Ever wanted to know the top ten best champions over 6 feet tall? How about the best multi-division fighters? Well then this is the best place for you. This is a series that will come out on a week that doesn’t have a UFC event, and will usually cover something from the last weekend’s events. With Ronda Rousey stopping Cat Zingano just 14 seconds into their fight, I thought we would take a look at the best women’s pound-for-pound rankings across MMA.
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk (UFC Strawweight)
For the sake of my sanity, let’s say her name once. Joanna Jedrzeczyk (8-0; 2-0)), we’re going to call her JJ, starts off the list as a UFC Strawweight. JJ has been a busy fighter since making her debut in 2012 as she has fought 8 times in the span of 31 months. She made her debut in SFT in her native Poland, and beat Sylwia Juskiewicz by unanimous decision. She would win her next four fights until her first real test came when she would face UFC and Bellator veteran Rosie Sexton. She knocked out the vet in the second round and punched her ticket to the UFC. In her UFC debut, she beat Juliana Lima at UFC on Fox 12 in July. The unanimous decision victory instantly brought up talks of her being the first challenger for the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 20. JJ had to get through Claudia Gadelha before she could punch her ticket against Carla Esparza. JJ beat her opponent narrowly and won the title-eliminator match. She now is scheduled for a chance at the title against champion Carla Esparza this month at UFC 185 in Dallas.
- Alexis Davis (UFC Bantamweight)
At number 9, we have jiu-jitsu black belt and MMA veteran Alexis Davis. Davis (16-6; 3-1) has been one of the top in her division for quite some time. She made her debut in 2007, with a loss to future Strikeforce champion Sara Kaufman. She would win her next five before another loss, this time to Tara LaRose. She also lost to Women’s MMA veteran Shayna Baszler, and Elainia Maxwell before she signed with Strikeforce in July, 2011. She picked up decision victory over Julie Kedzie in her Strikeforce debut and then split her next two before the organization disbanded. She signed with Invicta FC, where she would win both of her fights, including avenging a loss to Baszler. She signed with the UFC and fought vet Rosie Sexton in her debut. She picked up the Decision win. She beat her next two opponents in Liz Carmouche and Jessica Eye to earn a title-shot. She would fall victim to champ Rousey in just sixteen seconds. As of right now, she is not scheduled for another fight.
- Carla Esparza (UFC Strawweight)
The first ever UFC Strawweight title holder Carla Esparza (10-2; 1-0) comes in at number 8. Esparza is a title holder through and through, as she held the inaugural Invicta and UFC titles in her career. She started her pro career in 2010 with a 48 second TKO victory. In just her fourth fight, she was a part of Bellator’s 115 lbs. tournament where she lost in the quarterfinal to Megumi Fuiji. Three fights later, she lost to future title-holder Jessica Aguilar at Bellator 46 for her second loss in the organization. That was her last loss; as she has gone on to pick up five straight victories. Some of those include Felice Herrig, Sarah Schneider and Bec Rawlings. She won season 20 of The Ultimate Fighter by winning all three of her preliminary fights and then the final against Rose Namajunas. With that win, she was the inaugural UFC Strawweight title, and is schedule to Joanna Jedrzejczyk for her first defense at UFC 185 on March 14.
- Sarah Kaufman (UFC Bantamweight)
Former Strikeforce champion Sarah Kaufman (17-2, 1 NC; 1-0, 1 NC) is the number 7 women in the world. Kaufman started her career, and rattled off twelve straight wins, including wins over Miesha Tate, Shayna Baszler, and Roxanne Modafferi. In that span, she won the Strikeforce belt over Takayo Hashi and then defended it against Modafferi. Her first pro loss came in her next bout against Marloes Coenen, where she would also lose her belt. She would go on to win three straight against Megumi Yabushita, Liz Carmouche, and Alexis Davis found her in a familiar spot with a title-shot against Ronda Rousey. ‘Rowdy’ beat the former champ by her patented armbar in under a minute to give the Canadian just her second career loss. She then fought in Invicta for one fight, a Fight of the Night victory over Leslie Smith. In her two UFC fights, she has one win and one no-contest as her loss to Jessica Eye was overturned by the TSAC. She is not currently scheduled for a fight right now.
