's WMMA Pound-for-Pound Top 10

By Staff Jun 21, 2015

Joanna Jedrzejczyk rises to the No. 2 spot in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings thanks to a phenomenal title defense at UFC Fight Night in Berlin.

The UFC strawweight champion gave no quarter to Jessica Penne on June 20, snuffing out takedown attempts and methodically picking apart her challenger with strikes en route to a third-round stoppage. It was the same aggressive style which won Jedrzejczyk the title just three months prior, when she ended the brief reign of inaugural titleholder Carla Esparza with a ferocious knockout.

The Polish muay Thai stylist already owns wins over a few of the finest 115-pounders in MMA -- Esparza and Claudia Gadelha -- and with the recent addition of World Series of Fighting titleholder Jessica Aguilar to the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster, she may soon have the chance to add another name to that list. For now, her current hot streak and 10-0 run over the past three years move her above relatively inactive featherweight Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, who could be headed down the scale to a busier division after her July 9 bout with Faith Van Duin.

Related: Sherdog Divisional Rankings

1. Ronda Rousey (11-0)

What superlatives remain to heap upon Rousey? At 28 years old and with just 11 professional bouts on her ledger, the former Olympic judoka has decimated the women’s bantamweight division en route to becoming MMA’s lone female superstar. Even before her 14-second blowout of Cat Zingano at UFC 184, comparisons were being made between Rousey and Mike Tyson due to the brief and lopsided nature of her title defenses. Unlike Tyson in his prime, however, there are no bigger names or belts for Rousey to chase. She will put her title on the line against fellow unbeaten Bethe Correia at UFC 190 in August.

2. Joanna Jedrzejczyk (10-0)

Just three years into her mixed martial arts career, Jedrzejczyk’s precise, powerful striking and thrilling aggression have taken her to the top of the 115-pound division. The burgeoning Polish star’s latest conquest came June 20 in Berlin, where she dismantled challenger Jessica Penne for a third-round stoppage, becoming the first woman to successfully defend the newly minted UFC strawweight title. In a span of six months, Jedrzejczyk has defeated Penne, Carla Esparza and Claudia Gadelha, but with her weight class still in its UFC infancy, there will be no shortage of challengers. Next up to face “Joanna Champion” could be the winner of Gadelha versus Jessica Aguilar on Aug. 1.

3. Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino (13-1, 1 NC)

Since bursting into the MMA consciousness in 2008, the woman known as “Cyborg” has lived up to her name by terminating 10 straight opponents, nine via knockout. In fact, the only setback of Justino’s stateside career came in 2011, when the then-Strikeforce champion was suspended for one year after testing positive for anabolic steroids. The 29-year-old Brazilian returned in April 2013 and has since captured the Invicta Fighting Championships featherweight belt, which she defended on Feb. 27 by punching out Charmaine Tweet in 46 seconds. All eyes have turned to a potential bout between Justino and UFC star Ronda Rousey, but first, the Rafael Cordeiro pupil will face New Zealand’s Faith Van Duin on July 9 in what could be Justino’s final 145-pound appearance.

4. Jessica Aguilar (19-4)

In May, Aguilar was granted her release by World Series of Fighting, whose strawweight title she held for just over a year despite the organization having no real 115-pound division. Freed to pursue more meaningful bouts, “Jag” quickly joined the UFC, where she will debut Aug. 1 in a high-stakes bout against Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Claudia Gadelha. The American Top Team product’s résumé includes a pair of victories over former pound-for-pound queen Megumi Fujii, as well as a 2011 win against former UFC ace Carla Esparza.

5. Cat Zingano (9-1)

Zingano’s grit and determination inside the cage helped her score come-from-behind wins against Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes 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. The brief bout illustrated far less about Zingano -- who entered the bout unbeaten at 9-0 with eight finishes -- than it did the gap between Rousey and even the best of the rest at 135 pounds.

6. Miesha Tate (16-5)

Every great champion needs a foil, and Tate is the only woman in the bantamweight division who can legitimately call herself a rival to Ronda Rousey. Though winless in two outings against the UFC superstar, “Cupcake” has given Rousey her stiffest opposition to date; she remains the only one of Rousey’s 11 opponents to make it out of the first round. While another title clash for Tate remains a hard sell, the 28-year-old has been busy making her case, earning decision wins against Sara McMann, Liz Carmouche and Rin Nakai in the past 12 months. Tate will turn her attention to Jessica Eye at UFC on Fox 16 on July 25.

7. Barb Honchak (10-2)

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 rout of Takayo Hashi 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.

8. Claudia Gadelha (12-1)

Weight issues prevented Gadelha from competing on Season 20 of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt from Nova Uniao never figured to be far removed from contention for the UFC strawweight title. However, the 26-year-old Brazilian was derailed in December, dropping a split decision to Joanna Jedrzejczyk in what proved to be a No. 1 contender bout. “Claudinha” will have the chance to earn a rematch with now-champ Jedrzejczyk when she tangles with former World Series of Fighting champion Jessica Aguilar in August.

9. Carla Esparza (10-3)

Esparza’s collegiate wrestling base propelled her through “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 20 and helped her defeat Rose Namajunas to become the inaugural UFC women’s strawweight champion, but it did not help her at all against Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 185. 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 Herrig and Bec Rawlings.

10. Alexis Davis (17-6)

Davis may have only lasted 16 seconds with bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey, but she remains a tough out for the rest of the division, including old rival Sarah Kaufman. The “Ally-Gator” was punched up by Kaufman in the opening round of their UFC 186 bout but persevered to secure an armbar in the second round, winning for the first time in three meetings with her fellow Canadian. The victory was the fourth in five UFC appearances for 30-year-old Davis, who figures to hang around the 135-pound top 10 for some time.


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