Amanda Nunes is the most powerful mixed martial arts fighter of all time. Nunes continues to compete in both the bantamweight and featherweight divisions of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, but has competed in a number of MMA federations in her career. She began her professional fighting career in the Prime MMA Championship 2, ironically, by losing to Ana Maria by armbar submission. She would go on to have mild success across a variety of professional organizations before settling into the UFC. In the years leading up to her UFC fights, Amanda Nunes was not anything special in the eyes of MMA pundits, often looked at as a powerful, out of control striker. However, since losing to Cat Zingano in her third career UFC fight, Nunes has been utterly dominant, with a 10-game winning streak that includes some of the most high profile names in UFC history. This streak includes possibly the best three fight stretch ever, as Nunes defeated former bantamweight champions, Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey in consecutive matches in 2016, before beating current flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko. Nunes also owns the record for most surprising and iconic upset of all time, with her 2018 knockout of Cris Cyborg in just 51 seconds. Overall, it took a little while for Amanda Nunes to become the dominant fighter that she has been over the last five years, but there is no doubt that she has supplanted herself on top of the women's mixed martial arts leaderboards.
Unlike Amanda Nunes, it did not take long for Cris Cyborg to become the most feared fighter in the sport of mixed martial arts. She started her career in 2005 at the age of 19 by competing at the Show Fight 2, a fight that she surprisingly lost to competitor Erica Paes by kneebar submission. After this loss to Paes, Cyborg would not lose for a very, very long time-12 years to be exact, spanning 20 professional matches. She has competed in a variety of MMA organizations throughout her career, including the UFC, the Invicta FC, StrikeForce, and Storm Samurai. Cyborg's career is hard to put into words other than by simply saying that she innialated her opponents, winning 18 of her 22 matches by a KO or a TKO. Cyborg's most important wins came against Tonya Evinger, to win her first UFC Featherweight Title, and Holly Holm, in defense of her title 3 months later.Cyborg's head to head loss against Nunes in 2018 gives Nunes the slight advantage over Cyborg in terms of all time greatness; however, it is entirely possible that the fight could have been more competitive if Cyborg was not on the wrong side of 30. Nevertheless, Cyborg's dominant stretch across all the prominent professional fighting leagues will be remembered forever, allowing her to be one of the greatest women's MMA fighters of all time.
Rousey burst onto the ultimate fighting scene in 2011 when she defeated 4 separate challengers all in less than a minute. Rousey was quick, deceptive, and creative, utilizing a variety of takedowns and punch combinations that were as unique as the sport has ever seen. Rousey continued her domination through her next 8 matches with her most notable competition being former Strikeforce bantamweight champion, Misha Tate. Tate was the only competitor to make it out of the first round against Rousey in all 12 of her career wins. During Rousey's dominant stretch, she recorded the 2 fastest finishes in UFC history with wins in 16 seconds against Alexis Davis and 14 seconds against Cat Zingano. At this point in her career, Ronda Rousey was by far the most famous female mixed martial artist in the world, appearing on talk shows and sports talk radio around the world. Rousey chose to cut her career short to pursue other interests after 2 crushing losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes in 2015 and 2016. No matter what people think of Ronda Rousey's fighting technique and resume, it is undeniable that Rousey brought an abundance of popularity and media recognition to the sport of female mixed martial arts. Although her career was short, she was as exciting a fighter as there was at the time, and her legacy will never be forgotten because of that.
Valentina Shevchenko began her fighting career at age 15 in her home country of Kyrgyzstan. Highly praised for her speed and decisiveness in the octagon, Shevchenko was nicknamed "the bullet" early on in her career. After 12 fights and 11 wins in a variety of international MMA federations, such as Fusion Fighting, Legacy Fighting, and the Kyrgyz Federation of Kulatuu (of her home country), Shevchenko joined the UFC in 2015. She was already a household name upon joining the new league, so she decided to challenge the feared Amanda Nunes shortly after dismantling Sarah Kaufman in her first UFC fight. Shevchenko lasted all 3 rounds against Nunes, ultimately losing in a unanimous decision. She got an opportunity to avenge her loss to Nunes, but fell just short, losing an extremely controversial split decision. Despite these tough losses against the best MMA fighter in the sport's history, Shevchenko has a number of impressive wins. She defeated fighters Holly Holm, Jessica Eye, and Joanna Jedrzejczyk in pursuit of her flyweight championship. In addition, Shevchenko avenged her loss to Liz Carmouche from 2010, who is the only woman not named Amanda Nunes to defeat her. Valentina Shevchenko may not have the flashy, knockout power that many of the other people on this list have, but she is a proven, consistent winner in this sport, something that most fighters lack.
Joanna Jedrzejczyk began her mixed martial arts fighting career at the SFT- MMA Fight Night Diva SPA in 2012, where she defeated competitor Sylwia Juskiewicz in a unanimous decision. She joined the UFC just 2 years later, having already won her first 6 career MMA fights. In the UFC, she picked up right where she left off, gaining possession of a strawweight title in just her third UFC fight. Jedrzejczyk defeated Carla Esparz in that title fight, and she would go on to defend her title 5 times in the next 2 years before losing to Rose Namajunas. One of the most impressive performances during her dominant stretch in the UFC strawweight occurred when she defeated Valerie Letourneau in her 3rd title bout. In this match, Jedrzejczyk landed 220 significant strikes, the most in championship history, as well as 70 leg kicks, the most in UFC history. Jedrzejczyk is not a knockout artist like some of the other names on this list, but she is a bonafide winner, as shown by her 16 wins in 19 career fights. As a result, she is certainly deserving of a spot on this list of the top 6 women's mixed martial artists of all time.
Despite never competing in a UFC event, Megumi Fujii is thought of by many as one of the best pound for pound mixed martial arts fighters in the history of the sport. She began her career competing in 2004 in Japan, defeating Yumi Matsumoto in the Smack Girl: Holy Land Triumphal Return in just 40 seconds. Including this first match, Fujii defeated her opponents in an astounding 22 consecutive fights to begin her career, a span that lasted over 7 years. Megumi Fujii was a force to be reckoned with during this time, winning several Bellator Titles, including a TKO against challenger Sarah Schneider. Surprisingly, this was Fujii's only win by TKO in her 10 year career. Throughout her career, Fujii utilized a toe hold that fans dubbed the "Megulock," a move that involves forcing one's opponents' foot to their chest. It is undeniable that Megumi Fujii was an outstanding mixed martial artist, but we will never know for sure how she would have fared against better competition in the United States. Nevertheless, Megumi Fujii can still be considered one of the top women's MMA fighters of all time, and there is definitely a case to be made for her to be higher on this list.