Bloody Elbow is creating our own Women's MMA Rankings. This time around we are debuting our Featherweight (145 lb) rankings, home of Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino.
Our rankings panel is composed of Fraser Coffeen, a staff writer for BloodyElbow and a former editor and contributor at LiverKick.com, Zane Simon, the arbiter of Bloody Elbow's MMA promotion rosters, MMA Mania's Brian Hemminger, host of the Verbal Submission podcast and an ardent supporter of Women's MMA, and T.P. Grant, a writer for Bloody Elbow.
The rankings are created by each panel member submitting a ballot, listing their Top 10. The #1 ranked fighter on each ballot is given 10 points, the #2 is given 9 points, and so on. The rankings are then created by the total point scores.
Below are the final rankings, the individual ballots, and comments submitted by each panel member about their own rankings. Rankings will be updated after two or more fighters on the rankings list have fought matches.
also receiving votes: Peggy Morgan (Fraser - 2 points, Brian - 2 points), Gabrielle Holloway (Fraser - 4 points), Amanda Lucas (Zane - 2 points), Ashley Sanchez (Zane - 1 point)
T.P. Grant: The top four of this one were very straight forward. Cyborg is still the top of division, Coenen represents the best chance of anyone in the division to beat her. After those four it is a mix of veterans who have complied good records and prospects who have yet to be tested. Romy Ryussen and Veronica Rothenhausler could turn into Top 5 kind of fighters as they appear to be good athletes.
Zane Simon: This is the thinnest of thin divisions. Even finding 10 women who are currently fighting over 135 lbs. is a bit of a challenge. With Cyborg's recent return she is easily the uncrowned queen of women's featherweight MMA. With or without a title, all acclaim in the division passes through her. Spots two through four are pretty well spoken for, after that it's a toss up in evaluating experience and level of competition.
Brian Hemminger: The top four is pretty obvious, but from there on, it's all about potential. I included a few really good prospects like Rothenhausler, Brents and Morgan because I think they have a TON of talent and while unproven, they could definitely be moving up the ladder and challenging the top girls on this list soon. I'm particularly impressed with Rothenhausler, who I feel has the most power of any female at 145 today, even Cyborg.
Fraser Coffeen: This division really emphasizes how WMMA remains a work in progress. The top 5 are all solid fighters, but even there you have issues - Cyborg has only 1 fight in the last year and a half, while Coenen has only recently come back to the division. But I'll take all 5 of those top fighters as solid picks. The bottom 5? That's a bit more dicey, with a lot riding on a small number of strong performances. Quick side note - this division made me really look forward to Invicta 6 in July, where we get not only #1 vs. #2 in Coenen vs. Cyborg, but also #3 vs. #4 in Gomes vs. Budd. Awesome.
A rematch for the top slot in the division, likely the best match up we will see in the division for sometime, short of Rousey moving up to fight Cyborg.
The top four of the division all on the same card? That is a pretty rare treat in MMA. Clearly the winner of this match is the most likely to fight the winner of Cyborg and Coenen for the Invicta title.
#9 Veronica Rothenhausler vs Mollie Estes (Invicta FC 6: July 13, 2013)
Rothenhausler is still very early in her career, so this isn't a very high level opponent for her. Rothenhausler has some serious power, so this one could be over quickly.