In July 2016, the UFC made major headlines when it was sold by longtime owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta to talent agency WME-IMG for an estimated $4.1 billion. The Fertitta brothers had purchased the UFC in 2001 for what at the time was believed to be a risky $2 million dollars.
In 2016, it’s hard to imagine that fifteen years prior the UFC was deemed a risky purchase. However, many state athletic commissions had ruled that the UFC was too violent a sport for their state to approve. As a result, UFC didn’t have the global and statewide popularity as it does today.
With polarizing figures such as Jon Jones, Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey leading the charge for the UFC in both past and present, the company’s only gaining more and more steam.
The fighters aren’t the only enjoyable part about the UFC, however. The company employs a wide array of beauties, including those tough women who fight in the octagon and the ring girls who are there to ooze sex appeal.
Here are the top 20 hottest women in the UFC.
20. Vanessa Hanson
In recent years Vanessa Hanson has become one of the UFC’s most showcased ring girls along with Chrissy Blair, Arianny Celeste and Brittany Palmer. Hanson’s a California girl by way of America’s second most populated city, Los Angeles. She has a girl next door look to her and her Instagram seems to validate that. Hanson may have over a quarter million followers but she seems as down to Earth as she can be despite her popularity. Hanson’s Instagram mostly contains pictures of her at UFC events, her with her boyfriend, who by the way is you regular everyday dude, food (especially tacos) and sexy selfies that her followers would greatly appreciate more of. Hanson is also a fan of yoga, cooking, posing as a film critic and reading.
19. Michelle Waterson
Waterson’s coming off the biggest win of her career by way of defeating Paige VanZant in her hometown of Sacramento, California. With the W, the “Karate Hottie’s” name and recognition is sure to rise as more opportunities will be available to her. Waterson was a former Atomweight Champion in the Invicta promotion which is a 105 pound weight class. In addition to being one of UFC’s prettiest faces, Waterson is a mother to an adorable five-year-old, Araya. The origin of Waterson’s Karate Hottie nickname comes from her spokesmodel days for Bikini.Com. When those at Bikini.Com were told of Waterson’s karate background, she was dubbed the nickname “Karate Hottie”. The tantalizing Thai, Waterson fights out of the same gym as Holly Holm at the Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
18. Camila Oliveira
The Brazilian bombshell Camila Oliveira has been with the UFC since 2013 but is no stranger to showcasing her beauty as she’s been modeling since the age of sixteen. Oliveira had a very unforgettable UFC debut as well as she debuted when her countryman, Anderson “the Spider” Silva was knocked out by the “All-American”, Chris Weidman. For those on Instagram, do yourself a favor and give @CamilaOliveiraReal a follow; the girl practically lives in a two piece bikini! She’s also obviously a daddy’s girl as she claims that the most handsome man she knows is her very own father. Unfortunately for Oliveira’s mother her daughter doesn’t regard her looks like she regards her father’s as she points at Angelina Jolie as the most beautiful woman she has laid eyes on.
17. Felice Herrig
At 5’6” and 115 pounds, Felice Herrig has an apt nickname – Lil’ Bulldog. The thirty-two year old captivating blonde Herring was born in Buffalo Grove, Illinois and sports an 11-6 MMA record. Herring’s expertise is in the kickboxing department as prior to her embarking on an MMA career she racked up twenty-three victories and only five losses as a kick boxer. Herrig first appeared for the UFC at The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale where she defeated Heather Jo Clark in the prelims round but came up short against Randa Markos in the second round. Herrig has a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is coming off a W against Kailin Curran in July of 2016 on the Holly Holm versus Valentina Shevchenko card.
16. Luciana Andrade
The likelihood of finding one that surpasses Luciana Andrade in the beauty and brains department in the UFC is slim to none. Andrade is a Law School graduate and worked in the field for nine years; Andrade is not just your daily dosage of eye candy, but also a hefty serving of brain food as well. Andrade is of Brazilian descent and prides herself in being both an avid traveler and fitness enthusiast. Andrade has been with the UFC since the final quarter of 2014. Unfortunately very little about her personal life is known with respect to her Law background. However, for those interested her Instagram handle is @LucianaAndradeUFC. If you’re a fan of bikini and outdoor photos, Andrade is worth hitting that follow button to make it green.
15. Joanna Jedrzejczyk
When you have a name as bad ass as “Joanna Violence” you know you’ve earned it. When UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley (who never watches a fight prior to his) says he’s going to watch your fight, you know you’re doing something right. Jedrzejczyk became the UFC’s second UFC Strawweight Champion in March of 2015 when she knocked out Carla Esparza. Since then JJ has successfully defended the title in four bouts, most recently against Karolina Kowalkiewicz at UFC 205 in the World’s Most Famous Arena, Madison Square Garden. Jedrzejczyk is the company’s longest reigning champion in any weight class and it is not even close as she is nearing a two year reign. “J Violence” isn’t only stunning in the ring, she is a knockout outside of it as well. The Olsztyn, Poland native sports a spotless record of 13-0 in the octagon.