- Cat Zingano (UFC Bantamweight)
Number 6 goes to a familiar face from last weekend. Cat Zingano (9-1; 1-1) is last on the list of armbars by Ronda Rousey. She started her career in 2008, and won her first two fights impressively. She then beat Barb Honchak by decision to take the Fight to Win 130 lbs. Women’s title. Not even a year later, she faced Takayo Hashi for the 125 lbs. Women’s title for the same organization. She won that fight by KO and went on to Invicta after that. She would pick up one victory over Raquel Pennington. In her UFC debut, Cat looked good in a decisive TKO win over future title-challenger Miesha Tate. This gave Zingano a shot at crack at Rousey for the belt. They were supposed to coach TUF 18 and then fight at UFC 168. Just before, Zingano blew out her ACL and couldn’t coach of the show. When she was finally ready to come back, the most tragic thing happened to her. Her husband committed suicide on January 13, 2013. This devastated the contender and left her out even longer. She got back into the cage at UFC 178, and slammed and hit her way to victory over Amanda Nunes. This earned her that title shot that eluded so long ago, at UFC 184. After all that happened, Zingano barely got to show her skills. See this for more info on that fight.
- Jessica Aguilar (WSOF Strawweight)
The first woman on this list not from the UFC comes from WSOF’s Strawweight champion Jessica Aguilar (19-4 MMA; 3-0 WSOF). Aguilar has been one of the best women fighters for quite some time. She has faced some of the best 115 pounders, and kept her winning ways on track. Her debut came with a blemish, as she lost to future TUF competitor Lisa Ellis. In her seventh fight, she fought Angela Magana for the second time. When Magana tried to tell the ref that Aguilar was bleeding, he took it for a verbal submission. This called for a rematch, which Magana won. She made her Bellator debut in June of 2011, when she beat Carla Esparza. She would go on to win 4 of her five Bellator fights. She beat Alida Gray in her WSOF debut for the Strawweight title. She beat her next two opponents to defend her belt in Emi Fujino and Kalindra Faria. Her last loss came to Zolia Frausto Gurgel at Bellator 31 in September 2010. She currently doesn’t have a fight scheduled.
- Miesha Tate (UFC Bantamweight)
In the fourth spot on the list, it’s Cupcake. Miesha Tate (16-5; 3-2), a former title-challenger, comes in at number 3. Being in the shadows of Rousey, she is clearly the second best UFC Women’s Bantamweight. With her relentless pressing and never give up style, ‘Cupcake’ is a style nightmare for everyone. She made her debut in 2007 at a Hook N Skoot event where she picked up the victory. She wouldn’t even be a pro two years before getting her chance in Strikeforce. She lost her first fight to Sarah Kaufman, a future champion. She would pick up Women’s Welterweight tournament victory and a chance champ Marloes Coenen. She would lose the belt in her very next fight against non-other than Ronda Rousey. This put her in a slump where she lost two of her next three, including another title-fight to Rousey. This changed Tate for the better as she changed camps, styles, and even made better diet choices. With this, she has picked up three straight decision wins over Liz Carmouche, Rin Nakai, and Sara McMann. She has yet to get another fight signed for the UFC.
- Barb Honchak (Invicta Flyweight)
The only Flyweight on the entire list, Barb Honchak (10-2 MMA; 5-0 Invicta) stops in for the bronze medal of my list. Honchak of the older women on this list at 35, but is at her best now in Invicta FC. Although she lost two of her first three fights to the likes of Cat Zingano and Angela Magana, ‘Little Warrior’ hasn’t seen defeat in quite some time. After her losses, she went to beat the likes Felice Herrig and Roxanne Modafferi. She made her Invicta debut in July of 2012 against Bethany Marshall. Barb would get the win by TKO, and make continue her winning streak to four. Her next fight came to Aisilng Daly, a tough contest for anyone. It took Honchak all fifteen minutes, be she picked up the win and a shot at the title. After beating Vanessa Porto for the Flyweight belt, she has defended it twice against Leslie Smith and Takayo Hashi. She is not currently scheduled for a fight.
- Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (Invicta Featherweight)
At the runner up position, it’s Invicta Featherweight champion Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (13-1, 1 NC; 3-0 Invicta). The only featherweight on this list, she faces competition in a shallow division of Women’s MMA. Making her debut in 2005 in Brazil, she lost her only fight of her pro career. After four straight wins, she signed with Elite XC, where her first real challenge came with women’s pioneer Shayna Baszler. Cyborg took the victory with a second round TKO in Stockton, California (Diaz, 209). After one more fight in Elite, she made Strikeforce debut. She started out roughly, missing weight by six pounds in her debut against Hitomi Akano. She still picked up the victory and used her relentless pressure to get the TKO win. Then the Gina Carano fight came, where she headlined her first card. She beat Carano with 1 second to spare in the first round, send the legend into retirement and taking the inaugural Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight title. She would defend her belt two more times, before she had a NC and was stripped of her belt for taking PED’s. She made her Invicta debut directly into a title-eliminator fight with Fiona Muxlow. She would win that fight by TKO, and move on to fight for the belt. Her next fight for the belt came against a familiar opponent in Marloes Coenen, whom she had already beaten before. She won the inaugural belt by fourth round TKO. In her next, she would take the quick victory over Charmane Tweet in just 46 seconds.
Hm. Claudia Gadelha (UFC Strawweight)
Originally my number 10 pick, after some alterations, Claduia Gadelha comes in as the honorable mention. Being a part of the first ever UFC Strawweight fight holds some relevance, but more importantly her fight style and one fight away from a title shot at all times position are what kept her in this list. A Brazilian training with the likes of Renan Barao, Jose Aldo, and Junior dos Santos, ‘Claudinha’ brings a style of impressive jiu-jitsu and patience to the Octagon. The youngster at only 26, made her pro debut in 2008 at just 20. She would win six of her seven by submission, and 8 of her first 11 by finish. She made her Invicta debut for the Strawweight tile-eliminator against Ayaka Hamasaki. She won by TKO with just over a minute to go in the fight. As aforementioned, she took part in the first UFC Strawweight fight at UFC Fight Night: Cerrone vs. Miller. She would also be the first to win, as she beat Tina Lahdemaki by unanimous decision. She then was given another title-eliminator fight, as she and Joanna Jedrzejczyk went the distance to see who got the first shot at champion Carla Esparza. The victory went to Jedrzejczyk, and left Gadelha with her first career loss. Her next opponent is TUF competitor Aisling Daly, where they will meet in Poland on April 11.
- Ronda Rousey (UFC Bantamweight)
If you didn’t see this coming, I’m sorry I can’t help you out much. Rousey (11-0; 5-0) showed us this weekend why she is the best pound-for-pounds women’s fighter. Her judo skills and always improving striking make her the most dynamic fighter women’s MMA has ever seen. She started off her career with 8 straight armbar finished, the first seven coming in the first round. These included wins over Charmane Tweet, her Bantamweight debut for the Strikeforce title, the first ever women’s fight in the UFC against Liz Carmouche, and another fight with Tate that went three rounds. She didn’t skip a beat, as her total fight time in her next three fights is a minute and thirty seconds. This includes what was supposed to be her toughest opponent yet in Cat Zingano, whom she beat by straight armbar just 14 seconds into their headliner fight on Saturday. See this for more on that fight. The only fight left for ‘Rowdy’ is a super fight with either Cyborg or Gina Carano. Another one I think I’m interested is would be a fight with now Strawweight champion Carla Esparza.
UFC Announces Liverpool Event, Darren Till Main Event
Scousers are drowning in celebration this evening. Earlier today, UFC officials announced the addition of a Liverpool show to their 2018 event calendar. Liverpool’s, Echo Arena, plays host for the event, which takes place on May 27th.
Liverpool’s own, Darren Till made the announcement this afternoon with Dan Hardy at the UFC Fight Night: Werdum vs. Volkov, ceremonial weigh-in. When asked by Hardy what it means to have the UFC in Liverpool, he had this to day, “Words can’t describe it. It doesn’t do it justice, words. So, it’s coming and I’m going to be the first Scousers to ever have done it. In 200 years they’re going to remember my name in combat sports in Liverpool. I’m gonna take someones chin off in Liverpool, that’s what’s happening”.
He was also quoted in an release from the promotion saying, “I can’t believe UFC is finally coming to Liverpool and I’m going to be headlining Echo Arena. My name is going to be remembered in 200 years time for being part of this historical event and I can’t even describe how much that means to me”. Till will headline the card, his opponent is yet to be announced.
