In January of 2011, a reporter asked Dana White (President of the UFC) “When will we see women in the UFC?”, to which he laughed and responded “never”. A brash and off the cuff response, he now probably looks back upon and cringes.
Less than two years on from his untasteful retort, the UFC absorbed the newly purchased Strikeforce promotion. Shortly thereafter, they ‘promoted’ Ronda Rousey to UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. The Olympic bronze medallist was a star in the making, and apparently one too big for White to miss out on. Then on the 23rd February 2013, the UFC held their first ever women’s bout in which Rousey defended her title over Liz Carmouche at UFC 157.
Since then, Rousey quickly became one of the UFC’s biggest stars, the women’s division has expanded to four weight classes, and they also have their first double champ, with Amanda Nunes becoming the first female fighter to hold belts in two different weight classes.
It’s clear to see that women have come a long way in mixed martial arts over a short space of time. In this list we’ll be taking a look at the top 5 best women’s knockouts in UFC history.
5. “Thug” Rose Dethrones Joanna Jędrzejczyk – November 4th 2017
A lovely looping left hook that clocked the strawweight queen, sending her to the canvas. It was a fantastic clean strike that caught the undefeated Polish champion off-guard, which was only made more impressive considering it was Rose’s first ever KO/TKO finish.
4. Jéssica Andrade Cracks Karolina Kowalkiewicz – September 8th 2018
In classic Andrade fashion, she puts the pressure on her opponent, backing Kowalkiewicz up near the fence, before uncorking a hellacious right hook-left hook, on her collapsing opponent. A fast 1-2, with vicious implications, WOW.
3. Andrade Slams Rose Namajunas to Claim Strawweight Gold – May 11th 2019
Namajunas dominated the fight up until this point, pretty much nullifying the Brazilian’s pressure and grappling, before Andrade managed to get close and go in for a slam. Namajunas went to defend by going for a Kamura grip to stop Andrade, although with an adjustment in mid-air, Andrade turned the slam into a pile-driver, smashing the strawweight champion’s head/neck into the ground, rendering her unconscious.
2. Holly Holm’s Head Kick on Ronda Rousey – November 15th 2015
Rousey entered her bout with Holly Holm with the world behind her, and all the self-belief in the world. Holm was the massive betting underdog and was only expected to be the next to Ronda’s list of buried opponents. But with all the talk of Ronda’s ‘boxing’ being elite, it took Holly Holm to come in and show her what a world-class striker really looked like in women’s mixed martial arts. Holly landed at will from bell to bell in the first round, before catching the tired Rousey on the break with a brutal head kick, sending the unbeaten titan to the mat. It was a moment that shocked the world and it is very hard to place in at second.
1. Amanda Nunes melts Cyborg to become Double Champ – December 29th 2018
On December 29th 2018, the UFC 135lb women’s champion Amanda “The Lioness” Nunes stepped-up to take on the 145lb champ Cris Cyborg. Cyborg was undefeated in her last 20 bouts, a time that spanned 13.5 years. She was feared by all, even causing one champion to relinquish her belt instead of having to defend it against her. Her massive frame and crisp boxing was fearsome and her intense pressure didn’t get people wondering ‘if she’d win’, but ‘when she’d win’. Nunes could be said to have similar presence before that fight, with the expectation for Cyborg to be the aggressor, with it being only a matter of time before she’d be able to wear The Lioness down due to the gulf in size.
As soon as the ref waved the fight on, they both tore out of the blocks. Nunes fainted quick, ripping shots into her larger, and thought to be more powerful opponent. Nunes was lightning fast, and her speed allowed her to dip in and out, catching Cyborg with unrelenting power shots. Cyborg was dropped multiple times, with her regaining her feet each time. With the fight not even lasting a minute at this point, Nunes then went in for one massive shot that sent Cyborg folding to the floor. A spectacular finish to crown a historic moment in women’s mma.