14. Carly Baker
Bringing some U.K. flavor to the UFC, Carly Baker is not only the first octagon girl by way of the U.K., but she is actually the promotion’s first from the European continent. Baker’s no stranger to modeling and has been since the young age of fourteen. Baker also isn’t a stranger to the television scene as she has appeared on networks such as Disney, Nickelodeon and MTV. Baker is also quite the television buff as she points at shows such as Breaking Bad, Entourage, Friends, Gossip Girl and Prison Break as being amongst her favorites, with Friends taking the top spot. Baker with her blonde hair and photogenic face is one that UFC fans are surely happy to have be a part of the promotion.
13. Karolina Kowalkiewicz
By way of Lodz, Poland, Karolina Kowalkiewicz became a more recognized name at UFC 205 when she took on fellow countrywoman and Strawweight queenpin, Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Kowalkiewicz up until this point had sported a flawless 10-0 record. However, despite going the distance with JJ, the Polish Princess was unable to notch another W in the win column as she suffered her first defeat. Kowalkiewicz has a girl next door look and an endearing personality based on her media rounds. The thirty-one-year-old Kowalkiewicz will likely get a second crack at Jedrzejczyk as she arguably (with respect to Claudia Gadelha), gave Jedrzejczyk her toughest match up to date. Kowalkiewicz cites MMA women’s pioneers Cristiane Cyborg, Gina Carano and Ronda Rousey as her inspirations and those that propelled her to get her feet wet in the field of MMA.
12. Chrissy Blair
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When you see Chrissy Blair, you’re likely to see Arianny Celeste, Vanessa Hanson and Brittany Palmer close by (like anyone is complaining about that!). From Tinseltown, Blair is one of the UFC’s most showcased octagon girls. Blair is a big fan of working out and is practically into any and every thing that has to do with fitness as she engages in boxing, lifting weights, pilates and yoga. Blair is no stranger to ring girl duty as prior to being a UFC Octagon Girl, she was one for the Strikeforce promotion. Blair’s favorite television shows include a favorite animated show of most, Family Guy, and Duck Dynasty. Outside of the UFC Blair dabbles in her own nutrition company Kalumi Health which sells a protein bar that delivers both protein and is a beauty supplement as well.
11. Ronda Rousey
When Sports Illustrated chooses you to wear body paint in their Swimsuit issue, you know you’re all that and a bag of chips! With the nickname “Rowdy”, you wouldn’t expect a woman to be this beautiful; rather, you’d likely expect her to be more on the butch side. However, this isn’t the case with Ronda Rousey. Before she had her unfortunate setback to “The Preacher’s Daughter”, Holly Holm, Rousey was a first round knockout machine. Rousey only let one competitor, Meisha Tate, get past the first round, and in her book, My Fight/Your Fight, Rousey says she strategically did this in order to punish Tate longer. Rousey is as ferocious as they come inside the octagon, but her beauty outside of it shines as well. The Venice, California native recently signed on with Pantene to become a brand ambassador. That’s Ronda Rousey for you, making a mark inside and outside of the octagon.
10. Megan Olivi
Megan Olivi is neither a UFC fighter, nor is she a UFC ring girl. On the contrary, Olivi is backstage interviewer for the company. Moreover, think of Olivi as the female Joe Rogan of the sport who primarily conducts interviews backstage post fight. Olivi is an East Coast girl by way of Pennsylvania. Olivi can lay acclaim to having both beauty and brains as she obtained a B.A. in Political Science in 2009 and her M.A. in Broadcast Journalism, Mass Media Studies in 2010. The pretty Pennsylvanian has been covering the sport since the early part of the decade and has not only found love in covering the sport but with one of the promotion’s very own fighters as well. In 2015, Olivi tied the knot with flyweight fighter Joseph Benavidez.
9. Alexandra Albu
The name Alexandra Albu isn’t one that’s recognized by most fair-weather UFC fans and would likely not be recognized by a good amount of diehard UFC fans either. However, Albu is on the rise as she has amassed a 6-0 record in her MMA career. Albu fights out of Russia but is of Moldovan descent; for those that do not know, Moldova is an Eastern Europe and is bordered by the countries of Ukraine and Romania. Albu, nicknamed Stitch, had a very unlikely career for a female prior to entering the world of MMA. Albu was actually of all things, a club bouncer. She’s not only dedicated to expanding on her craft in the octagon but she is also in the midst of pursuing a college degree as she is a student at the Academy of Intellectual Property.
8. Arianny Celeste
The most prominent and renown of the UFC octagon girls is none other than Arianny Celeste. The former Playboy cover girl has been with the promotion since 2006 and has turned heads long before then. Celeste received her start when she appeared at a 2006 casting call in Las Vegas, Nevada at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and the rest is history. The mixed Celeste of Filipino and Mexican decent was also recognized by Maxim in 2010 as she placed #23 on their Hot 100 List. Celeste has been named UFC Ring Girl of the Year a record five times in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2014. A fun fact about Celeste is that Arianny is not her birth name and Celeste is not her surname. Celeste’s real name is Penelope Lopez Marquez.
