With the growing popularity of women’s MMA, it is important to recognize these women with a rankings system similar to the men.

Between the UFC’s inclusion of a bantamweight division and the all-female promotion of Invicta FC, more and more women are being exposed to casual and hardcore fans alike.

Every month, The MMA Corner’s Riley Kontek will compile the staff’s individual rankings from featherweight to atomweight to create The MMA Corner Women’s MMA Rankings.

Last month’s rankings are indicated by the number in parentheses next to the fighter’s name.

Featherweight Division (145 pounds)

  1. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (1)

    "Cyborg" is expected to fight at Invicta 7 (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

  2. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Ediane Gomes (3)
  4. Julia Budd (4)
  5. Romy Ruyssen (5)
  6. Elaina Maxwell (6)
  7. Veronica Rothenhausler (7)
  8. Tamikka Brents (8)
  9. Gabrielle Holloway (9)
  10. Peggy Morgan (10)
  11. Fiona Muxlow (11)
  12. Pannie Kianzad (12)
  13. Ashley Sanchez (13)
  14. Charmaine Tweet (14)
  15. Ashlee Evans-Smith (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: N/A

The rankings stay put after last month, but it was a calm before the storm. The 145-pound division is possibly the lightest on talent and is looking for stars to make their mark. Peggy Morgan is likely to drop to 135 pounds after The Ultimate Fighter concludes. Morgan defeated Bethany Marshall to get into the house, but that is viewed as an exhibition match. Pannie Kianzad is scheduled to throw down in October, albeit at a 140-pound catchweight, against Russian veteran Milana Dudieva. The Swede stormed onto the rankings with her 3-0 record, dominating the competition. This is her biggest fight to date, so we will see if she is for real or needs more work. The biggest fight of the month at 145 pounds may belong to Ashlee Evans-Smith, who meets the controversial Fallon Fox at CFA 12 in the promotion’s featherweight tournament final. A win for the prospect could launch her up the rankings significantly.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)

  1. Ronda Rousey (1)

    Nakai scored a big win over LaRosa (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

  2. Cat Zingano (2)
  3. Sara McMann (3)
  4. Miesha Tate (4)
  5. Sarah Kaufman (5)
  6. Alexis Davis (6)
  7. Liz Carmouche (7)
  8. Shayna Baszler (8)
  9. Lauren Taylor (9)
  10. Rin Nakai (13)
  11. Sarah D’Alelio (10)
  12. Germaine de Randamie (11)
  13. Amanda Nunes (12)
  14. Miriam Nakamoto (14)
  15. Jessica Andrade (15)/Holly Holm (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: N/A

The most popular women’s division is currently benefiting from some great fights from TUF. Borderline-ranked fighters such as Jessamyn Duke are making a name for themselves in the mainstream with the intent of pushing themselves not only into the UFC, but the top-15 rankings. Rin Nakai made a nice move up the rankings with her biggest career victory over Tara LaRosa. Despite falling behind early to the women’s MMA pioneer, Nakai battled back and took a majority decision, effectively cracking the top 10. The UFC is set to put on a couple of women’s fights this month, as top-five fighter Sarah Kaufman meets third-ranked flyweight Jessica Eye. Then there’s Rosi Sexton, who will welcome Jessica Andrade to England later in the month in a crucial showdown for both ladies. Holly Holm looks to separate herself from the pack when she takes on late replacement Nikki Knudsen. Holm is undefeated in four pro bouts, with all wins coming via knockout. Obviously, this will be a big month for the bantamweights.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)

  1. Barb Honchak (1)

    Faria (top) is making noise in the division (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Jessica Eye (3)
  4. Leslie Smith (4)
  5. Jennifer Maia (5)
  6. Michelle Ould (6)
  7. Zoila Gurgel (9)
  8. Munah Holland (10)
  9. Kalindra Faria (12)
  10. Aisling Daly (11)
  11. Tonya Evinger (7)
  12. Marianna Kheyfets (13)
  13. Brenda Gonzales (14)
  14. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (15)
  15. Julia Berezikova (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Tara LaRosa (8)

