Rousey and Tate Rematch in Battle over Seven WMMA Lineal Titles, Seven More on Horizon for Winner

Hello Lineal Titles Fans! I trust you had an awesome holiday. Of course, there's still much to be excited about with UFC 168 just round the corner. In the past, I've detailed the 20 lineal titles that will be on the line in the main event rematch between Weidman and Silva (Just for fun, here's a list: UFC, Deep, Pancrase, KOTC, MFC, Gladiator Challenge, Cage Warriors, Cage Fury, Sport Fight, Pride FC, WEC, IFL, Cage Rage, Sengoku, K-1 Hero's, Bodog, TKO, WFA, PFC, International Vale Tudo Championship). However, I've always shied away from Women's MMA from a lineal title perspective simply because of the erratic nature of the weight classes. Given the historically thin roster of women's MMA fighters, it is not uncommon to see women accept fights across numerous weight classes in order to stay busy and competitive. Adding to the difficulty is the fact that, throughout the history of women's MMA, there has been very little uniformity concerning weight classes. For example, one promotion might call their 120 lb title "Flyweight," when 125 lbs is the generally accepted limit.

Given the significance of Rousey vs Tate II, I was inspired to take another look. I decided to throw out the idea of weight classes all together and just see where the Women's titles ended up. What I found was that almost all of the major titles have migrated to the Bantamweight division. I guess we shouldn't be surprised by this fact given the increased significance of the 135 lb weight class created by Ronda Rousey and the UFC. A great example is the Bellator MMA women's title. The belt was the result of the promotion's only Women's tournament contested at 115 lbs. Zoila Frausto Gurgel was the winner of this tournament, but later lost a fight at 125 lbs to Jessica Eye who now competes at 135 lbs in the UFC.

Invicta has determined champions at all major weight classes and I could see these titles serving as significant lineal titles down the road once the UFC expands their involvement in WMMA. Until then, we can use the 14 titles that I have traced into the Bantamweight division to determine "The Woman to Beat."

The Lineal Titles of Rhonda Rousey

1. UFC

Lineal History: Ronda Rousey was awarded the inaugural Women's BW title by virtue of being the last Strikeforce champion before the UFC merger

2. Strikeforce

Lineal History: Sarah Kaufman => Marloes Coenen => Miesha Tate => Ronda Rousey

3. Extreme Challenge

Lineal History: Jennifer Howe => Roxanne Modafferi => Megumi Habushita => Tara LaRosa => Roxanne Modafferi => Sarah Kaufman => Marloes Coenen => Miesha Tate => Ronda Rousey

4. IFC

Lineal History: Jennifer Howe => Roxanne Modafferi => Megumi Habushita => Tara LaRosa => Roxanne Modafferi => Sarah Kaufman => Marloes Coenen => Miesha Tate => Ronda Rousey

5. Bodog

Lineal History: Tara LaRosa => Roxanne Modafferi => Sarah Kaufman => Marloes Coenen => Miesha Tate => Ronda Rousey

6. Smackgirl

Lineal History: Megumi Yabushita => Tara LaRosa => Roxanne Modafferi => Sarah Kaufman => Marloes Coenen => Miesha Tate => Ronda Rousey

7. HookNShoot

Lineal History: Jennifer Howe => Roxanne Modafferi => Megumi Habushita => Tara LaRosa => Roxanne Modafferi => Sarah Kaufman => Marloes Coenen => Miesha Tate => Ronda Rousey


Thanks to Theagenes in the comment section for uncovering an 8th Lineal title that currently is held by Rousey. I've copied and pasted his comment from below...

In the 90’s WMMA was mostly heavyweight Russian judokas, Japanese pro wrestlers, and Becky Levy.

The first event that could really be considered to be for the women’s MMA world title was Re-MIx World Cup 2000. That had all of the top women from the 1990s in it. Becky Levi was undefeated and probably the favorite. She had destroyed everyone and was more-or-less considered the uncrowned women’s champ. Svetlana Gourndarenko was the giant Russian Judoka who had won the L-1 tournament (the first women’s tournament in 1995). Irina Rodina was also undefeated and the winner of the U-Top tournament (beating Yumiko Hotta in the finals in 1996). So you had a tournament with the best women in the world at the time (except Jennifer Howe who was 3-0 at the time but relatively unknown) and Marloes Coenen won it (including a win over Levi and Megumi Yabushita in the finals).

So after ReMix World Cup, Marloes Coenan was really the first true women’s champ during the early 2000s. The other claiment during this time would be Howe who went on an impressive 12-0 run in various orgs before losing to Roxy Modafferi in 2004. Coenan also held the lineal title until 2004, losing it to Erin Toughill in the semifinals of the Smack Girls tournament. Yabushita beat Modafferi (who had beat Howe a few months earlier) in the other semifinal. Toughill then lost to Yabushita in the finals. So at that point after the 2004 Smackgirl tournament, Yabushita was the clear undisputed women’s champion. But then Yabushita lost to Tara LaRosa in her next fight in Shooto.

