Over the last 25 years, the Ultimate Fighting Championship has grown exponentially into a worldwide mixed martial arts powerhouse. For much of that time men led the charge and were the predominant gender of note in the organization. However, over the last decade, women's MMA has become an equal part in pushing the brand to new heights socially. In celebration of girl-power in the UFC, here are the top-10 female UFC fighters of all time, in all its subjective and controversial glory.
10. Germanine De Randamie
This pick may stir up some hate from the MMA fan mob because Germaine De Randamie's 10-4 record, at first glance, seems unbecoming of an all-time great. However, look deeper fight fan and you will see an impressive resume. "The Iron Lady" has had two losses during her nine-fight run in the promotion. Those came against women's MMA deity Amanda Nunes. That says all you need to know about the Dutch striking ace and what it takes to beat her at this level. She's headlined two events, won the featherweight title and earned finishes in more than half of her Octagon wins.
- Germaine De Randamie UFC record: 7-2 (two main events)
Many great fighters--even at the UFC level--have losses that make you scratch your head. De Randamie doesn't. Even in her second setback to "The Lioness" her striking had become so dangerous that the Brazilian legend went full wrestler mode to secure a decision win. Unlike her title win over Holly Holm, there's no controversy in De Randamie's placement on this list. The biggest knock on the talented kickboxer's run was hard-to-deny avoidance of facing Cris Justino for her new belt in 2017.
9. Zhang Weili
In a few years the 31-year-old Zhang Weili (or Weili Zhang, however you prefer to say it) could be higher on this list. But to still be an all-time talent in just six UFC fights says a ton about the spectacular talent she has. She won the UFC strawweight title after four bouts in the Octagon and in the midst of a 20-fight win streak.
- Zhang Weili UFC record: 5-1 (one main event)
"Fury" then followed that up by putting on one of the best fights these eyes have ever seen against Joanna Jedrzejczyk in her first title defense. A name you will see later in this list. Yes, Zhang lost her second defense in grand fashion, but being 21-2, a former UFC titleholder, and the biggest MMA import from China gets you on the list easily.
8. Holly Holm
No other fighter on this list is more defined by one moment than Holly Holm. Her definitive victory over Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 was a legitimate paradigm shift in the industry. Out was the era of "Bad Reputation" intro music, mean-mugging, and Rousey's dominance. In was a chance for every other talent to go after the brass ring of being the new face for female fighters in the promotion.
- Holly Holm UFC record: 7-5 (six main events)
It's not to say that "The Preacher's Daughter" did not have many pivotal moments while headlining events in half of her Octagon appearances. She certainly did, but her thunderous head kick that stopped the unstoppable force was a historic highlight-reel moment that still reverberates six years later.
7. Jessica Andrade
What makes Jessica Andrade's UFC run so impressive, is the 5'1" former strawweight champion's first seven Octagon appearances were 20 pounds up at bantamweight. The reason being was because flyweight didn't exist at the time, and she and her team were unsure if she could make the weight. Once they found the alchemy needed for her to reach 115 pounds safely, she was a wrecking ball that won seven of eight in route to ending Rose Namajunas' first reign as champion.
- Jessica Andrade UFC record: 13-7 (two main events)
Although her own reign was short-lived she would move up to flyweight and contend for that division's title as well. It's taken elite talent to beat her because she is arguably one of the best Brazilian female UFC fighters of all time.
6. Cris 'Cyborg' Justino
If this were a list based purely on the total tapestry of a fighter's career, Cris "Cyborg" Justino would be top-three, however, this list is just about the UFC. Nonetheless, she is still the best Brazilian MMA female fighters ever and her total resume makes her one of the best female MMA fighters ever. She wrecked house in classic "Cyborg" finishing fashion in four of her six wins and was a part of a historic title defense loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 240.
- Cris Cyborg UFC record: 6-1 (three main events)
However, as has always been the case for the Brazilian great, her resume is harder to stack up against her legendary contemporaries. Her marque win in the UFC came against #8 talent Holly Holm, after that, it's a solid hit-list but not one that breaks her into the top five.
5. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
The first in the top 5 best MMA women ever in the UFC is Joanna Jedrzejczyk. If not for losing four of her last six (all to women on this list) Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of the top-three female UFC fighters of all time. Maybe even top two. Not just for her resume that includes noteworthy wins over talented fighters like Cláudia Gadelha twice, Carla Esparza, Karolina Kowalkiewicz, Jéssica Andrade, and Michelle Waterson, but she became the successful new face for women in the UFC when Rousey was taken down by Holm.
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk UFC record: 10-4 (three main events)
On the biggest stage, and in five title defenses, she displayed world-class striking and an all-around MMA game that proved the ladies could do it just as well as the gents, and in her case, better than many of the gents.
4. Ronda Rousey
No individual has had a greater influence on today's current state of women's MMA in the UFC than Ronda Rousey. Full stop. She made UFC president Dana White a believer in the monetary upside of women fighting in the UFC, and she helped to further the brand in the mainstream. All of her Octagon appearances were title fights. She scored finishes in all six of her wins, and five times in the first round. Even her losses were epic. As she was finished by strikes in both and helped catapult Holm and Nunes into MMA superstardom
- Ronda Rousey UFC record: 6-2 (six main events).
3. Rose Namajunas
While Rose Namajunas may not have the historical relevance on her name like Jedrzejczyk, she still beat the woman that woman with historical relevance on her name twice. And once by technical knockout. That can't be understated. Also, her last two Octagon victories came against this list #10 (by knockout) and #7, and she is the only woman in UFC history to win a division's title twice. However, the most mind-blowing fact is that "Thug Rose" is just 28-years-old and continues to get better.
- Rose Namajunas UFC record: 9-3 (three main events)
2. Valentina Shevchenko
In a world where Amanda Nunes does not exist, Valentina Shevchenko is the best female UFC fighter to ever compete in the Octagon. The Kyrgyzstan native is one of the most gifted strikers to ever grace a UFC card, male or female. However, she is just as gifted a grappler and put that on full display in a dominant win over our #7 at UFC 261.
- Valentina Shevchenko UFC record: 11-2(four main events)
Yet, there is one hold up in her owning the top spot. Two very close losses to Nunes. Skill for skill, you could maybe make the case that Shevchenko is better than her Brazilian rival. But when it came time to prove it, Nunes put everything together better--including in-fight strategy--and bested Shevchenko each time.
1. Amanda Nunes
The most anti-climactic #1 in UFC list history. There really is no other option, and it was the easiest choice to make in deciding who is the best female to ever step in the Octagon. Amanda Nunes has defeated a who's who of UFC greats. De Randamie (twice), Holm, "Cyborg," Rousey, and Shevchenko (twice). Even her lesser wins over Miesha Tate and Raquel Pennington hold serious weight in the industry.
- Amanda Nunes UFC record: 15-3 (five main events)
"Lioness" has finished opponents in 81% of her career wins, is the only two-division champion in women's UFC history, and has competed in nine straight title fights and counting. She's not just the greatest Brazilian female UFC fighter. Not just one of the best female MMA fighters ever. She's the greatest female combat sports athlete of all time.