The Rise of Women in MMA: Breaking Barriers and Making History

The Rise of Women in MMA: Breaking Barriers and Making History

Male fighters have long dominated Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), but in recent years, women have been breaking barriers and making their mark in this dynamic and intense sport. With their skill, determination, and unwavering dedication, female fighters are redefining the world of MMA and inspiring generations to come.

Model wearing greenhill gloves

Thanks to pioneers like Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, and Amanda Nunes, who paved the way for female fighters, we now witness a thriving women's division in major MMA promotions.

In this blog, we will explore the incredible rise of women in MMA, highlighting the accomplishments and contributions of these trailblazing athletes.

Outstanding Achievements and Record-Breakers

Female fighters have not only broken barriers but also shattered records, leaving an indelible mark on the history of MMA. Amanda Nunes, for instance, has become a dominant force, holding both the bantamweight and featherweight titles in the UFC simultaneously. She has defeated renowned male and female fighters, solidifying her status as one of the greatest in the sport.

Additionally, fighters like Valentina Shevchenko, Rose Namajunas, and Weili Zhang have showcased their exceptional skills and risen to the top of their respective weight divisions. These women have repeatedly proven their mettle, captivating fans with their extraordinary performances.

Overcoming Stereotypes and Changing Perceptions

Throughout history, female fighters have confronted a multitude of obstacles that have impeded their progress and hindered their success. These hurdles include a stark disparity in pay, limited opportunities, and a lack of recognition when compared to their male counterparts. However, the resilience and tenacity displayed by these exceptional athletes have propelled them forward, enabling them to break down these barriers and demand the respect they undeniably deserve.

However, rather than succumbing to the limitations imposed by society, female fighters use these biases as fuel to propel them further. They transform societal misconceptions into motivation, using every challenge as an opportunity to showcase their strength, skill, and unyielding spirit. Through their unwavering dedication and extraordinary performances, they strive to dismantle gender stereotypes, forging a path for future generations of female athletes to follow.

The accomplishments of female fighters have far-reaching implications, extending beyond their personal triumphs. Their determination and triumphs serve as a beacon of hope for aspiring athletes who dare to challenge societal norms. 

Inspiring the Next Generation

The rise of women in MMA has had a profound impact on aspiring fighters, particularly young girls. Seeing their heroes conquer the ring encourages them to dream big and pursue their passion for combat sports. This shift is fostering a new generation of talented female athletes who are eager to make their mark in the world of MMA.

Here are some of the great female MMA fighters: 

Ronda Rousey: The Pioneer of Women's MMA

Ronda Rousey, a former Olympic judoka, played a pivotal role in popularizing women's MMA and bringing it into the mainstream. Her electrifying performances and fierce fighting style captivated audiences worldwide.

Ronda Rousey


Rousey became the first-ever UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, defending her title successfully several times. She was known for her impressive armbar submissions and an unmatched competitive spirit. Rousey's impact on women's MMA cannot be overstated, as she inspired a generation of female fighters to pursue their dreams in the sport.

Amanda Nunes: The Undisputed Champion

Amanda Nunes is widely regarded as one of the greatest female fighters in MMA history. Holding both the UFC Women's Bantamweight and Featherweight titles, Nunes has dominated her opponents with a combination of power, technique, and versatility. Her victories over Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg, and numerous other top-ranked fighters have solidified her legacy as an unstoppable force.

Amanda Nunes


Nunes' success has shattered the notion that women's fights are any less exciting or competitive than men's bouts, earning her the respect and admiration of fans around the world.

Valentina Shevchenko: The Precision Striker

Valentina Shevchenko, a former professional Muay Thai fighter, has showcased her exceptional striking skills and technical prowess in the UFC's Women's Flyweight division.

Valentina Shevchenko

Known for her precise counter-striking and dynamic combinations, Shevchenko has proven to be a dominant champion. Her remarkable fights against top contenders like Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade have solidified her status as one of the most skilled and entertaining fighters in women's MMA.

Zhang Weili: The Pride of China

Zhang Weili burst onto the MMA scene and quickly established herself as a force to be reckoned with. Hailing from China, Zhang became the first-ever Chinese UFC champion when she captured the Women's Strawweight title. Her incredible striking power and relentless fighting style have earned her praise from fans and fellow fighters alike.

Zhang Weili


Zhang's epic battle with Joanna Jedrzejczyk in 2020 is often regarded as one of the greatest fights in MMA history, showcasing the heart and determination of both athletes.

Gina Carano: The Pioneering Star

Before transitioning to an acting career, Gina Carano made significant contributions to women's MMA. Carano's dynamic fighting style and charisma played a crucial role in raising awareness of women's MMA in its early stages.

Gina Carano


Her fights against other notable pioneers like Julie Kedzie and Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino paved the way for the recognition and acceptance of women's fights in major promotions.

Some Other Notable Mentions

In the realm of women's MMA, notable mentions have made an indelible mark through their remarkable journeys. Miesha Tate's resilience and determination, showcased in battles with Ronda Rousey and as the UFC bantamweight champion, inspire aspiring fighters. Holly Holm defied the odds, transitioning from boxing champion to UFC bantamweight champion, proving the enduring impact of precise striking and unwavering belief.

Miesha Tate


Rose Namajunas triumphed over a challenging upbringing, reaching the pinnacle by dethroning Joanna Jedrzejczyk, embodying the strength of perseverance. Cris Cyborg's unparalleled dominance, with knockout power and relentless aggression, leaves an indelible mark on women's MMA. Joanna Jedrzejczyk's technical prowess and work ethic inspire fighters to push boundaries and strive for excellence.

Carla Esparza's journey to becoming the inaugural UFC strawweight champion showcases hard work and resilience. These athletes remind us that extraordinary achievements are possible through passion, dedication, and self-belief. They empower the next generation of female fighters, redefining possibilities in the world of mixed martial arts.

Carla Esparza



The rise of women in MMA has been nothing short of extraordinary. Fighters like Ronda Rousey, Amanda Nunes, Valentina Shevchenko, Zhang Weili, and Gina Carano have shattered gender stereotypes, overcome adversity, and inspired countless individuals to pursue their passion for martial arts. 

Moreover, the rise of women in MMA has also sparked important conversations about gender equality and representation in sports. These fighters have demonstrated that women can excel in physically demanding and combative disciplines, challenging preconceived notions about what women can achieve. 

women wearing boxing gloves

Their achievements have inspired not only aspiring fighters but also individuals from all walks of life to pursue their dreams relentlessly, irrespective of societal expectations.

At Greenhill Sports, we stand alongside the trailblazing women in MMA who are shattering barriers and creating a legacy. We are dedicated to supplying top-notch martial arts equipment and gear that empowers these fierce athletes at every level. Embark on your journey to greatness by visiting our website and discovering our extensive range.