Women’s MMA has come a long way since the early days of the sport when the only females inside the octagon were ring girls. Considered “barbaric”, Mixed Martial Arts offered very few opportunities for women to train and none to compete. It wasn’t until recent years, greatly due to the sacrifice of many female athletes determined to revolutionize the sport that women’s MMA started to get the attention it deserves.
The first official women’s MMA fight took place in the United States at IFC4 in 1997 between Becky Levi and Betty Fagan and ever since, many ladies have spilled their blood to help create more opportunities for women to fight making it as popular and exciting as it is today.
During a recent interview, former UFC strawweight champ, Joanna Jedrzejczyk who had just announced her retirement from MMA, revealed her list of the top MMA women she considers “Greatest of All Time.” I agree with her. Here’s a breakdown of the indomitable and inspiring women who earned their place on this short list:
Ronda Rousey →
A true pioneer of women in sports, Ronda Rousey was one of the only two female athletes in the UFC and is considered the reason why there are women in the organization today. She is the only woman to be champion in both the UFC and WWE and achieved levels of stardom that no other female fighter has yet to date. Rousey was the bantamweight titleholder for three-years and defended the belt six consecutive times. She was instrumental in popularizing the sport and putting women’s MMA in the spotlight.
Amanda Nunes →
Considered by many the G.O.A.T., Nunes achieved double champion status after knocking the lights out of Cris Cyborg to claim the featherweight title in addition to the bantamweight title she already held at the time. Combined, Nunes has had seven title defenses, with wins over Cyborg, Rousey, Tate, Holly Holm, and twice against Valentina Shevchenko.
Valentina Shevchenko →
A force to be reckoned with, Shevchenko has been one of the most dangerous and dominant females in MMA with nine consecutive wins under her belt, claiming her current flyweight title after defeating Jedrzejczyk. Shevchenko has defended the belt seven consecutive times. As of December 13, 2021, she is ranked #1 in the UFC women’s pound-for-pound.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk →
Jedrzejczyk, who announced her retirement at UFC 275 after losing the rematch against Zhang Weili has had a most remarkable career also being called the G.O.A.T many times. She defended the strawweight title five times in unforgettable battles against Claudia Gadelha, Jessica Andrade, Rose Namajunas, Valentina Shevchenko, and finally, Zhang Weili.
Stay cool this summer and enjoy this very hot issue full of remarkable women, who just like you, are setting the world on fire.
– Evelyn Sutton
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