Ronda Rousey on Feb. 23, 2013 became the first woman to defend a title inside the Octagon when she armbarred Liz Carmouche in the opening round of the UFC 157 headliner in Anaheim, Calif. Approximately one year later, the female bantamweights make their debut in Sherdog.com’s divisional rankings. Following her 66-second thrashing of Sara McMann at UFC 170, it is no surprise that Rousey sits atop the initial poll. Without her, after all, female mixed martial artists probably would not be where they are today.
With the women’s sport still growing and developing, expect plenty of turnover in its ranks as the UFC continues to add talent. Whether any of that talent is capable of knocking off “Rowdy” is another matter entirely.
Elsewhere, middleweights Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo Souza each staked their respective claim to No. 1 contender status with impressive victories at UFC Fight Night 36 in Brazil on Feb. 15. Machida earned his second triumph since dropping to 185 pounds by outpointing fellow converted light heavyweight Gegard Mousasi in the main event, while Souza outgrappled the massive Francis Carmont to capture a three-round verdict in the co-headliner.
Machida and Mousasi are not the only ones hungry for gold. Raphael Assuncao made a case for his title candidacy at UFC 170 by defeating Pedro Munhoz to earn his sixth consecutive bantamweight victory, and Zach Makovsky established himself as a person of interest at flyweight with a win over Joshua Sampo.
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