The flyweight division has seen the middle of the rankings take a big shakeup. Tara LaRosa moved up to 135 pounds for TUF, but failed to make the house when she lost to Sarah Moras. She then went over to Japan and fought Rin Nakai, again remaining at bantamweight. LaRosa took a decision loss there. Tonya Evinger saw a similar fate as LaRosa, failing to make the TUF house when she lost to Raquel Pennington. The darkhorse of the division has to be Kalindra Faria, who will fight for the MMA Super Heroes tournament championship when she takes on Juliana Aguiar. Faria is 4-0 in 2013, finishing all four of her opponents, including Aline Sattelmayer and Carina Damm. She has made the biggest leap up the rankings in 2013 and can move closer to the top five with a quality performance against Aguiar.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)

  1. Jessica Aguilar (1)

    Aguilar (R) will look to best Fujii once again (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

  2. Megumi Fujii (2)
  3. Carla Esparza (3)
  4. Claudia Gadelha (4)
  5. Joanne Calderwood (5)
  6. Ayaka Hamasaki (6)
  7. Katja Kankaanpaa (7)
  8. Tecia Torres (8)
  9. Mizuki Inoue (9)
  10. Felice Herrig (10)
  11. Bec Hyatt (11)
  12. Rose Namajunas (12)
  13. Stephanie Eggink (13)
  14. Yuka Tsuji (14)
  15. Mei Yamaguchi (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: N/A

XFC 25 provided us with a new champion in the world of women’s MMA when Stephanie Eggink defeated Angela Magana. It was a dominating performance that saw Eggink finish her opponent with a picture-perfect triangle choke. It was her biggest career win and solidified her top-15 ranking. A woman bordering the rankings is Karolina Kowalkiewicz, a Polish fighter who is undefeated and beat atomweight Simona Soukupova, albeit on short notice. It was arguably the fight of the night at KSW 24, as Kowalkiewicz took a unanimous decision. Mei Yamaguchi gets her chance to move back up the rankings when she takes on Patricia Vidonic at PXC 40 in Guam. Plus, Megumi Fujii will fight in her retirement bout in October when she rematches Jessica Aguilar, who beat the Japanese legend last year in Bellator. It will be a great sendoff for the women’s MMA pioneer and longtime top fighter.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)

  1. Michelle Waterson (1)

    Ham will look to cement her place in the ranking in October (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

  2. Jessica Penne (2)
  3. Seo Hee Ham (3)
  4. Lisa Ellis (4)
  5. Simona Soukupova (5)
  6. Lacey Schuckman (6)
  7. Naho Sugiyama (7)
  8. Alex Chambers (8)
  9. Cassie Rodish (9)
  10. Jodie Esquibel (10)
  11. Stephanie Frausto (11)
  12. Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (12)
  13. Amy Davis (13)
  14. Sadae Numata (14)
  15. Amber Brown (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: N/A

The atomweight division was pretty dormant in September. The one fight of note saw Tessa Simpson come out of hiding to take on rising star Paulina Granados, who she beat in a one-sided decision. The division will remain quiet until Invicta 7 announces its December card, but the one fight we can look forward to at 105 pounds comes in November when Sadae Numata takes on third-ranked Seo Hee Ham. It is a crucial bout that could really shape up an atomweight division that is still in its early stages of development.

Top Photo: Bantamweight Holly Holm will look to climb the rankings in the Legacy FC cage (Wilson Fox/Sherdog)

About The Author

Riley Kontek
Staff Writer

Riley Kontek is a Chicago-land native that has been an addict of mixed martial arts since the first Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz encounter. He has been writing on MMA for the last year and is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report MMA. In addition to that, he used to host a weekly radio show on MMA. Though he has no formal training in mixed martial arts, Riley is a master in the art of hockey fighting.