LaRosa held the title for six years beating a who’s who of women’s fighters: Modafferi, Amanda Buckner, Shayna Bazler, Alexis Davis, Julie Kedzie, etc. She finally lost in a rematch to Modafferi by split decision in 2010. Modafferi lost in her next fight to Sarah Kaufman in Strikeforce and the rest is history. So it would go something like this:



  • Extreme Challenge title traces back to inaugural Women's Junior Lightweight Championship established in 1999
  • IFC title traces back to inaugural women's IFC MW title established in 2003 and contested at 135 lbs
  • Bodog title traces back to the inaugural Bantamweight championship established in 2007
  • Smackgirl was an all women's promotion in Japan which formed in 2001 and went defunct in 2008 when it was sold and rebranded as JEWELS. This title traces back to the 1st ever Smackgirl Open weight Queen tournament won by Megumi Yabushita in 2004
  • Interesting that every early title flows thru Jennifer Howe, Tara LaRosa or both and that Roxanne Modafferri has victories over both women, each considered monumental upsets at the time

Lineal Titles on the Horizon

8. Bellator MMA

Lineal History: Zoila Frausto Gurgel => Jessica Eye

9. Pancrase

Lineal History: Rin Nakai won the inaugural BW Queen of Pancrase tournament in 2012

10. King of the Cage

Lineal History: Sarah Alpar => Brenda Gonzales => Rin Nakai

11. Ring of Combat

Lineal History: Jessica Eye => Aisling Daly => Rosi Sexton => Alexis Davis

12. Jungle Fight (Pink Fight)

Lineal History: Vanessa Porto => Sarah D'Alelio => Shayna Baszler => Alexis Davis

13. Invicta FC

Lineal History: Lauren Murphy won the inaugural BW title in 2013

14. Valkyrie

Lineal History: Rin Nakai won the Valkyrie Open weight tournament in 2010


  • Bellator MMA title Traces back to 1st Bellator Women's 115 lb tournament won by Frausto in 2010
  • KOTC title traces back to inaugural 125 lb belt
  • Ring of Combat traces back to inaugaral 130 lb title won by Jessica "Evil" Eye in 2011
  • Jungle Fight title traces back to inaugural Pink Fight BW title won by Vanessa Porto in 2012. Pink Fight was Jungle Fight's all Women spin off, which had its first event in January of 2012
  • Valkyrie was an all women's promotion in Japan established in 2008. It was the sister organization of Japanese MMA promotion Cage Force and went defunct in 2011
  • Lineal Title Leaders in WMMA: (1) Rhonda Rousey with 7 titles (2) Rin Nakai with 3 titles (Pancrase, KOTC, Valkyrie) (3) Alexis Davis with 2 titles (Ring of Combat, Pink Fight) (4) Jessica Eye and Lauren Murphy are each on the board with 1 title

The Lineal Titles of Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino

As a little bonus, I've decided to add a few titles that may or may not become available for unification with the others. Who knows? Maybe that Rousey vs Cyborg super fight will happen one of these days.

1. Cage Warriors (132 lb title)

Lineal History: Rosi Sexton => Gina Carano => Cyborg

2. Invicta FC (145 lb title)

Lineal History: Cyborg won the inagural belt with her victory over Marloes Coenen in July of 2013

3. Strikeforce (145 lb title)

Lineal History: Cyborg won the inaugural belt with her victory over Gina Carano in August 2009

    Lineal Title Leaderboard

    Below, you can see that Ronda Rousey comes in at number six in the overall rankings with her 7 lineal titles and 50% unification. Rin Nakai also makes an appearance tied for 9th place with Ricardo Lamas. She has 3 lineal titles and 21% unification. I don't think Rin Nakai is leaving Pancrase anytime soon, however the partnership with WSOF makes things interesting. If WSOF follows through with doing a show in Japan, it will be hard to resist showcasing Nakai on US television. There's a chance they put her against a US prospect that has a better chance of fighting in the UFC some day (Or, maybe even Jessica Agular despite the weight difference). We'll have to wait and see how that plays out.

    # Name # of Titles Unify
    1 Cain Velasquez 30 79%
    1 Anthony Pettis 30 75%
    2 Georges St. Piere 25 60%
    3 Chris Weidman 20 53%
    4 Jon Jones 19 56%
    5 Jose Aldo 9 29%
    6 Ronda Rousey 7 50%
    7 Mighty Mouse 5 36%
    7 Dominick Cruz 5 20%
    7 Bibiano Fernandes 5 20%
    7 Daniel Straus 5 16%
    7 Vitor Belfort 5 14%
    7 Francis Carmont 5 14%
    7 Gegard Mousasi 5 13%
    8 Marlon Moraes 4 16%
    8 Akira Corassani 4 13%
    8 Georgi Karakhanyan 4 13%
    9 Rin Nakai 3 21%
    9 Ricardo Lamas 3 10%
    Upcoming Unification Bouts # Date
    Jose Aldo vs Ricardo Lamas 12 titles 1-Feb
    Dominick Cruz vs Renan Barao 6 titles 1-Feb
    Rafael dos Anjos vs Rustam Khabilov 3 titles 22-Feb
    Jon Jones vs Glover Texiera 18 titles 15-Mar
    Attila Vegh vs. Emanuel Newton 3 titles TBD
    Daniel Straus vs Patricio Freire 6 titles TBD
    Steve Carl vs Jon Fitch 2 titles TBD
    Other Titles on the Line # Date
    Chris Weidman vs Anderson Silva 20 titles 28-Dec
    Ronda Rousey vs Meisha Tate 7 titles 28-Dec
    Hyun Gyu Lim vs Tarec Saffiedine 1 title 4-Jan
    Yoel Romero vs Derek Brunson 1 title 15-Jan
    Stipe Miocic vs Gabriel Gonzaga 1 title 25-Jan
    Gegard Mousasi vs Lyoto Machida 1 title 8-Feb
    Francis Carmont vs Jacare Souza 5 titles 15-Feb
    Jimi Manuwa vs Alexander Gustafson 1 title 8-Mar
    Vitaly Minakov vs Cheick Kongo 2 titles TBD

    \The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.