The Ultimate Fighting Championship, or UFC, is a mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. As of 2020, the UFC has hosted more than 500 events and has grown into a multi-billion-dollar industry and is also a global company.
Today, the UFC televises its events, which has increased its popularity significantly, and although many people don’t realize it, a lot of these events feature female MMA fighters. Indeed, the MMA industry is no longer dominated by men.
Female UFC fighters have been featured in their events since 2012, starting with the first one – a woman by the name of Ronda Rousey. In 2013, the UFC purchased 11 female fighters’ contracts with Invicta Fighting Championships, and today there are female MMA fighters in countries all over the world, including South America, Europe, and Asia.
The women who fight with the UFC come from all different backgrounds and with many different interests, so contrary to what some people may believe, they are an eclectic group indeed.
If you’re interested in learning more about some of the top women in the field of mixed martial arts, the following are 10 of them.
Michelle Waterson was born and raised in Colorado and attended the University of Denver for a while until she decided that she wanted a career as a fighter. She was born in 1986 and is both American and Thai. She once achieved the honor of being the #1 women’s atom-weight fighter in the world and is currently #8 on the list of the UFC women’s straw-weight rankings.
Nicknamed Michelle the karate hottie, Waterson is a very attractive woman and has made appearances on TV shows such as Bully Beatdown and American Ninja Warrior. She has also been trained in boxing, wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and Muay Thai. She even has a black belt in American freestyle karate.
Aleksandra Albu was born in 1990 in Russia and has participated in body-building, crossfit, and karate competitions all over the world. She has been with the UFC since 2015 and has won three of her five major competitions with them.
In addition, she is the first UFC fighter from Russia, an honor of which she is very proud. She holds a black belt in karate, trained in judo and Muay Thai, won the Russian karate championship a total of two times, has competed professionally as a bodybuilder, and even worked at one time as a club bouncer.
This multi-talented young lady has won a total of six MMA competitions, counting the three with the UFC, and her MMA tournaments are yet another one of her many talents. She competes in the straw-weight category.
3. Rachel Wray
Rachel Wray started her career as a cheerleader, cheering for both the University of Arkansas and for the Kansas City Chiefs NFL team. She graduated from college and took advantage of a boxing class at her gym, then fell in love with the sport and decided to make it her career.
With blond hair and blue eyes, she is also someone that everyone notices, and she holds both a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the honor of becoming an MMA fighter. Although she is currently taking a break from MMA, most people doubt it will be a long-term break and in fact, they all hope she will be back soon.
4. Angela Lee
Angela Lee was born in 1996 and holds both a Canadian and an American citizenship. She has three younger siblings, all of whom are also involved in MMA, and she currently competes in the straw-weight category.
She made her MMA debut in 2014, and her career has included winning the Destiny MMA Women’s Straw-weight Championship, the ONE Women’s Atom-weight Championship, the 2016 Fight of the Year, the 2015 Newcomer of the Year, 2015 Female Fighter of the Year, and the 2016 May Fight of the Month.
Lee has won a total of ten competitions and has only lost two, which is a very impressive record. Because both of her parents were involved in mixed martial arts, she started competing at the age of six.
5. Juli Firso
Juli Firso was born in 1995 in Russia and is skilled at kickboxing, Muay Thai, and Jiu-Jitsu. She is a model and dancer, in addition to an MMA fighter. She is also the owner of the Nak Muay Nangfas Martial Arts Academy and has more than 230,000 followers on her Instagram account.
She was also a beauty contestant at one point, so she is definitely a multi-talented young lady. She is not only a very attractive young lady but a talented MMA fighter and martial arts expert as well. She has blond hair and brown eyes.
Born in 1994, Paige VanZant is an American mixed martial arts fighter, as well as a model and author. She joined the UFC as a flyweight contestant, and she has even appeared on television shows such as Dancing with the Stars and Chopped.
She grew up in Oregon, where her mother owned a dance studio, and she participated in jazz, ballet, and hip-hop. VanZant made her MMA debut in 2012 and even competed as a cast member on UFC’s The Ultimate Fighter, which is a reality television series.
VanZant has the nickname 12 Gauge, given to her by her father because she loves to hunt and shoot. She has been a model for Columbia Sportswear and Nike, and she married another MMA fighter, Austin Vanderford, in 2018. That same year, her first book was published. It was entitled, Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life. She also has an Instagram account with more than two million followers.
7. Ronda Rousey
Born in 1987 in California, Ronda Rousey was the first woman to be signed by the UFC but has since gone on to have a very successful career. In addition to being an MMA fighter, Rousey has published an autobiography called My Fight / Your Fight and has made appearances in films such as Furious 7 and The Expendables 3. This young lady is so popular, in fact, that she was voted the best female athlete of all time in a 2015 fan poll conducted by ESPN.
Rousey currently lives in Venice, California. She has been a vegan since 2008 but now goes by a more modified, less-strict diet. She also loves video games such as Pokeman and Dragon Ball Z. Her other movie appearances include Entourage, Charlie’s Angels, and Mile 22.
Valentina Shevchenko is from Kyrgyzstan and is trained in both Muay Thai and mixed martial arts. She participates in the UFC women’s flyweight division and is currently the 2020 Women’s Flyweight Champion. In the past, Shevchenko competed in the UFC’s bantamweight division. She was born in 1988 in Russia and is an expert at kickboxing as well. She even has an undergraduate degree in Film Directing from The University of Arts Kyrgyzstan.
Shevchenko has won more than 50 matches as both an amateur and a professional, and she has won a total of eight gold medals in the IFMA world championships. She has been involved in MMA competition since 2003 and has an impressive record of 19 wins and only 3 losses.
9. Gina Carano
Born in 1982, Gina Carano is not just an MMA participant but also an actress, fitness model, and television personality. She trained in Muay Thai and has been featured in magazines such as Maxim and ESPN The Magazine. Her movies have included Blood and Bone, Haywire, Fast and Furious 6, and Deadpool.
She is no longer participating in MMA events because she wants to concentrate on her acting career instead. Still, Carano is a talented and very attractive young lady who is very popular with MMA fans. She was born in Dallas but went to high school in Las Vegas.
Carano studied psychology at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and helped her girls’ basketball team win a state title in her Las Vegas high school. She is the second of three girls.
10. Miesha Tate
Miesha Tate was born in 1986 and not only fought for the UFC but was also the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She was a wrestler at her high school in Washington State and began her professional MMA career in 2007.
She was born in Tacoma, Washington and grew up as a tomboy, wanting to participate in sports whenever she had the opportunity. Even before she turned pro, she had an impressive 5-1 MMA record. She also debuted in Strikeforce, an MMA promotion, in 2008.
In November of 2018, Tate joined ONE Championship as a vice president. She and fellow MMA fighter Johnny Nunez are engaged and have two children together.
Some of her many championships and accomplishments include the Freestyle Cage Fight (FCF) Women’s Bantamweight Championship, Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship, 2011 Female Fight of the Year with the World MMA, 2016 Comeback of the Year, and the 2008 World Team Trials National Grappling Champion.
Image Source: Ronda Rousey photo by Miguel Discart-Under Creative Commons License