Women have been competing in the sport of mixed martial arts since 1997, but female MMA has come into its own during the last decade. The competition is getting tougher by the day, and women’s fights are making more waves than ever before. Amanda Nunes’ dominance has no alternative, Valentina Shevchenko’s building a legacy of her own, and Rose Namajunas is violence personified. But that’s not it, as there is a long list of talented women working day and night to cement their legacy as the GOAT. Here are the 5 best female MMA fighters of all time.
Amanda Nunes is the greatest female fighter of all time, there’s no question about it. She is the current two-division UFC champ, and is on a 12-fight win streak, with wins over the likes of Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm, Miesha Tate, Germaine de Randamie, Valentina Shevchenko, and Cris Cyborg.
‘The Lioness’ has finished seven of her last twelve fights in the very first round, and she’s excellent everywhere. Nunes holds a plethora of records in female MMA. She is the first woman to win and defend two belts in the UFC, has the most wins in UFC title fights among women, and ranks fifth in the list of longest-reigning UFC champions.
She’s simply the GOAT, and there’s nobody who comes close to what she’s achieved in the sport.
Valentina Shevchenko is pure violence, and if there’s any woman in the UFC who has a chance against Nunes on paper, it’s her, even though she has lost twice. Many believe Shevchenko won the second fight against the Brazilian.
The UFC flyweight division is still young, but Shevchenko is making sure that she leaves a lasting legacy. The former bantamweight dropped down to flyweight in 2018, beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk to win the 125lbs title, and has defended it five times since then. She holds wins over Holly Holm, Julianna Pena, Jennifer Maia, and she most recently dismantled Jessica Andrade to make her fifth successive title defense.
Cris Cyborg is the most decorated female fighter of all time. She’s held UFC, Strikeforce, and Invicta FC titles and is the current Bellator featherweight champion. Since losing her debut fight in 2005, Cyborg has only lost once, against Amanda Nunes in their UFC title fight, but has dismantled everybody else. She has notable wins over Gina Carano, Holly Holm, and Felicia Spencer and most recently beat Leslie Smith to defend her Bellator crown.
Cyborg has 19 knockout wins in her career.
Say what you want about Ronda Rousey, she’s one of the greatest female fighters of all time because she paved the way. In her heyday, she was the most talked-about personality in combat sports and was beating fighters left, right, and center.
Rousey was the first UFC champion, the first Olympic medalist to win a UFC title, the first woman to defend a UFC title, and still has the most title defenses in bantamweight history (6). She is also the only woman inductee in the UFC hall of hame and has notable wins against Cat Zingano, Miesha Tate (2x), and Liz Carmouche. Although her losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes have pushed her down the pecking order, she’s still one of the GOATs in female MMA.
Kayla Harrison improved to 11-0 with a first-round TKO win against Genah Fabian at PFL 8 and has been making a lot of noise on social media. The two-time Olympic gold medalist in Judo is arguably the best grappler in female MMA, but she has made massive improvements to her striking game as well and has been gathering quite a lot of accolades.
The reason why she’s ranked a little lower in the GOAT debate currently is because she hasn’t fought the same level of competition as the women mentioned above. Harrison has been linked to a fight with Amanda Nunes for a long time, and there is a good chance that they could fight in the UFC once her PFL contract is over.
She surely has the potential to be the GOAT, but to be the best, she would have to beat the best and the best is Nunes.