Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is an action-fighting sport incorporating moves from other combat sporting activities worldwide. More and more women have achieved impressive sports achievements over the years since 1997. Dive in to find out all you need to know about the top female MMA fighters of all time.
Cris Cyborg started her MMA career at 19 years where she lost her first debut match against Erica Paes. She earned her purple belt in 2009 before signing with Strikeforce the same year. Cris successfully defended her Strike force title in 2010 through technical knockout.
Despite being suspended due to doping violations, Cris returned to the Invicta FC5 and won. Cyborg garnered the female title fighter of the year both in 2009 and 2010 at the World MMA awards and was crowned female featherweight three times at the Women’s MMA awards.
At the UFC, she earned the fight of the night title by beating Holly Holm by a split decision. Cris has the most wins in the MMA featherweight division in women’s UFC. In a total of 29 bouts, Cyborg managed to win 26, lose two, and get one no contest. 20 of her wins were by knockouts, one by submission, and the other five by decision.
Zhang is a talented Chinese MMA fighter who competes in the strawweight division. She won 11 consecutive bouts after losing her first fight in 2013. Weili has had two successful title defenses and one win at the Kunlun Fight female strawweight tournament.
Weili striped off the UFC strawweight champion title from Jessica Andrade at the UFC Fight Night 157. Her win at the UFC 227 in 2018 against Danielle Taylor was through a unanimous decision. She also secured victories in the UFC Fight Night and the UFC 235 by submission and unanimous decision.
This legend had her first successful strawweight title defense at UFC 248 and her second at UFC 261 against Rose Namajunas. Her win at the UFC 275 in 2022 earned her the performance of the night award. She has had several fights of the year titles in 2020 and 2022, most of them against Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Zhang has participated in 26 bouts and secured 23 wins and three losses.
Amanda Nunes is a Brazilian MMA pro participating in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions. She started karate classes at only seven years and her Brazilian jiu-jitsu training at 16. Nunes has been in 27 fights, where Amanda won 23 and lost 5.
Her start in the MMA career was at the Prime MMA championship 2, where she lost to Ana Maria. Nunes secured a win against Julia Budd through KO at her first strike force fight. She was supposed to fight at the Invicta FC 2, but her opponent withdrew due to injury, and so did her replacement.
Eventually, she got to fight against Raquel Pa’aluhi, where she won through a technical submission. A win marked her octagon debut at UFC 163 via technical knockout. She also won the UFC fight night 31 against Germaine de Randamie and the UFC fight night 62 against Shayna Baszler through TKO.
Amanda is the first UFC champion to be gay openly after her victory at the 2016 UFC bantamweight championship for women. Nunes has fought in 27 total bouts, won 22 (13 by knockout, four by submission, and five by decision), and lost 5.
Valentina, popularly known as the bullet, is a skilled Russian martial arts fighter who competes in the flyweight division. Her debut fight was when she was 15 years where she won by TKO. She had taken some time off MMA at some point but came back in 2013 with a win via technical knockout at the MMA promotion fusion FC in south America.
Valentina won the Legacy Fighting Championship 39 against Jan Finney unanimously. She faced Germaine de Randamie at her UFC debut and won by a split decision. Her UFC in 2017 against Julianna Pena earned her the performance of the night award bonus.
Valentina joined the flyweight division in 2017, where she dominated her fights. At the UFC fight night 228, she was to face Nicco Montano, but the match was canceled due to Nicco’s injury. Valentina won UFC women’s flyweight champion title after winning a bout through a unanimous decision.
She has successfully defended her UFC freight weight champion title six times, and on her sixth defense, she got a fan bonus of the night: a 30,000-dollar bitcoin. In 26 total matches, she has won 23 and lost 3.
Xiong Jing Nan
Xiong, also known as the panda, is a Chinese MMA fighter who started her pro career in 2014. She only fought in Kunlun Fight at first before switching to ONE championship. In 2017 she beat April Osenio at her ONE championship debut.
