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. Some women were taken out of the rankings due to an 18-month or longer period of inactivity.

Featherweight Division (145 pounds)

  1. Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino (1)

    Evans-Smith (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

    Evans-Smith (Keith Mills/Sherdog)

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

The 145-pound division loses three fighter from the rankings due to inactivity, but three other ladies jockeyed for position with big wins in the month. The most newsworthy of those victories came from Ashlee Evans-Smith, who stopped the controversial Fallon Fox with strikes to win the Championship Fighting Alliance featherweight title. Her wrestling attack make her a top prospect and a threat in the division. Pannie Kianzad, who is experimenting with a drop to bantamweight, took a catchweight bout in October over Milana Dudieva, a noted Russian that will greatly improve the Swede’s resume. A fellow Swede of Kianzad, Elina Nilsson, shot into the rankings with a catchweight bout of her own in which she dominated Zarah dos Santos. Next month looks like a quiet one for the division, but things are likely to get far more interesting going forward.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)

  1. Ronda Rousey (1)

    Eye (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

    Eye (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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

The bantamweight division continues to be the hottest weight class for the ladies, mostly due to the attention it has been given by the UFC. Jessica Eye storms onto the bantamweight rankings after making the move to the UFC from the flyweight division. She put herself in the top five with a win of former top-five fighter Sarah Kaufman, who still sits comfortably at seven. Holly Holm, who reportedly cannot seem to find opponents willing to fight her, won via a vicious knockout in Legacy FC over Nikki Knudsen. Jessica Andrade, who fell out of the rankings but remains on the fringe, won in dominating fashion with a beatdown of Rosi Sexton. Moving forward into November, Alexis Davis and Liz Carmouche are going to throwdown in a key bantamweight bout in the UFC. On that same card, Germaine de Randamie meets Amanda Nunes in what could be an all-out striking war.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)

  1. Barb Honchak (1)

    Faria (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

    Faria (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog)

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

With Jessica Eye and Marianna Kheyfets out of the rankings, the flyweight division has made some major changes. Nobody in the top 15 competed this month, but this is the calm before the storm. Invicta FC 7 was finally announced this month, and we saw a couple bouts materialize. Top talents Barb Honchak and Leslie Smith will meet for Honchak’s gold belt. Smith, a former bantamweight, earned her title shot after a successful drop and a victory over Jennifer Maia. Also on that card is a high-profile bout between Vanessa Porto and Zoila Gurgel that could cause a major shakeup in the top five. The last 125-pound bout on that card will see now top-15er Nina Ansaroff take on Munah Holland in an attempt to further boost her stock. Tonya Evinger will leave the division after Invicta FC 7, as she will take a 135-pound bout with Kelly Kobold. The flyweights are bound to make some big moves soon.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)

  1. Jessica Aguilar (1)

    Esparza (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

    Esparza (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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

Before we get into things, a tip of the cap should be given to the legendary Megumi Fujii, who retired following a rematch against Jessica Aguilar at Vale Tudo Japan. Although Fujii lost, much respect must be given to the female trailblazer. Mei Yamaguchi dropped out of the rankings after taking a split decision loss to Patricia Vidonic. Next month, the strawweight division will see some great developments. Emi Fujino takes on Mizuki Inoue in a pivotal battle at Deep Jewels. The winner of that fight will take on either the highly regarded Mika Nagano or Emi Tomimatsu in a tournament-format bout. The 115-pound weight class is arguably the second most-stacked division, so expect big things to come.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)

  1. Michelle Waterson (1)

    Ham (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

    Ham (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

  2. Jessica Penne (2)
  3. Seo Hee Ham (3)
  4. Lisa Ellis (4)
  5. Lacey Schuckman (5)
  6. Simona Soukupova (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. Sadae Numata (14)
  14. Amy Davis (13)
  15. Amber Brown (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The atomweight division stays dormant for now, before an explosion of fights set to take place soon. Amy Davis returns to action in November when she takes a late-notice bout against Thea Wolfe. The striker looks to rebound and move back up the atomweight ladder, as she has been falling in the past few months. Naho Sugiyama is also in action at Deep Jewels, where she meets Masako Yoshida. She looks to reverse the recent misfortunes which have seen her go from first to seventh in under a year. Finally, rapidly ascending Seo Hee Ham looks to push herself into talks of the top atomweight in the world when she defends her Jewels 106-pound title against fellow ranked fighter Sadae Numata.

Top Photo: Jessica Aguilar (Keith Mills/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.