frey (5-2-0)
4 Herica Tiburcio (10-4-0)
5 Julia Jones (5-0-0)
6 Naho Sugiyama (12-5-0)
7 Tessa Simpson (5-1-0)
8 Kyra Batara (5-4-0)
9 Paulina Granados (4-2-0)
10 Silvania Monteiro (7-2-0)

AT first glance some may be wondering why Hamasaki is still at the top of the division. While she was blitzed in the first round by former Invicta FC 115 pound Queen Livia Renata Souza back in March the fight was contested at Strawweight and has no bearing on the Atomweight division. Ayaka remains the Invicta FC 105 pound champion. The most notable move thus far in 2017 was Mina Kurobe jumping to the #2 slot. One of the most active fighters in the division, Kurobe flew up the ladder of contenders on the back of a five fight win streak. Among those victories are triumphs over #21 Ishioka, #15 Maesawa and the #6 ranked Sugiyama, who handed Kurobe her last defeat.

Top Contenders:
11 Tatiane Bergamaschi (6-1-0)
12 Andy Nguyen (5-3-0)
13 Sheila Padilla (3-1-0)
14 Jenny Silverio (4-2-0)
15 Tomo Maesawa (7-6-0)
16 Ashley Cummins (5-3-0)
17 Alyssa Garcia (3-3-0)
18 Kanna Asakura (7-2-0)
19 Amber Brown (6-4-0)
20 Emi Tomimatsu (12-12-0)

The bottom half of the division is a little more chaotic as much of the contenders have been alternating wins and losses over the last year or so. Bergamaschi dropped several spots after being submitted by Bianca Sattelmayer which allowed the latter to move up to the #22 spot. Nguyen, Padilla and Cummins picked up signature wins to claim their spots on the contenders list. Once ranked as high as #6 Amber Brown has fallen on hard times as of late. The Bully is struggling to stay ranked after dropping her last three contests.

2017 May be the year of the atomweights, or at the very least the year of the return. WMMARankings.com has reported that the 105 pound Grand Prix which is expected to take place under the RIZIN banner this summer has interested many fighters. Lisa Ellis and Alyssa Garcia have both made it known that they have their sights set on participating in the tournament. Seo Hee Ham will also be making a return to the division after an unsuccessful stint in the UFC. Ham was ranked in the top 5 before vacating the weight-class for the bright lights of the octagon.

Fights To Watch:
– #2 Mina Kurobe vs Seo Hee Ham Road FC 39, May 20
– #3 Herica Tiburcio vs #7 Tessa Simpson Invicta FC 23, May 20