The panda got the ONE Women’s strawweight championship after winning against Tiffany Teo in the 4th round. This made her the first world champion in the MMA in Chinese history. She defeated Angela lee in their first fight and lost the second one, but in 2022 she won their third fight.
By unanimous decision, Xiong returned to straight weight with a fight against Tiffany Teo in the ONE inside the matrix tournament. She defended her ONE women’s strawweight championship title successfully by unanimous decision. Her 7th title defense for the strawweight title was in 2022. Xiong has fought in 20 bouts and secured 18 wins and only two losses.
Nakai is a talented Japanese MMA fighter who fights in the flyweight division. She broke her competitor’s nose at the Pancrease Blow Tour in 2006, where she won via technical knockout. Rin secured wins against Kazue Matake, Asha Ingeneri, and Kanako Takeshita at smack girl promotions.
Rin faced Megumi Yabushita at Valkyrie 06, where she won by decision. She earned a tournament win at the Valkyrie 08 when she won her bout via doctor stoppage against Mizuho Sato. After returning to Pancrase, she won a couple of fights before getting the “Queen of Pancrase” name in 2012 with a TKO win.
Nakai is the first queen of Pancrase bantamweight, and she also managed to beat Tara LaRosa at the 2013 Pancrase tournament. She swapped to UFC in 2014, where she suffered several losses but bounced back with a win in Pancrase 279 via technical knockout.
She launched a series of strikes at the Deep 82 Impact in her fight against Kim Ji-young to secure a TKO victory. Rin also won the 2022 Deep Jewels 36 and the Deep Jewels 37, which makes her the 1st flyweight champ in Deep Jewels. She fought 29 total bouts, won 25, lost 2, and got one draw and no contest.
Kayla Harrison is an MMA fighter with exceptional judo skills, which she gained when she was three years old. This star secured position 5 in judo while still in middle school. Harrison was a commentator before getting a fighting contract to make her debut in the PFL 2 lightweight division, where she won.
With the help of her coach Phil Daru, she also won her bouts at PFL 6 and PFL 11. Her time at the PFL 2019 season was full of wins against the likes of Larissa Pacheco through the unanimous decision in both their bouts. She was set to fight in the PFL 2020 season, but it was canceled due to the Corona pandemic.
She won the women’s lightweight tournament in 2021 against Taylor Guardado in the 2nd round. She won her fight by technical knockout at the Invicta FC 43 featherweight division. Kayla was set to fight at the Titan FC 66 though the match was canceled because she was hospitalized for a bad weight cut. Harrison has participated in 16 total bouts, where she has won 15 and only lost one.
Seo Hee Ham
Seo is a South Korean MMA sensation participating in the atom weight and strawweight divisions. Her debut in MMA was at the SEEP 28 impact, where she won unanimously. She later joined Jewels, where she faced Misaki Takimoto in the first bout and defeated her via unanimous decision.
Seo made it to the Jewel 11th ring finals, where she lost to Ayaka Hamasaki. At the 2013 Jewels 24th ring, she got the Atomweight Championship title after beating Sadae Numata unanimously. She got the first fight of the night award bonus in the UFC fight night in 2015.
She successfully defended her Atomweight Champion title in 2017 while at Road FC. Seo became the 2nd Rizin Women’s super Atomweight Champion at Rizin 20 after winning all three fights through a split decision. In 33 total bouts, she has won 25 and lost 8.
Virna began fighting in mixed martial arts in 2013, whereas the Brazilian exclusively fought in Brazil. An armbar win marked her Invicta Fighting Championship debut in 2017 in the first round. At the Invicta FC 28, Virna got the Invicta FC strawweight champion crown after a split decision win against Mizuki Inoue.
She successfully defended her Invicta champion title against Janaisa Morandin at the Invicta FC 31. Jandiroba lost her first UFC match, which motivated her to win later in the UFC championship. She won her bouts at the 2019 UFC Fight Night, UFC ESPN 7, and 2020 UFC 252, where she got the performance of the night title. In 21 total bouts, she has won 18 and lost 3, all by decision.
