Dana White was initially sceptical about creating a women’s division in the UFC but his decision to do so in 2012 has paved the way for a number of successful female fighters.
Initially, the bantamweight championship existed as the sole women’s division, but nowadays there are titles to be won at four weight classes, including featherweight, flyweight and strawweight.
Over recent years, fans have been treated to some extraordinary women’s matches and it is now commonplace for female contests to feature as co-main events on a UFC card.
From Miesha Tate to Ronda Rousey, we’ve ranked our top 10 female UFC fighters of all time.
10. Liz Carmouche
Carmouche is best remembered for competing in the first-ever women’s UFC fight against Rousey at UFC 157.
Though she lost the fight, Carmouche competed in the UFC for the next six years and fought Valentina Shevchenko for the Women’s Flyweight Championship as the main event of UFC Fight Night 156.
While her record is not as impressive as others who have competed for the organisation, she will nonetheless go down as a trailblazer for MMA and a UFC icon.
The 37-year-old now competes in Bellator, where she is ranked fourth in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings.
9. Jéssica Andrade
Andrade beat Rose Namajunas to win the Women’s Strawweight title in 2019 and now competes in the flyweight division.
Having made her UFC debut against Carmouche back in 2013, the Brazilian is one of the longest-serving female fighters in the organisation.
Across 19 UFC fights, the 30-year-old has won 13, including her most recent contest against Cynthia Calvillo at UFC 266.
A rematch against Shevchenko for the Flyweight Championship now beckons.
8. Holly Holm
Holm’s most famous UFC moment came when she handed Rousey her first-ever defeat in the sport in front of a record-breaking crowd in Melbourne.
The win saw her clinch the Women’s Bantamweight title in one of the biggest upsets in combat sports history, though she lost the belt in her next fight to Tate.
Considered one of the best strikers of all time, Holm is a former boxing world champion and regarded by BoxRec as the best female professional boxer ever.
Having won her last two contests, the 40-year-old is currently sixth in the women’s pound-for-pound rankings.
7. Rose Namajunas
Namajunas is a two-time and current strawweight champion and is ranked third in the pound-for-pound rankings.
Her most famous victory came when she handed Joanna Jędrzejczyk her first-ever UFC defeat to clinch the strawweight title.
The Lithuanian-American is the only woman in the UFC to ever regain and then defend a title after losing it.
Having started her career by competing on The Ultimate Fighter, Namajunas lost in the final to Carla Esparza and a rematch between the two could well be on the cards soon.
6. Miesha Tate
Despite losing twice to Rousey in much-publicised fights, Tate’s biggest career achievement came when she defeated Holm to win the bantamweight title at UFC 196 in 2016.
Later that same year, the 35-year-old retired but made a remarkable return to the sport back in July.
Tate beat Marion Reneau via TKO in her first fight back but lost to Ketlen Viera by unanimous decision in November.
However, the American still has aspirations of winning back the bantamweight belt from Amanda Nunes and is not set to give up just yet.
5. Joanna Jędrzejczyk
For a period, Jędrzejczyk was considered one of the top two female fighters in the UFC, alongside Rousey.
The Polish star won her first eight UFC fights and defended the Women’s Strawweight Championship on five occasions.
Jędrzejczyk has lost four of her last six contests in recent years but still remains an active fighter in the strawweight division.
4. Valentina Shevchenko
Shevchenko is the reigning flyweight champion and has defended the belt on six occasions so far.
In truth, the 33-year-old has dominated the division since its inception and nobody in this weight class appears capable of beating her at present.
Since joining the UFC, only Nunes has defeated Shevchenko and has done so on two occasions.
But if the Kyrgyzstani–Peruvian fighter continues defending her title, she could well jump higher on this list.
3. Cris Cyborg
To most people, Cyborg will forever be the most intimidating female fighter of all time.
The 36-year-old was a renowned MMA fighter across other promotions prior to joining the UFC and made a huge statement when she won the vacant Women’s Featherweight Championship in 2017.
Cyborg scored notable victories over Yana Kunitskaya and Holm to defend the featherweight belt, though she also lost the title to Nunes in 2018.
Having won UFC, Strikeforce, Bellator and Invicta FC titles, Cyborg is the only fighter, male or female, to become a Grand Slam champion and hold championships across four major promotions.
2. Ronda Rousey
Putting Rousey so high on this list may well be controversial but there is no denying that she helped put women’s UFC on the map.
Rowdy was the first female to ever sign with the UFC and became the face of the bantamweight division.
She won her first six contests before losing the belt to Holm at UFC 193.
The 34-year-old tried to regain her title the following year but lost to Nunes in the first round.
Rousey would later make the move to the WWE and is the only woman to win championships for both companies.
1. Amanda Nunes
Nunes is widely regarded as the greatest female MMA artist of all time and it’s easy to see why.
She is the first woman to become a two-division UFC champion and the only female to hold two titles across different weight classes simultaneously.
Moreover, the 33-year-old is the only UFC fighter ever to defend two titles while actively holding them.
Nunes is the reigning Bantamweight and Featherweight Champion and is ranked as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC.
Her win streak is now at 12 and dates back to September 2014, when she lost to Cat Zingano at UFC 178.