Jessica Andrade (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)The MMA Corner Women’s MMA Rankings: March 2014 Riley Kontek April 1, 2014 Fighter Rankings, Spotlight 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) Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1) Evans-Smith (Keith Mills/Sherdog) Marloes Coenen (2) Ediane Gomes (3) Julia Budd (4) Veronica Rothenhausler (5) Tamikka Brents (6) Ashlee Evans-Smith (8) Pannie Kianzad (7) Fiona Muxlow (9) Faith van Duin (10) Talita Nogueira (12) Kate da Silva (11) Charmaine Tweet (14) Elina Nilsson (13) Latoya Walker (15) Dropped out of the rankings: n/a The featherweight division was in a holding pattern for the most part in March, as none of the top-15 females fought in MMA. Cris “Cyborg” Justino did have a Muay Thai fight for Lion Fights, but she lost to Jorina Baars in an entertaining scrap. The defeat does not count on her MMA record, which is why she still stands tall atop the division. Next month already looks like another quiet one for the featherweights, as none are scheduled to take part in a MMA fight. However, several women will take their talents to the bantamweight division in the coming months, including Ashlee Evans-Smith, Kate da Silva and Fiona Muxlow. That will create huge shakeups at 145 pounds. Bantamweight Division (135 pounds) Ronda Rousey (1) Holm (Bryan Henderson/The MMA Corner) Cat Zingano (2) Alexis Davis (3) Sara McMann (4) Miesha Tate (5) Jessica Eye (6) Sarah Kaufman (7) Liz Carmouche (8) Lauren Murphy (9) Amanda Nunes (11) Shayna Baszler (10) Rin Nakai (12) Germaine de Randamie (13) Holly Holm (14) Jessica Andrade (15) Dropped out of the rankings: n/a The bantamweight division continues to be one of the most loaded, busy divisions in women’s MMA. In terms of ranked fighters throwing down in March, the only female in our top 15 to compete was Jessica Andrade, who won yet another contest at UFC 171. She outpointed a game and tough Raquel Pennington, who stepped in on late notice for Julianna Pena. That puts Andrade at 2-1 with the UFC and keeps her afloat in the rankings. The division gets much more active next month, when multiple ranked fighters are set to square off. Holly Holm will look to continue her ascent up the rankings when she welcomes Juliana Werner to the bantamweight division for Legacy FC 30. Also, Sarah Kaufman and Shayna Baszler have a rematch at the TUF Nations Finale from a bout a few years ago where Kaufman was the victor. Furthermore, Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche will fight in the co-main event of UFC on Fox in Orlando. The rankings are set to be shaken up greatly in the month of April. Flyweight Division (125 pounds) Barb Honchak (1) Porto (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner) Vanessa Porto (2) Leslie Smith (3) Jennifer Maia (4) Nina Ansaroff (7) Zoila Gurgel (8) Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10) Brenda Gonzales (9) Munah Holland (11) Julia Berezikova (12) Juliana Werner (13) Tina Lahdemaki (14) Alexa Grasso (15) Aline Serio (NR) DeAnna Bennett (NR) Dropped out of the rankings: Michelle Ould (5), Kalindra Faria (6) The flyweight division has seen some major shakeups because two top-10 fighters have moved out of the rankings. Michelle Ould’s inactivity and Kalindra Faria’s move to strawweight have completely reshaped the division and allowed Aline Serio and DeAnna Bennett to sneak up the rankings. Serio competed twice in the month of March, taking a loss in the strawweight division to new powerhouse Kalindra Faria, but coming back to 125 pounds to knock off Bianca Daimoni. Vanessa Porto remains at the No. 2 spot after out-hustling Ana Maria to a decision in Brazil. Next month does not appear to be a busy one for the flyweights. So far, only Serio has a fight scheduled. She’ll go up against Paula Baack to keep her busy schedule moving. Juliana Werner has a fight, but it’s up at 135 pounds against Holly Holm. Strawweight Division (115 pounds) Jessica Aguilar (1) Faria (Gleidson Venga/Sherdog) Carla Esparza (2) Claudia Gadelha (3) Joanne Calderwood (4) Ayaka Hamasaki (5) Tecia Torres (6) Mizuki Inoue (7) Katja Kankaanpaa (8) Felice Herrig (9) Bec Rawlings (10) Stephanie Eggink (12) Rose Namajunas (11) Kalindra Faria (NR) Karolina Kowalkiewicz (14) Emi Fujino (15) Dropped out of the rankings: Yuka Tsuji (13) The strawweight division is currently in a stranglehold as most of the competitors wait on The Ultimate Fighter 20 to begin filming. However, with Yuka Tsuji’s drop out and Kalindra Faria’s addition to the division, there has been some movement at the bottom of the ranks. Faria went 2-0 in March at 115 pounds to continue her hectic schedule as of late. She beat Aline Serio and Laura Balin, showing that she is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the weight class. We also found out that Jessica Aguilar will battle Emi Fujino for the World Series of Fighting title in a couple of months in a pivotal bout for the rankings. This division has big things in store, but we must be patient. Atomweight Division (105 pounds) Michelle Waterson (1) Chambers (Dave Mandel/Sherdog) Jessica Penne (2) Seo Hee Ham (3) Naho Sugiyama (4) Simona Soukupova (5) Lacey Schuckman (6) Alex Chambers (7) Cassie Rodish (8) Jodie Esquibel (9) Stephanie Frausto (10) Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc (11) Amber Brown (12) Amy Davis (13) Diana Rael (14) Sadae Numata (15) Dropped out of the rankings: n/a The atomweight division was like the featherweight division in March, in that it was calm. A few women—Catherine Costigan, Gina Iniong and Dora Perjes—just outside the top 15 won. Other than that, the rankings remain the same. Next month, third-ranked Seo Hee Ham has a chance to move into the top two when she takes on touted prospect Shino VanHoose, who could easily catapult herself into the rankings with an upset win. Other than that, we await more fight announcements that could shake up the division in a major way.