Are you ready to meet the UFC female fighters of 2021?
The Ultimate Fighting Championship is a promotion company located in Las Vegas, Nevada that features Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and is operated by Endeavor Group Holdings. Many high-level fighters are joining events featured by UFC with various weight divisions for men and women.
UFC promotes different skills from a lot of martial arts disciplines and can really get violent as professionals fight each other. Many people would wonder how beautiful women fighters chose this career, but these athletes prove that women can be as tough as men. Here are some of the famous UFC female fighters.
Top UFC Female Fighters
Paige Michelle VanZant was born on March 26, 1994, in Oregon and became a professional mixed martial artist, a model, and an author. She first signed for the flyweight division in UFC and later on with a contract to fight in the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship exclusively. She also had a career in the entertainment industry when she appeared in Chopped and Dancing with the Stars.
Paige became one of the most popular UFC female fighters at one point. When she was a teenager, she saw Ken Shamrock’s MMA gym while searching for a dance studio. She started training in jiu-jitsu and boxing, which she eventually earned her first amateur fight at 18 years old. Paige also became a participant in the strawweight division.
Paige’s performance in the arena helped her earn many opportunities outside of the industry. She became a model for popular brands such as Columbia Sportswear and Nike, and then she also appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in 2019. She continued her fighting career at the Bare Knuckle Fighting Championships after not receiving any new contract from the UFC.
Michelle Waterson started her career with modeling until she decided to change her path in 2007. She started training karate when she was ten years old and eventually earned her black belt. Waterson also appeared on Fight Girls, a reality show that featured a number of kickboxers’ careers trying to win the world championships.
Waterson also signed with Strikeforce in 2008 after appearing on Fight Girls and had a 4-2 MMA record. The UFC signed “The Karate Hottie” after her fight in the Invicta FC in 2015.
Aside from being among the top UFC female fighters, she's also a model. She pursued her modeling career while competing in MMA and had some opportunities with photoshoots and TV shows. She was also featured in ESPN’s The Body Issue in 2017.
Mackenzie Dern is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu artist who earned so much for her career. She is one of the most successful female grapplers in history, where she bagged 20 medals from the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions.
Dern started training BJJ when she was three years old with her stepmother and her father, who are black belters as well. She earned her own black belt at the age of 19 years old, which made her eligible to become a professional fighter.
It was in 2018 when she first joined the UFC, facing Ashley Yoder at UFC 222, and won via split decision. Dern managed to maintain a great record of 8-1, making her a notable contender among UFC female fighters.
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate is a former Strikeforce and UFC champion in the bantamweight division who made a fantastic career as a fighter and also in other industries. Her fighting experience started in Franklin Pierce High School, where she first became a wrestler and took home the 2005 state championship. Tate then proceeded to join the MMA in 2007.
In 2016, Tate defeated Holly Holm in a rear-naked choke, which made her the UFC Bantamweight champion. Then Amanda Nunes eventually took the belt from her. Tate decided to retire after losing to Raquel Pennington at UFC 205. Miesha Tate is now the Vice President for ONE Championship in Singapore.
Alexa Grasso is a Mexican strawweight division fighter with 11 MMA wins as a professional. She was born on August 9, 1993, and she started her MMA career in 2012 with a 5-0 record in Mexico before she signed with Invicta FC. Grasso was later on signed to the UFC in 2016, where she won her first match against Heather Jo.
Alexa Grasso made an announcement that she decided to move up to the flyweight division after missing weight for her fight against Claudio Gadelha in UFC 246. She is currently ranked number twelve in the UFC women’s strawweight rankings.
Gina “Crush” Carano is a successful fighter as she started her career in Muay Thai, making an imposing record of 12-1-1. Her accomplishments helped her in transitioning to MMA in 2006, where she showed her skills with knockout wins for her first two fights. This caught the attention of Strikeforce and invited her to fight in their promotion.
After making a 7-0 record, she fought Cris Cyborg in 2009, where she was defeated and decided to retire with a 7-1 record.
Carano’s retirement took her to a new path in the entertainment industry as an actress. She made an appearance in Deadpool, Star Wars: The Mandalorian, and Fast & Furious 6.
Tracy Cortez was inspired to join the MMA after seeing her older brother Jose defeat UFC veteran Drew Fickett. At the age of 14, she started training in Phoenix, Arizona, after her brother brought her to his training gym. Jose immediately matched her up with a professional boxer to show her what she needs to prepare to be a professional fighter. Cortez accomplished an impressive 7-1 record as a member of the UFC female fighters roster.
Rachael Ostovich is a Hawaiian flyweight division fighter who first appeared in a losing match via TKO in the second round in January 2014. But her initial loss was not enough to put her down as she continued to train and fight, which eventually landed an opportunity on The Ultimate Fighter 26. This time, she won her opening match via rear-naked choke. However, her impressive win was followed by losing in a unanimous decision in the quarterfinals, which eliminated her.
Ostovich was then signed to the UFC after the show, with a record of 1-2, including a loss to Paige VanZant.
In early 2020, Ostovich tested positive for Osarine because of a tainted supplement, which led to her eight-month suspension by USADA. But she is still around the UFC as she toured the UFC president around Hawaii when she appeared on Dana White: Lookin’ For a Fight – Honolulu.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk is one of the most popular pound-for-pound fighters in the world. At 16 years of age, Joanna started training Muay Thai then went on to compete in the pro fights and in national tournaments. She won more than 60 matches during her 10-year career in Muay Thai and kickboxing.
Joanna is a Polish MMA fighter who already won the UFC Strawweight Championship in 2015, as she defeated Carla Esparza. She was able to defend this title five consecutive times until she lost to Rose Namajunas at UFC 217. Joanna went to battle Zhang Weili, the strawweight champion at that time, and was considered the greatest female fighter in history.
Amanda Ribas is a Brazilian Mixed Martial Artist born on August 26, 1993. She competed in the strawweight division of the UFC and gained the number ten ranking on February 19, 2020. Her first match in the UFC was against Emily Whitmire, where she held her for submission in the second round. After that match, she fought the multi-time BJJ world champion Mackenzie Dern and became victorious via unanimous decision. Ribas also faced UFC veteran Randa Markos and won the fight by unanimous decision also.
Amanda Ribas gained popularity after defeating Paige VanZant in 2020 using an armbar in the first round of UFC 251. She has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Judo, making her a title threat for the flyweight division.
Amanda Ribas also fought fellow Brazilian Marina Rodriguez and lost in the second round by TKO, which was her first in her UFC career.
Amanda is the daughter of Marcel Ribas, who is an instructor of Muay Thai, judo, and jiu-jitsu. She received her martial arts training for most of her life so she's expected to become one of the best UFC female fighters of today.
Breaking Barriers in Sports
Many people would think that Mixed Martial Arts is a men’s sport, but women are now dominating the sport and producing a lot of spectators. A lot of these women fighters changed the sport, which people would like, especially their fans.
When the UFC purchased the female MMA, it became more popular ever since it started. These female fighters are also infiltrating all MMA promotions, such as Invicta FC and Bellator.
The first official MMA female fight happened in 1997 in the United States. That event made history as women can prove their skills in the cage. Slowly but surely, the number of female fighters and their followers increased. Popular names such as Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey showed successful careers in the UFC in different divisions and disciplines. In this new age, these UFC female fighters showed their worth as tough competitors with technique, dominance, and performance.
Mixed Martial Arts tests the proficiency of a fighter in the cage and weighs her level of competition who can dominate her opponent during the fight. All UFC female fighters go through extensive training, proper health care, mental stability, and support from their team and family.