Liz Carmouche, also known as Girl-Rilla a professional bantamweight and flyweight MMA fighter from America. Her career began in 2010 professionally, when she secured three wins before entering the Strikeforce.
At Invicta Fighting Championship, she won her 2012 bouts at the fighting championships 1 and 2 via TKO and submission. Carmouche won the first octagon in a fight against Jesicca Andradw via technical knockout. She won the UFC fight night 133 and 145 fights against Jennifer Maia and Lucie Pudilova, respectively.
Liz joined Bellator MMA in 2019 and secured wins in Bellator 256 and Bellator 261. She faced Bellator’s women’s flyweight world champ Juliana Velasquez and won to strip her of her title. Liz also won the Bellator 246 in 2020 against DeAnna Bennett in the third round through submission.
The decision on her win was contested, which resulted in a rematch at Bellator 289, where she won through armbar submission. Carmouche has participated in 25 bouts and managed to win 18, 8 by knockout, four by submission, and six by decision while having seven losses.
Maycee began her MMA pro career in 2017 at LFA 14, where she beat her opponent by armbar submission in the 1st round. She won her bouts at LFA 22 against Mallory Martin by unanimous decision, LFA 33 against Kaila Thompson via submission, and LFA 39 by a KO victory.
During her time at UFC, she had a controversial win at the 2021 UFC ESPN AGAINST Miranda Maverick, with 22 media outlets claiming Miranda was the winner. Barber has the second most wins through KO in the UFC flyweight history. Barber has fought in 13 MMA bouts and secured 11 wins and two losses by decision.
Taila is a Brazilian MMA star that specializes in the flyweight division. Her Muay Thai expert dad influenced her background in mixed martial arts, and she began training at 16. Santos managed to finish ten fights in the 1st round after her debut.
She came back from her layoff of 2 years with a win at Dana White’s contender series brazil 2, which got her a UFC signing. Her start at UFC was marked by a loss that inspired her later wins against Joanne Wood, Molly McCann, and Roxanne Modafferi.
Her UFC fight night 198 win gave her the performance of the night crown. This star has also bagged the Aspera FC bantamweight championship once. Santos has been in 21 bouts, where she has won 19 and lost two by decision.
Marina was into sports as a kid, and she managed to play handball, volleyball, football, and basketball. She went ahead to become a graphic designer but missed the excitement of exercise. She later joined Muay Thai classes in 2013.
Her professional MMA career began in 2015 as an exclusive fighter for brazil in her early years. She won Dana White’s Contender Series Brazil 2 bout against Maria de Oliveria via KO. At the UFC 257, she got the performance of the night after knocking out Amanda Ribas.
In UFC Fight Night 194, she secured the fight of the night award after a unanimous victory. In 20 bouts, she has won 16, lost 2, and gotten two draws.
Larissa Pacheco started Muay Thai at only 15 years where she trained daily before joining an amateur competition a year later. She won the 2013 Jungle Fight 63, where she beat Irene Aldana. Her first UFC bout was as a replacement for Valerie Letourneau, which Larissa lost through submission.
Larissa had a broken arm that took three years to heal; this time, she starred in a TV show but lost her job, leading to her UFC release. She was cleared to fight again in 2018, where she won her WOCS 49 fight to become the 1st WATCH Out Combat Show champion in women’s featherweight.
Larissa got the upset of the year title in 2022 twice after her wins against Kayla Harrison. In 23 bouts, she won 19 and lost 4.
Yan Xiaonan, also known as fury, is a Chinese MMA fighter participating in the atom weight and strawweight divisions. She started martial arts training at 13 years but professionally began fighting in 2009. Yan has fought in championships like Road Fighting Championship before entering UFC.
This is the 1st female Chinese fighter to be signed by UFC. Xiaonan beat Kailin Curran at the 2017 UFC fight night and went ahead to win her 2018 UFC fight night bout against Viviane Pereira and Syuri Kondo. Her knee injury prevented her from fighting at the UFC 253.
