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. Cris “Cyborg” Justino (1)

    Ashlee 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 (5)
  6. Tamikka Brents (6)
  7. Pannie Kianzad (7)
  8. Ashlee Evans-Smith (8)
  9. Fiona Muxlow (9)
  10. Faith van Duin (10)
  11. Kate da Silva (11)
  12. Talita Nogueira (12)
  13. Elina Nilsson (13)
  14. Charmaine Tweet (14)
  15. Maria Hougaard Djursaa (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

The featherweight division was a ghost town in January. Nobody in the top 15 competed. Therefore, the rankings stay the same. We anxiously await an announcement for Invicta FC 8, which could include a number of talents in the rankings, including top-ranked Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, Veronica Rothenhausler and Charmaine Tweet. We must note that Ashlee Evans-Smith, who was recently signed by World Series of Fighting, will be heading down to bantamweight for her next fight. The same could be true for Fiona Muxlow, who has made it known that she could take her next bout at 135 pounds with Invicta. Stay tuned for further moves in this weight division.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Ronda Rousey (1)

    Sara McMann (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

    McMann (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

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

As with the featherweight division, the bantamweight division was surprisingly quiet in the month of January. Nobody in the top 15 fought in the first month of 2014, but business is about to pick up in February. Ronda Rousey returns to action in the headlining spot of UFC 170, where she will defend her belt against fellow Olympian Sara McMann. This will be Rousey’s second fight in three months, as she bested Miesha Tate at UFC 168 in December. On that same UFC 170 card, title contenders Alexis Davis and Jessica Eye will square off in a bout that will likely push the winner into title talks. With Cat Zingano sidelined indefinitely for personal reasons, one has to believe Davis vs. Eye will be a top contender’s match. The top of the division is in for big things in February.

Flyweight Division (125 pounds)
  1. Barb Honchak (1)

    Honchak (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

    Honchak (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Leslie Smith (3)
  4. Jennifer Maia (4)
  5. Michelle Ould (5)
  6. Kalindra Faria (6)
  7. Zoila Gurgel (7)
  8. Nina Ansaroff (8)
  9. Brenda Gonzales (9)
  10. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10)
  11. Munah Holland (11)
  12. Julia Berezikova (12)
  13. Juliana Aguiar (13)
  14. Tina Lahdemaki (14)
  15. Alexa Grasso (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

January sure was a slow month for women’s MMA. The flyweight division was no exception, especially for the women in the top 15. In fact, none of them competed. That being said, three women that were on the fringe of the top 15 competed with varied results. DeAnna Bennett and Aline Serio both took victories in the month, keeping them just on the outside looking in. Bennett tapped out Sharon Jacobsen, and Serio took a decision over Elaine Albuquerque. Sarah Alpar, who was also on the fringe, was tapped out by Delaney Owen. That loss pushes Alpar’s stock down a little bit. As with the featherweight division, many of the women are looking forward to Invicta FC 8, where many will likely get a spot on the card.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Jessica Aguilar (1)

    Inoue (R) (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

    Inoue (R) (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

  2. Carla Esparza (2)
  3. Claudia Gadelha (3)
  4. Joanne Calderwood (4)
  5. Ayaka Hamsaki (5)
  6. Tecia Torres (6)
  7. Katja Kankaanpaa (7)
  8. Mizuki Inoue (8)
  9. Felice Herrig (9)
  10. Bec Rawlings (10)
  11. Rose Namajunas (11)
  12. Stephanie Eggink (12)
  13. Yuka Tsuji (13)
  14. Karolina Kowalkiewicz (14)
  15. Emi Fujino (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: n/a

Jessica Aguilar owned the month of January. Not only did she achieve gold with World Series of Fighting via her submission win over Alida Gray, but she solidified herself as the top strawweight in the world. That being said, this division is likely to be dormant for a while, as most of its top fighters are waiting for the filming of The Ultimate Fighter 20. That season of the show will feature seven of the top 15 women in The MMA Corner’s rankings, including Carla Esparza, Claudia Gadelha, Joanne Calderwood, Tecia Torres, Felice Herrig, Bec Rawlings (formerly Hyatt) and Rose Namajunas. Japanese prodigy Mizuki Inoue has a big fight in February for Deep Jewels, as she takes on Emi Tomimatsu in a 115-pound tournament final. That fight could elevate Inoue into the top five, if she impresses.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Michelle Waterson (1)

    Sugiyama (center) (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

    Sugiyama (center) (Taro Irei/Sherdog)

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

As has been the case with the other divisions, the atomweights were another victim of a slow January. In fact, nobody in the top 15 or the close outer circle competed. However, there will be some activity in February. Naho Sugiyama returns to action at Deep Jewels against Satomi Takano. The fight could elevate her back into the top five. She has been absent from there for the better of the last half year or so. Lisa Ellis has dropped out of the rankings due to inactivity, which can be directly attributed to her new role as a mother. Alex Chambers will head to strawweight soon and is waiting out the next few months for The Ultimate Fighter 20. Jessica Penne, who is ranked No. 2 at atomweight, has made it known via Twitter that she will be trying out for the season. There could be some major shakeups at 105 pounds going forward.

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.