On November 4 at UFC 217, two of the most devastating female fighters in the world will square off in front of a sold out crowd in Madison Square Garden for the richest prize in MMA.
UFC Women’s Strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk will look to rack up her sixth consecutive title defense against 25 year old destroyer “Thug” Rose Namajunas.
For Namajunas, she is looking to capture her first UFC championship and slay a living legend in the process.
If you’re a fan of standup fighting, this is the bout for you. While both athletes are more than capable on the ground as well, they are both regarded as two of the best strikers in Women’s MMA.
Which begs the question, what would a list of the top 10 best pure strikers in WMMA look like?
I’ve got you covered! Below is my complete breakdown from #10 all the way up to the #1 best. It should be noted that overall technique was looked at more than raw power when compiling this list.
Honorable mentions: Michelle Waterson, Jing Yu, Barb Honchak, Cat Zingano, Seo Hee Ham, Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Marloes Coenen
#10 Tecia Torres
Nicknamed “The Tiny Tornado” for a reason, Torres is one of the quickest and most versatile strikers in the entire 115 pound division.
We’ve only ever seen Torres out-struck once in her entire career. That was a decision loss to current #1 contender “Thug” Rose Namajunas back in 2016, which also happens to be her only career loss thus far.
Aside from that fight, Torres has outshined all of her opponents on the feet including a younger version of Namajunas when the two first met at Invicta FC 6 in 2013.
Torres faces another highly decorated striker in “The Karate Hottie” Michelle Waterson at UFC 218 in December. We expect to see a kicking clinic between those two!
#9 Hisae Watanabe
If you’ve ever seen a woman dressed in a two-piece leopard-print outfit knock another woman into unconsciousness in the middle of the ring, it was probably Watanabe.
She’s not incredibly well known to the masses but this deadly knockout artist is one of Japan’s best female fighters. She might be ranked higher on this list if she were more active.
Watanabe hasn’t fought in over a year and has only competed twice since 2007. Ordinarily I would keep an inactive fighter off a list but she’s so damn good that I had to make an exception.
#8 Rose Namajunas
Perhaps the most violent fighter in all of Women’s MMA, Namajunas could potentially bump all the way up to #1 on this list of standup fighters if she manages to out-strike Joanna at UFC 217.
The scariest thing about Namajunas is that, at the young age of 25 and with only nine pro fights to her name, she is still nowhere near her maximum potential.
Fresh off an absolute destruction of Michelle Waterson at UFC on FOX 24, Namajunas approaches UFC 217 hungry to obtain gold and slay a seemingly unbeatable champion.
There are not many in the division that can stand with Namajunas. Her technique is ever improving but it is her aggression and in-your-face striking style that overwhelms most of her opponents.
#7 Rena Kubota
Here’s another warrior that is not massively known but should be! This 26 year old phenom, known simply as “Rena” is one of the best kickboxers on the planet today.
She only recently made the transition into MMA from kickboxing/shoot boxing back in 2015 but has managed to go undefeated with five straight victories and three TKO’s.
She may be a bit too small to compete in the UFC’s strawweight division but I’d love to see her fight at atomweight for the Invicta FC one day. Shannon Knapp, make it happen!
#6 Amanda Nunes
As one of only two women to stop Ronda Rousey and the current UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion, many of you are probably going to curse me out for not ranking Nunes closer to the #1 spot on this list.
Honestly, you can make a case for that. She is an absolute monster on the feet and holds two victories over Valentina Shevchenko, whom I ranked #2 on this list.
However, I still believe that Shevchenko out pointed her in their most recent encounter. The judges didn’t see it that way but I surely did. Seeing as how I’m writing this list, I’m sticking to my gut on this one.
#5 Andrea Lee
Expected to make her UFC debut sometime in 2018, Lee has the pure striking pedigree alone to storm the castle and become queen at 125 pounds.
As an overall MMA fighter she’s still growing and needs to continue developing but on a list ranking standup skills alone, she is easily one of the best in the world already.
I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see Lee blossom into a superstar for the UFC’s newly established women’s 125 division; similar to how Rousey and Jedrzejczyk have in the other two.
#4 Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino
If we’re talking power alone, there is no woman on the planet or even the universe for that matter that can hold a candle to “Cyborg”.
The UFC Women’s Featherweight Champion has proven to be every bit as unstoppable as the media hypes her up to be. From Gina Carano to Marloes Coenen to Leslie Smith to Tonya Evinger; they have all fallen to “Cyborg’s” wrath.
The only reason why I am not putting Justino at the top of this list is because I believe that the three girls ahead of her are slightly better on a technical level.
#3 Holly Holm
I don’t think I’ll get many arguments on this one, Holm has proven her striking dominance in almost all of her MMA fights. Aside from a 2016 loss to Valentina Shevchenko, Holm has shown to be light years ahead of her opponents in the striking game.
She became an overnight sensation after knocking out Ronda Rousey at UFC 193 in 2015. Can she do it again in 2018 if she is granted a title shot at 145 lbs against “Cyborg”?
Time will tell.
#2 Valentina Shevchenko
As I stated above, I believe Shevchenko should be UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion right now. All due respect to Nunes but I had “Bullet” up on almost every round in their UFC 215 main event clash.
Not many women can say they have thoroughly out-struck Holly Holm but that is exactly what Shevchenko did at UFC on FOX: Holm vs Shevchenko in July 2016.
Her standup technique is the best in the bantamweight division bar none. Rumor has it that the 29 year old is planning to make the cut down to 125 lbs. If that is the case, I don’t know of a single flyweight who could hang with her standing up.
Bold prediction: Shevchenko will end 2018 as UFC Women’s flyweight champ.
#1 Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Was there ever any doubt in your mind? Honestly, Joanna might be the best pound for pound striker in all of MMA, period point blank!
The UFC Women’s Strawweight champ has been dominant through five consecutive title defenses.
She has pulverized the likes of Carla Esparza, Jessica Penne, Jessica Andrade, Claudia Gadelha and Karolina Kowalkiewicz with some of the most beautifully violent displays of striking that the sport has ever seen.
Her fight with Namajunas at UFC 217 has all the makings of an instant classic. If the Polish dynamo comes out on top in that one, you can make a case that she has surpassed both Rousey and “Cyborg” as the most dominant female fighter in combat sports history.
Mitchell Ciccarelli is the owner and Chief Editor of FightPurist.com. His work has been syndicated on SI.com and FoxSports.com. He is a U.S Air Force NCO and a brand ambassador for Integrity Driven Nutrition. Follow Mitchell on IG @Sarge_America