However, it was later rescheduled, and she got a unanimous decision win. She faced Mackenzie Dern at the UFC fight night 211 and won by a majority decision. In 20 bouts, she managed to win 16, lose three and get one no-contest.
Carla, popularly known as the Cookie Monster, is an American MMA pro that participates strawweight division. College, where she began her Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training. Esparza joined Bellator in 2010 as a replacement and lost her Bellator 24 fight to the undefeated Megumi Fujii.
A unanimous decision victory marked her debut at XFC. Later, she signed with Invicta FC and won her Invicta FC 2 bout against Sarah Schneider through a technical knockout. She faced Bec Hyatt in an Invicta FC strawweight tournament and became champion.
Carla got the ultimate fighting championship in 2013 after winning against Angela Hill, Tecia Torres, and Jessica Penne. At the Ultimate fighter in 2014, she faced Rose Namajunas, who she beat to become the performance of the night and UFC strawweight inaugural champion.
Carla was crowned fight of the night at the UFC fight night 159, where she won through a majority decision. Carla had a rematch with Rose Namajunas at the UFC 274, where Carla won via split decision giving her the UFC strawweight championship a 2nd time.
Her fighting style involves knees, elbows, and punches when standing. In a total of 26 bouts, she has won 19 and lost 7.
Before joining Invicta, she was fighting in KOTC and WFF foundation during her amateur fights. Cortez secured victories at her bouts in the Invicta FC 28 and Invicta FC 34. Her win at the DWTNCS Sn 3 Episode 6 against Mariya Agapova through unanimous decision gave her the UFC signing.
The star won a split decision against Stephanie Egger at the UFC Fight Night 179. In 2019 she won the UFC bantamweight bout against Christiano Sampaio. She met Melissa Gatto at the UFC 274 in 2022 by unanimous decision.
Tracy competed in 11 MMA matches, where she one ten and only lost one by submission.8 of her wins were by decision. At the same time, the rest were through knockout and submission.
Ronda Rousey, also known by her nickname Rowdy is an American MMA pro who has fought in the featherweight and bantamweight divisions. Her mother was a judo fighter which influenced her MMA background; she took her to judo training under her former teammates.
This fighter dislocated her opponent’s elbow in the Strikeforce Challengers 20, winning through an armbar submission. She had a successful strikeforce featherweight champion defense against Sarah Kaufman. Rousey was the 1st woman fighter to be signed at UFC in 2012.
Despite breaking her thumb in the UFC 175 bout, she defended her UFC women’s bantamweight title. Her loss at UFC 193 hit her hard as Rousey lost her title to Holly Holm. She has a spot in the UFC hall of fame which she was awarded in 2018. She retired the MMA with 14 total bouts, 12 of which she won and lost the rest by knockout.
Amanda is a skilled Brazilian MMA fighter who has participated in both the bantamweight and the strawweight divisions. During her early years, she had a majority draw in her Jungle Fight women’s bantamweight bout against Mayra Cantuaria.
They had a rematch later on where Amanda crashed her opponent via KO. Her UFC debut was as a replacement in 2017 though she conceded via knockout. Lemos transitioned to strawweight in 2019 and won her bout through technical submission.
Amanda’s UFC victory through a split decision gave her the fight of the night crown. She went ahead to get the night’s performance after beating Michelle Waterson at UFC ABC 3. The pro also got a UFC Fight Night 214 win against Marina Rodriguez in 2022. Lemos has an MMA record of 13 wins, two losses, and one draw in all her MMA bouts.
Macfarlane, famously known as man, is an American MMA sensation mostly known as “The Ilimanator.” Her debut fight at Bellator MMA was against Maria Rios in Bellator 141. Macfarlane won her Bellator 148,157,167 and 178 fights against Jessica Middleton and Amber Tackett.
The 1st MMA championship was for the Bellator Women’s lightweight tournament in the 186. Ilima-Lei’s first successful title defense was at Bellator 201, the second in Bellator 213, and the 3rd in Bellator 220.