In the official release, it quotes David Shaw, Senior Vice President International and Content, claiming, “The stars really aligned for the Octagon to touch down in Liverpool. We have seen such phenomenal demand from fans in the region for a live event. Pair that with having such a rising, local star in Darren Till it made absolute sense to bring our first live event to this historical combat sports city in 2018”.
UFC Liverpool lands on a date speculated for a different venue, in a different country. Reports swirled last month, specifically one from MMAFighting.com, which claimed the May 27th date belonged to the UFCs return to Dublin. A return to Dublin doesn’t seem to fall completely out of the realm of possibility. For now, it remains to be seen.
The UFC also announced two bouts, both in the Middleweight division, booked for the event. Elias Therodorou takes on Trevor Smith, and Daniel Kelly goes up against England’s Tom Breese.
Marco Reyes Flagged for Potential Anti-Doping Policy Violation
Earlier today, UFC officials announced that Lightweight, Marco Reyes was flagged for a potential UFC Anti-Doping Policy violation. The potential violation hails from a sample collected on March 8th, 2018, in an out-of-competition test.
Reyes made his way into the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter Latin America, season 2. Competing in the lightweight bracket, Reyes defeated Christhian Soto by 2nd rd. TKO of a preliminary round bout. He then went onto to face Horacio Gutiérrez, in the semifinals of the tournament. Gutiérrez defeated Reyes in the opening round by TKO.
Following his elimination from the tournament, the Mexican fighter met Cezar Arzamendia on the series finale, The Ultimate Fighter Latin America 2 Finale. Reyes impressively defeated Arzamendia, whom was the first overall pick for Team Gastelum, by 1st round KO.
From there, Reyes defeated Dong Hung Kim (rd. 1, KO), and Jason Novelli (Split Decision) respectively, before falling to rising contender James Vick. Most recently, the Lightweight fighter dispatched Matt Frevola in the opening round, ruining the Long Islanders promotional debut. His bout against Frevola took place at UFC Fight Night: Stephens vs. Choi, on January 14th of this year.
The UFC statement on the matter reads as follows:
The UFC organization was notified today that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Marco Reyes of a potential Anti-Doping Policy violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collected on March 8, 2018.
USADA, the independent administrator of the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, will handle the results management and appropriate adjudication of this case involving Reyes. Under the UFC Anti-Doping Policy, there is a full and fair legal process that is afforded to all athletes before any sanctions are imposed. Additional information will be provided at the appropriate time as the process moves forward.
Dillon Danis to make Pro debut against Kyle Walker at Bellator 198
Mixed Martial Arts officially adopted another incredibly talented jiu-jitsu practioner today. Bellator officials announced today the long-awaited debut of Dillon Danis, whom the promotion had signed in the year previous. After zero amateur and countless jiu-jitsu matches, Danis makes his debut at Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, against Kyle Walker.
Kyle Walker enters the match up also making his Bellator debut. Walker recently made a resurgence in 2016 after taking off, almost exactly, 3 years. Since returning to the professional scene his record is 0-3, losing each fight by stoppage (2 Sub, 1 KO).
Walker looks to snap his streak yet, his opponent could provide a major challenge. In terms of advantages for Walker, he has a massive and obvious one. His experience. Walkers opponent fights for the first time in the sport of MMA. While Danis competed in many top-level jiu-jitsu tournaments and matches, comparing the competition would stop and end upon examining the rule sets. It is quite obvious, the difference. Danis will have a bit of adversity to overcome, in that respect.
In spite of this, Danis’ team, he trains out of the highly regarded SBG Ireland. Even before his MMA training, he trained under Marcelo Garcia. He earned his black belt in April of 2015, following an incredible 2014. In that year, Danis became UAEJJF World Champion, winning gold in the 82 kg (181 lb.) Brown belt category.
The prospect of what that could look like inside the cage is exciting. He may have developed some striking techniques but, the lack of time dedicated to that training in undeniable. Experience and time is required to develop skills of any kind.
Bellator 198: Mir vs. Emelianenko, takes place on Saturday, April 28th from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. Bellator 198 features the third of four preliminary bouts in the promotions Heavyweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko takes on Frank Mir. It serves as the nights main event. Other bouts on the card feature; Emmanuel Sanchez against Sam Sicilia, Neiman Gracie faces Javier Torres, Rafael Lavato Jr. vs. John Salter, and more.
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