7. Julianna Pena
The Venezuelan Vixen Julianna Pena first popped onto the UFC scene during the Ultimate Fighter 18 in 2013 where she was a member of Team Tate. Pena not only appeared on the show but she actually came out as the show’s victor when she defeated eighth ranked Jessica Rakoczy in the first round of the finals. Pena has come a long way as she currently sits at the three slot in the Women’s Bantamweight division behind the likes of Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko and ahead of former champ, Holly Holm. The twenty-seven year old beauty is a born and bred Spokane, Washington product, which is the same town that has bred Meisha Tate. She cites Dan Henderson, Matt Hughes and the potty mouth of all potty mouths Nick Diaz as her inspirations in regards to fighters.
6. Brittney Palmer
When the words “UFC Octagon Girls” come to mind, the first two names that pop in people’s heads are Arianny Celeste and Brittney Palmer. The San Diego, California born Palmer stands 5’6” tall and weighs in at 120 pounds. Not only is Palmer easy on the eyes but she’s quite gifted when it comes to art as well. In late 2014, Palmer sold a painting she had crafted of James Deen for $3,000 at auction. For those interested, Palmer generally charges between $3,000-6,000 for one of her paintings. In addition to Palmer’s art exploits she has stated that her favorite television show is Entourage. Her favorite foods are tapas and sushi. By the way, she was previously married to a man named Aaron Zalewski whom Palmer claims assaulted her in July of 2015. Memo to Mr. Zalewski, with the forenamed interests that Palmer has along with her looks, you sir really messed up!
5. Claudia Gadelha
More than just a pretty face, Claudia Gadelha’s route to the UFC ranks was not one that her mother was neither receptive of nor was she supportive of. Moreover, Gadelha’s mother thought girls weren’t supposed to engage in combat. Gadelha had to secretly train in gyms as a teenager so she would neither upset or anger her mother. The gorgeous Gadelha’s decision to train clearly paid off as she’s a dominant 14-2 in her career with her only losses coming to Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Gadelha isn’t only able to throw down in the octagon as she had also attended Law School during her lifetime. Gadelha recently jus opened a new gym in Randolph, New Jersey titled Claudia Gadelha’s Academy. Prior, Gadelha trained out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at Novia Unaio with the likes of UFC’s Featherweight kingpin (but not in Conor McGregor’s eyes) Jose Aldo and Renan Barao.
4. Rachelle Leah
The Las Vegas, Nevada born Rachelle Lee has been modeling since she was in high school. Leah, who first started modeling at the age of sixteen didn’t look at modeling as something that would be a career. Fast forward to two years down the road and Leah begins giving modeling a more serious look and starts sending out photos of herself to agency after agency. It wasn’t hard for her to find work because well, look at her! TV came calling soon after and Leah appeared on shows such as The Carson Daly Show and The Nick and Jessica Variety Show. It was then UFC’s turn and the rest is history. Leah has also had her fair share of magazine covers and spreads as Playboy named her its October 2008 Babe of the Month, Men’s Fitness put her on its cover in 2006 and she was profiled in Maxim in October of 2006.
3. Gina Carano
Before the name Ronda Rousey was synonymous with women’s MMA, the name of Gina Carano was grabbing all the headlines in the sport. Carano not only had stunning looks but she was able to rack up wins inside the octagon. Carano’s alluring looks were not only appreciated by fight fans as she was gaining national recognition. The woman nicknamed Crush snagged the sixteen spot on Maxim’s Hot 100 for 2009. Carano picked up seven straight victories to start her MMA career before tasting the wrath of Cyborg via a first round KO in the Strikeforce promotion. While Carano is technically signed by the UFC (by way of her old Strikeforce deal), she has never fought for the promotion and has been away from the octagon since 2009. With Hollywood appearances in Fast and the Furious 6 and Deadpool (and many more on the horizon), there’s no need for Carano to rush back to fighting any time soon, if ever.
2. Miesha Tate
Miesha “Cupcake” Tate recently announced her retirement at UFC 205 at Madison Square Garden on November 12th, 2016. Tate was only nine months removed from finally grasping the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship, a title that had alluded her throughout her tenure in the UFC. However, she lost it in her first title defense against now champion Amanda Nunes and was outclassed in every facet against Raquel Pennington at MSG. Tate may have called it quits in the octagon but she will surely be missed as she was not only a fan favorite in the ring but outside of it as well due to her beauty. The thirty-year-old Tacoma, Washington native is in a relationship with UFC bantamweight Brian Caraway. Caraway not only serves as Tate’s significant other, but also served as her trainer as well during her combat days.
1. Paige VanZant
“12 Gauge” Paige VanZant may only be twenty-two years old, but she is one of the promotion’s biggest names. VanZant gained even more national recognition this past spring when she started competing on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars. VanZant showed that she wasn’t only a budding star inside the octagon but on the dance floor as well as she and partner Mark Ballas took second place in the competition. The blonde haired, brown eyed beauty is a part of Urijah Faber’s Team Alphamale as she fights out of California’s state capital of Sacramento. She currently sports a record of 7-3 and with her seductive looks and humble personality, the UFC is clearly hoping that she can not only be the face of the Women’s Strawweight Division, but be the face of Women’s MMA for years to come.
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