She lost the Bellator freight weight title in 2020 against Juliana Velasquez through a unanimous decision at Bellator 254. Macfarlane took one year break because of rehab and knee surgery. She returned in April 2022, where she lost but redeemed herself in the Bellator 284 with an anonymous win.
Rose Namajunas, famously known as Thug, is an MMA fighter in the strawweight division. She learned taekwondo at only five years, and by 9, she had secured her junior black belt. Her start in the MMA career was marked by a win in the Invicta FC 4 against Emily Kagan earned her submission of the night title.
Rose got the same title in Invicta FC 5 after a submission win. In 2013 she fought in the Ultimate Fight, where she won her first match, which secured her contract at UFC. Rose won most of her matches there before losing a final to Carla Esparza.
At the UFC Fight night 80, she earned a performance of the night crown after her win and got a fight of the night draw at UFC 201. Namajunas fought against Joanna Jedrzejczyk to secure a women’s strawweight championship at UFC. This gave her a performance of the night title.
She successfully defended her title in 2018 with a unanimous decision victory. Namajunas made history by being the first female fighter to win back the UFC Championship at UFC 261. Namajunas received a Performance of the Night bonus award for the triumph. She has participated in 16 bouts, where she won 11 and lost 5.
Julia Budd is a Canadian MMA fighter and kickboxer skilled in Muay Thai after years of training to perfect the art. After joining IFC in 2012, she won bouts at Invicta FC 2, FC 3, FC5, and FC7 by TKO in 2, submission, and unanimous decision for the latter.
At the 2017 Bellator 174, she beat Marloes Coenen to secure the Bellator Inaugural women’s championship in the featherweight division. Budd had three successful title wins before losing it at Bellator 238 via TKO. Later, she signed with the PFL, where she won her debut fight unanimously.
Julia pulled out of PFL 6 during the 2022 season because of an injury a week into the tournament. This fighter has done 21 MMA bouts with 16 wins and five losses.
Holly Holm is an MMA fighter who also goes by the name The Preacher’s daughter. She has fought at the bantamweight and featherweight divisions in mixed martial arts. In her debut bout in 2011, Holm beat Christina Domke via technical knockout.
At Bellator 91, she beat Katie Merrill through TKO and won the Legacy FC 21 championship in 2013 via a head-kick KO. Holly won the title at UFC 193, where she KO with a head kick Ronda Rousey. Holm got “Fight of the Night” and “Performance of the Night” awards for this fight.
Holm returned to the bantamweight division after her featherweight title loss. She won the 2017 UFC Fight Night bout in Singapore and got crowned performance of the night. In 20 fights, she has won 14 and lost 6.
Jessica is a talented Brazilian MMA fighter who fights in the Strawweight, Flyweight, and bantamweight divisions. She secured a win in the UFC Fight Night 30 by a dominant unanimous decision and the UFC 171 against Raquel Pennington in a split decision victory.
Her switch to the strawweight division was in 2015, where Jessica succeeded in bouts like the UFC 199, UFC 203, UFC 171, and UFC Fight Night 51. She got the fight of the night honors with Angela Hill at UFC Fight Night he207 after she beat her in a unanimous decision.
In September 2017, she got another fight of the night bonus at UFC fight night and a performance of the night honor at UFC 228. Jesicca garnered the UFC women’s strawweight championship in 2019, paired with the “Fight of the Night” and “Performance of the Night” awards.
With an arm triangle choke, while standing, she won UFC Fight Night 205 through a submission. She is set to fight Lauren Murphy in an upcoming UFC tournament. Andrade has been in 32 bouts, with 23 victories and nine losses.
Juliana is a flyweight Brazilian MMA fighter who uses the judo fighting technique, which she was introduced to at four years by her father. She kickstarted her MMA pro career with a win in the Rio de Janeiro regional promo.
