It was a quiet couple of months with no shake-ups in the
Sherdog.com women’s pound-for-pound rankings -- and then Holly Holm
Holm turned the sport on its ear by kicking Ronda
in the face at UFC
, dethroning the queen of MMA and snatching the Ultimate
Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight crown in one fell swoop.
Although the former boxing titlist rightfully grabbed most of the
media attention with her near-flawless performance, Holm’s historic
upset cleared the way for another UFC champion to ascend to the No.
1 spot in this top 10.
, the Polish muay Thai stylist currently ruling the
115-pound division, kept hold of her title in the Nov. 15 co-main
event by outpointing upset-minded Valerie
across five rounds. Unlike Holm, “Joanna Champion”
did not have a perfect outing; in fact, at times in the early
rounds, she looked downright beatable. However, the true qualities
of a champion, as the cliche goes, shine through during the tough
times, and Jedrzejczyk overcame her slow start to gradually pick
apart Letourneau and take control of the contest.
Consistent and decisive performances over tougher competition give
Jedrzejczyk the edge over her fellow striker when it comes to the
top spot, though votes were close amongst Sherdog’s ranking
In this update, Jedrzejczyk takes the No. 1 ranking previously held
by Rousey, who falls two places to No. 3. Holm, who was outside of
pound-for-pound discussion before this outing, sits between them at
No. 2. With the entry of Holm, former No. 10 Alexis
falls off the list.
Jedrzejczyk put on another striking clinic at UFC 193, this time
pushing back after early resistance from underdog challenger
Valerie Letourneau. The strawweight ace took a few licks from
Letourneau before taking charge by doing what Jedrzejczyk does
best: dismantling her foes with technical striking, including
laser-beam punches and stinging low kicks. It was the second
successful defense for “Joanna Champion” since claiming the belt
in March, with a three-round mauling of Jessica
in between. Next up figures to be a rematch with Claudia
, who was dealt her first and only loss by Jedrzejczyk a
year ago in a narrow split decision.
In her first two Octagon appearances, Holm showed glimpses of the
devastating kickboxing skills which got her a spot on the big stage
after just seven pro MMA bouts. At UFC 193, “The Preacher’s
Daughter” let it all hang out. Holm was precise and punishing in
her stunning upset of Ronda Rousey, acting as a buzzsaw into which
the UFC’s superstar continually ran. Holm’s second-round head kick
heard ‘round the world signaled the end of Rousey’s invincibility
and the start of a new era in women’s MMA -- not to mention the
installation of a new 135-pound champion with standup credentials
to strike fear into any challenger. It seems likely that Holm, who
now owns seven knockouts in 10 outings, will need to defeat Rousey
again before moving on to any new challengers.
Rousey’s reign as UFC bantamweight champ and pound-for-pound queen
came to a screeching halt on Nov. 15 in Melbourne, Australia, where
the judoka-turned-Hollywood star was dismantled by former boxing
champ Holly Holm in one of the biggest upsets in MMA history. The
aggression which had become Rousey’s trademark ultimately led to
her downfall, as she repeatedly ran into Holm’s left hand before
being knocked out cold by a head kick early in round two. The
timeline for Rousey’s return is unknown, but the UFC is already
angling for a rematch between its biggest attraction and the woman
who upset the apple cart.
“Cyborg” continues to steamroll all opponents placed before her
inside the cage. The Brazilian powerhouse’s latest victim was
, whose July 9 bid for the
Invicta Fighting Championships
featherweight title lasted a
mere 45 seconds. Justino, who is unbeaten in 15 fights over the
past 10 years, was on her way down to 140 pounds as a test run for
a potential 135-pound bout with Ronda Rousey. With Rousey suffering
her first loss at the hands of Holly Holm, the future of that
long-discussed super fight seems uncertain.
The first defeat of Gadelha’s MMA career -- a razor-thin split
decision defeat to Joanna Jedrzejczyk -- seems only to have
motivated the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt. Gadelha was
relentless in her Aug. 1 bout with Jessica Aguilar, beating and
bloodying the former World Series of Fighting titlist for three
rounds en route to a unanimous decision. With the win, Gadelha
secured the right to rematch Jedrzejczyk; this time, the Polish
fighter’s UFC strawweight belt will be on the line.
Aguilar went unbeaten for nearly five years, racking up 10 straight
wins over the likes of Carla Esparza and Megumi
(twice). She captured the
World Series of Fighting
strawweight title and was, until just
recently, ranked at the top of the 115-pound division. The American
Top Team fighter’s streak ended in her UFC debut on Aug. 1, when
she ran up against top contender Claudia Gadelha at UFC 190.
Aguilar had little answer for Gadelha’s quick hands and powerful
takedowns; nonetheless, “Jag” hung tough until the end and suffered
a unanimous decision defeat.
Zingano’s grit and determination inside the cage helped her score
come-from-behind wins against Miesha Tate and Amanda
to become the UFC’s top bantamweight contender. The same
qualities helped the Colorado native return to action following ACL
surgery and the death of her husband in 2014. However, in her
long-awaited title shot against Ronda Rousey at UFC 184, “Alpha
Cat” had little chance to display her skills or resolve, as a
14-second armbar dashed Zingano’s championship hopes.
Tate took what Jessica Eye
had to offer and kept on coming, fighting her way back into their
July 25 encounter with pressure on the feet and on the floor.
“Cupcake” controlled the later rounds to emerge from the bout with
a unanimous decision and remain one of the top UFC contenders at
Honchak has been nothing but dominant since winning the Invicta
flyweight belt -- a little too dominant, perhaps. “The Little
Warrior” drew criticism with her latest title defense, a November
2014 rout of Takayo
which saw Honchak outwork the Japanese vet in the clinch
for the better part of five rounds. Regardless of her tactics,
there can be no denying the Pat Miletich
student’s results: Honchak is currently riding a nine-fight winning
streak and has not suffered a loss since September 2010.
Esparza’s collegiate wrestling base propelled her through “The
Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 and helped her defeat Rose
to become the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight
champion, but it did not help her at all against Joanna Jedrzejczyk
. Unable to bring the polish striker to the ground, Esparza
suffered through an early candidate for “Beatdown of the Year”
before being punched senseless in the second round. It was the
27-year-old’s first knockout loss in 13 bouts and snapped a
five-fight winning streak which saw the “Cookie Monster” take out
the likes of Felice