The 5 greatest female fighters in MMA history
A high-stakes clash between Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Michelle Waterson highlights a pivotal UFC card this weekend, as Jedrzejczyk hopes to get back on a winning track at the expense of an opportunistic Waterson. Jedrzejczyk’s decorated career has her in the conversation as one of the best female fighters in MMA history, so let's take a look at who she’ll be compared to when we look back at her memorable career.
1. Amanda Nunes
Amanda Nunes will be remembered as the best fighter in the history of women’s MMA. Her reign of terror has included stoppage wins over Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm, as well as victories over Valentina Shevchenko and Miesha Tate.
She currently holds belts in two divisions, and with no clear worthy challenger in sight, Nunes has become the gold standard that others will be judged against when it comes to greatness. Nunes may still have her best days ahead of her, as each destructive performance separates her from her competition.
2. Cris Cyborg
There is no doubting the greatness of Cristiane Venâncio, better known as Cyborg. What she didn’t have in marketing, she made up for with brutality and a fan friendly style that defined her career. Unbeaten for more than a decade, Cyborg was one of the sport’s most dominant fighters. While she may not get a chance to avenge her loss to Nunes, she still has plenty left in the tank.
3. Ronda Rousey
While the merits of Rousey’s accomplishments are as divisive as fan’s opinions of her, what is not up for debate is that Rousey’s charisma and crossover appeal made her one of the UFC's biggest attractions and paved the way for the current popularity of women's MMA.
Despite most experts and fans choosing to focus on the nature of her losses rather than any of her wins, Rousey was a formidable champion during her time and remains one of the most recognizable figures in MMA history.
4. Megumi Fujii
The master of the toe hold, Megumi Fujii was a submission specialist who went 22-0 and was a force of nature during her prime. Fujii never competed in the UFC, but her decorated fighting career included stints at Bellator and Shooto. Retired since she lost a rematch with Jessica Aguilar in 2013, there are few fighters who have produced such a dominant streak.
5. Valentina Shevchenko
If one were to go off of skill set alone, the “Bullet” can easily hold her own against any of the top female fighters from any time period. Well-rounded, with vicious strikes and adept grappling, the current UFC flyweight champion is one of the most fundamentally gifted fighters ever. With her decorated accomplishments in Muay Thai and a budding title reign under her belt, Shevchenko will go down as one of the greats.