Early in her career, she got the 1RC Vacant Bantamweight championship which she defended once. Velasquez joined Bellator MMA in 2017, with a couple of wins in Bellator 189, 197,212,224, and 236.
With a unanimous decision win against Ilima-Lei Macfarlane, she garnered the Bellator women’s flyweight champ. Juliana managed to defend the title at Bellator 262 against Denise Kielholtz successfully. In 14 total bouts, she has one 12 and lost two by knockout and submission.
Viera is a Brazilian MMA fighter known as Fenomena for her outstanding performances. At the beginning of her career, she managed to secure Mr. Cage’s bantamweight title after winning her bout against the likes of Juliana Leite.
Her 2016 UFC debut at the 2016 UFC fight night was a success after she beat Kelly Faszholz. Ketlen’s rematch against Sara McMann has been rescheduled with Miesha Tate, a replacement due to an injury. She won the bout with a unanimous decision victory.
At UFC Fight Night 198, she won through a controversial split decision with 18 over 20 media outlets against her. Viera is set to perform at the 2023 UFC Fight Night 217. In 15 bouts, she won 13 and lost two by knockout and decision.
Miesha Tate, or Cupcake, is a talented MMA fighter from America who fought in the flyweight division. She won the FCF Women’s bantamweight championship after beating Liz Carreiro in 2009 and had one successful title defense in 2010.
Tate’s first pro bout was at the HOOKnSHOOT women’s grand Prix, where she won by decision before Kaitlin Young kicked off the championship. Tate shined in the Strikeforce Challengers in 2010 after her unanimous decision win against Hitomi Akano.
Her strikeforce bout against Ronda Rousey brought a lot of hype among MMA fans. However, Cupcake lost and got a lot of hate for the amber resistance she pulled despite the long-term risk it could have on her. Despite her debut loss, she beat established fighters like Sara McMann in UFC 183.
At UFC on Fox in July 2015, she was at Jessica Eye after a tough competition between them. In 2015 she became the UFC bantamweight champion but lost the title to Amanda Nunes. She returned to UFC in 2021. Cupcake has fought in 28 total fights, where she won 19 and lost 9.
Claudia is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert who fights in the mixed martial arts strawweight division. Her first career bouts were marked by seven undefeated wins at the Force Fighting Championship. She got her 1st technical knockout win in 2012 against Adriana Viera.
Also, Claudia got fans WMMA’s favorite fighter of the year crown in 2013. Claudia secured the UFC fight night win in 2014 through a unanimous decision and went ahead to succeed in her 2015 UFC 190. The 2017 UFC 212 win through submission gave her the performance of the night crown, and she got the fight of the night bonus the same year despite losing her match.
Gadelha won in 2018 UFC 225 and 231 by split and unanimous decision, respectively. She retired from professional MMA in 2021 with 23 total fights, where she won 18 and lost 5.
Katlyn Chookagian, famously known as a blonde fighter, is an American MMA pro in the bantamweight and flyweight divisions. Her first bout was against Rebecca Heintzman at CFFC 37, where she won by unanimous decision. She triumphed in the World Series of Fighting 13 against Brigitte Narcisse.
Katlyn won her fights at UFC on Fox 27 in 2018 via decision, on UFC on Fox 30 through a unanimous decision, and at UFC 238 by unanimous decision. In 2022 she got fight of the night after her split decision win against Amanda Ribas. Katlyn’s MMA record is marked by 23 total fights, where she won 18 and lost 5.
Her father, a known competitor, influenced Mackenzie’s foundation in MMA. Dern started mixed martial arts professionally at Legacy FC 58, where she won by split decision and went ahead to win her LFA 6,24, and 61 later on. In Invicta FC 26, she succeeded through an armbar in the 3rd round.
With a kneebar, Mackenzie beat Hannah Cifers to get the performance of the night award and got the same award in a submission win at UFC Fight Night 178. Despite her loss at UFC Fight Night 194, she still garnered the fight of the night award, and she bore Tecia Torres in a split decision at UFC 273. In 15 bouts, she won 12 and lost three by decision.