11 martial artists among SI Fittest 50 athletes worldwide

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Sports Illustrated has revealed its Fittest 50 list for 2016, ranking the fittest 50 male and the fittest 50 female athletes in the world. In all, 11 figures from martial arts and combat sports made the list, including 7 from mixed martial arts, split between four women and three men.

MEET THE WOMEN

Athletes were assessed on six criteria, including strength: the pushing-off power of a pole vaulter or the ballistic backhand of a Grand Slam champion; speed: the top-end velocity of a sprinter or the quick-cut burst of a point guard; endurance: a cyclist’s ceaseless drive or a boxer’s ability to absorb punishment and keep punching; and agility: the fluid movements of a gymnast or the knife-edge balance of a downhill skier.

50. Elena Delle Donne / CHICAGO SKY

49. Darya Klishina / TRACK AND FIELD, LONG JUMP

48. Ireen Wüst / SPEED SKATING

47. Genzebe Dibaba / TRACK AND FIELD, DISTANCE

46. Kacy Catanzaro / AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR

45. Jessi Stensland / ADVENTURE, ENDURANCE AND PARKOUR

44. Christie Rampone / SKY BLUE FC

43. Mariana Pajon / BMX CYCLIST

42. Lindsey Vonn / ALPINE SKIER

41. Danica Patrick / NASCAR DRIVER

40. Skylar Diggins / DALLAS WINGS

39. Mattie Rogers / WEIGHTLIFTING

38. Sloane Stephens / WTA TENNIS

37. Lolo Jones / HURDLER AND BOBSLEDDER

36. Kristin Armstrong / CYCLING

35. Christmas Abbott / CROSSFIT
Please note: Not David ‘Tank’ Abbott’s daughter 🙂

34. Dafne Schippers / TRACK AND FIELD, HEPTATHLON

33. Camille Leblanc-Bazinet / CROSSFIT

32. Katarina Johnson-Thompson / TRACK AND FIELD, HEPTATHLON

31. Kayla Harrison / JUDO
Kayla HarrisonHarrison began judo at the age of six and was a strong junior player, but she secured her spot in history in 2012 at the Olympics in London by winning the first gold medal by any American (man or woman) in the sport’s history. As she eyes Rio 2016, Harrison trains using circuit-based workouts featuring running, lifting, rope climbs and, of course, judo.

30. Miesha Tate / UFC
Miesha TateTate officially joined the UFC in 2013 and is the current UFC women’s bantamweight champion after defeating former titleholder Holly Holm at UFC 196 in March. The 29-year-old is training for her first title defense against Amanda Nunes, at UFC 200 which, if anything like her last pre-fight camp, will feature sparring sessions, footwork drills with a ladder and more.

29. Candace Parker / LOS ANGELES SPARKS

28. Hannah Teter / HALFPIPE SNOWBOARDER

27. Sally Fitzgibbons / WSL SURFER

26. Michelle Waterson / UFC
Mixed martial arts artist Waterson trains with Team Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA in Albuquerque, N.M., and has also trained in WuShu, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Boxing and wrestling. Waterson fits in her workouts—a mix of MMA sparring, kickboxing and cardiovascular work—between caring for her daughter as a self-described “full-time mommy.”

25. Talayna Fortunato / CROSSFIT

24. Charlotte / WWE

23. Misty Copeland / AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE

22. Brianne Theisen-Eaton / TRACK AND FIELD, HEPTATHLON

21. Amelia Boone / OBSTACLE RACER AND ULTRARUNNER

20. Missy Franklin / USA SWIMMING

19. Ronda Rousey / UFC
Ronda RouseyEven after her shocking defeat vs. Holly Holm, Rousey is still in fighting form and vows to return to reclaim her UFC women’s bantamweight champion belt. As she recovers from injuries she sustained against Holm, Rousey is training to get back in the ring by lifting weights, swimming, and working with her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, at Glendale Fighting Club in California.

18. Maya Moore / MINNESOTA LYNX

17. Ali Krieger / WASHINGTON SPIRIT

16. Gabby Douglas / USA GYMNASTICS

15. Samantha Briggs / CROSSFIT

14. Ashima Shiraishi / ROCK CLIMBER

13. Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce / TRACK AND FIELD, SPRINT

12. Meghan Duggan / ICE HOCKEY

11. Jenn Suhr / POLE VAULTER

10. Kerri Walsh Jennings / BEACH VOLLEYBALL

9. Holly Holm / UFC
Known as The Preacher’s Daughter, Holm is the first person, female or male, to win titles in both boxing and mixed martial arts. The 5’8”, 135-lb southpaw, twice Ring’s Female Fighter of the Year, has devoted countless hours of training to transforming herself into a UFC champion, producing a fearsome blend of power, speed, endurance and agility.

8. Maggie Steffens / USA WATER POLO

7. Claressa Shields / BOXING
Claressa Shields
Shields began boxing at age 11. Four years ago she became the first U.S. woman ever to win a boxing gold medal, taking the middleweight title. Rugged, powerful and utterly committed, Shields put off turning pro in order to go for a second gold in Rio. Her training days include boxing specific drills and sparring as well as lifting and running—often capped with pushups and situps before bed, just because, she says, “it makes me feel stronger.”

6. Gwen Jorgensen / TRIATHLETE

5. Serena Williams / WTA TENNIS

4. Katie Ledecky / USA SWIMMING

3. Simone Biles / USA GYMNASTICS

2. ALLYSON FELIX / TRACK AND FIELD, SPRINT

1. Jessica Ennis-Hill / TRACK AND FIELD, HEPTATHLON

Next: MEET THE MEN

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