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, its upcoming addition of a strawweight 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 compiles 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)
    Tweet (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

    Tweet (Jeff Vulgamore/The MMA Corner)

  2. Marloes Coenen (2)
  3. Ediane Gomes (3)
  4. Julia Budd (4)
  5. Veronica Rothenhausler (6)
  6. Tamikka Brents (5)
  7. Ashlee Evans-Smith (7)
  8. Pannie Kianzad (8)
  9. Fiona Muxlow (9)
  10. Faith van Duin (10)
  11. Marina Shafir (NR)
  12. Talita Nogueira (12)
  13. Charmaine Tweet (13)
  14. Elina Nilsson (14)
  15. Annalisa Bucci (NR)/Latoya Walker (15)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Kate Da Silva (11)

The featherweight division saw a bit of a shakeup in the month of May, as one ranked fighter left the division and a future star took a late leap in the rankings. Marina Shafir makes her debut in the rankings after Kate Da Silva shifted to bantamweight in hopes of making a run at the UFC. In May, Da Silva won a round-robin tournament in New Zealand, beating two women in one night to claim the championship. Annalisa Bucci makes her debut in the rankings after going 1-1 against top competition in the month. She dropped her fight in Sweden to eighth-ranked Pannie Kianzad, but got her wind back by beating top-15 fringe fighter Maria Hougaard Djursaa. Charmaine Tweet stays in the featherweight rankings despite beating Anna Barone in the lightweight division in May. Next month, Tamikka Brents makes her long-awaited return to the cage when she takes on Bobbi-Jo Dalziel. Ashlee Evans-Smith is set to make her debut with the World Series of Fighting, but she’ll do so as a bantamweight when she takes on Marciea Allen. Needless to say, there should be a few more shakeups in the coming month.

Bantamweight Division (135 pounds)
  1. Ronda Rousey (1)
    De Randamie (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

    De Randamie (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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

The bantamweight division had a pretty quiet month despite the fact it is the most popular division at this point in time. The only ranked fighter to compete in the month was Rin Nakai, who ran through Sarah D’Alelio in Japan to stay undefeated. Assuming her contract can be ended in the near future, one has to assume the UFC would call quickly for her services. Germaine de Randamie was set to fight Milana Dudieva in the UFC in June, but an injury to the Dutch fighter opens up an opportunity for The Ultimate Fighter 18 vet Valerie Letourneau to return to the company.

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

    Jedrzejczyk (Sherdog)

  2. Vanessa Porto (2)
  3. Jennifer Maia (3)
  4. Nina Ansaroff (4)
  5. Zoila Gurgel (5)
  6. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (6)
  7. Brenda Gonzales (7)
  8. Munah Holland (8)
  9. Julia Berezikova (9)
  10. Tina Lahdemaki (10)
  11. Alexa Grasso (11)
  12. DeAnna Bennett (12)
  13. Aline Serio (13)
  14. Pearl Gonzalez (14)
  15. Amy Montenegro (NR)
  • Dropped out of the rankings: Ericka Almeida (15)

It was an interesting month for the flyweights, who had a couple of ladies compete. Inactivity dropped Ericka Almeida out of the rankings, and Amy Cadwell Montenegro stepped up to fill her spot at No. 15. Jennifer Maia held down her third spot by defeating Mariana Morais in Brazil. Meanwhile, Joanna Jedrzejczyk picked up a key victory over highly regarded Karla Benitez. That win should continue to earn her high praise. Jedrzejczyk makes a quick turn around in June when she takes on UFC veteran Rosi Sexton in England. DeAnna Bennett will be in action, albeit at 135 pounds in an attempt to make a run in the UFC. Montenegro will do the same, but in the opposite direction on the scales, in consideration for the 115-pound division. All things considered, we could see a shakeup in the rankings next month.

Strawweight Division (115 pounds)
  1. Jessica Aguilar (1)
    Kowalkiewicz (Piotr Pedziszewski/Sherdog)

    Kowalkiewicz (Piotr Pedziszewski/Sherdog)

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

The strawweight divisional rankings continue to get held up as most of the fighters wait for The Ultimate Fighter 20 to commence filming. Katja Kankaanpaa picked up a win in Finland over Alyona Rassohyna, but Kankaanpaa stays put in the eighth spot of the rankings. Karolina Kowalkiewicz picked up a huge victory over Invicta veteran Jasminka Cive via armbar in Poland. In June, top-ranked Jessica Aguilar will take on No. 15 Emi Fujino in the World Series of Fighting for Aguilar’s 115-pound belt. It should be a quiet month otherwise, but a fun one if you tune into the Aguilar-Fujino scrap.

Atomweight Division (105 pounds)
  1. Michelle Waterson (1)
    Rivera-Calanoc (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

    Rivera-Calanoc (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

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

The atomweights were deathly quiet this month, with none of the top 15 in action. However, fringe top-15 candidate Mei Yamaguchi was able to pick up a win, and Liz McCarthy edged out Cassie Robb in the main event of ICF. Next month, expect more of the same lack of activity, though Nicdali Rivera-Calanoc will be in action.

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.