In the wise words of Mugatu, “That Ronda Rousey is so hot right now.” It’s true. She’s been virtually unavoidable these past few years, popping up in movies like Furious 7 and Entourage, adorning the cover of several high profile magazines (including a highly publicized appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit edition wearing nothing more than a bit of body paint), and appearing on just about every late night talk show. Even though she’s no longer the undefeated bantamweight champion, there’s no denying that Ronda Rousey is the face of the women’s division of the UFC, and maybe even the face of the entire sport. A big reason for this is the fact that she’s attractive. Never before has the sport seen such a combination of skill and beauty. As a result, she has helped usher in a whole generation of new UFC fans and female fighters.
Since her loss to Holm, however, many in the MMA community have challenged the assertion that Rousey is the greatest female fighter in the UFC. And now we’re here to challenge the assertion that she’s the hottest. Sure she’s beautiful, even after wearing several vicious blows to the face at the hands (and feet) of “The Preacher’s Daughter,” but she isn’t the hottest. In fact, we’d argue that she’s not even in the top 15. And we’ll prove it.
Here’s the list of the top 15 female MMA fighters who are even hotter than Ronda Rousey.
15 Laura Sanko
With just one professional fight under her belt (a win against Cassie Robb), Laura Sanko is far from the most accomplished fighter on this list. But this isn’t a list of the top 15 female MMA fighters who are better than Ronda Rousey; it’s the list of the top 15 female MMA fighters who are hotter than Ronda Rousey. And despite being saddled with one of the worst nicknames in sports history (“Fancy,” really?), Sanko is indeed a hot fighter. With her slender figure and her pretty face, she looks like better suited for the runway than the octagon. Sanko, a wife and mother, made the move from MMA fighter to MMA analyst.
14 Julianna Pena
Before recently falling into some legal trouble, Julianna Pena, whose nickname is “The Venezuelan Vixen,” was considered one of the hottest fighters in the UFC, in more ways than one. Not only is she extremely talented, with 3 of her 7 wins coming by way of knockout, but she’s also beautiful. She’ll look to bounce back from a December 2015 assault charge when she takes on Cat Zingano at UFC 200 in July. Zingano, who’s one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the women’s division of the UFC, will undoubtedly be Pena’s toughest opponent to date.
13 Claudia Gadelha
With a record of 13-1, Claudia Gadelha is arguably one of the best female fighters in the UFC. According to UFC rankings, she’s at least the best fighter in the strawweight division. She has the distinction of being the youngest person to attain a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in Nova Uniao’s history. As if that weren’t impressive enough, she’s also a knockout outside of the ring. Her intense work ethic is evident in her physique, as she has one of the best bodies in all of MMA, including a six-pack that would make most bodybuilders jealous.
12 Rachel Wray
No, not Rachel Ray, the celebrity cook and television personality. Rachel Wray, the drop dead gorgeous blonde MMA fighter. Wray is a former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader, an unlikely former job for a fighter. She had her first fight, a win, in Sherdog back in 2012, and she has since gone on to compile a so-so 2-2 record. She hasn’t fought since 2014, however, when she was overmatched by her opponent, Jamie Clinton, and found herself at the receiving end of a guillotine choke less than a minute into the first round. If there’s one positive to take away from the fact that her career was cut short, it’s that she’s coming away from MMA relatively unscathed.
11 Aleksandra Albu
Alexksandra Albu might not be the biggest name in women’s MMA, but that doesn’t mean that she’s not one of the hottest. Thanks to her exhaustive training, Albu has an incredible, ripped physique (do yourself a favor and Google her name—you won’t regret it). Albu, who is from Russia, is nicknamed “Stitch.” She has just two fights under her belt (one of them in the UFC), but she has yet to lose. Look for her to have a long and successful career in the sport, but if mixed martial arts doesn’t work out for her, she can always fall back on her previous career: fitness model.
10 Tecia Torres
Tecia Torres’s nickname, “The Tiny Tornado,” is an apt description of the petite, yet still imposing, fighter. At just over 5 feet tall, she’s not exactly what you’d expect from a UFC fighter, but her size hasn’t held her back. She’s only lost one fight, a tough battle against Rose Namajunas, and is currently ranked forth in the official UFC strawweight rankings. Torres has squared off against some of the biggest, and hottest, names in the sport, including VanZant, Herrig, and Namajunas (who she beat back in 2013) and she should have a successful career ahead of her.
9 Felice Herrig
Thanks in part to her attractive figure, and of course her skill in the octagon, Felice Herrig, nicknamed “Lil Bulldog,” is one of the biggest names in the female division of the UFC. With 16 professional MMA fights under her belt, 10 of which she came out on top, Herrig is a veteran of the sport and has fought against some of the best. Her latest fight was against VanZant, who won by unanimous decision. If we were working in the marketing department of the UFC, we would have billed her fight against VanZant as “The Battle of the Beauties.”
8 Kyra Gracie
30-year-old Kyra Gracie comes from one of the most famous families in Brazilian jiu-jitsu history. She is the niece of BJJ legends Ralph, Renzo, and Ryan Gracie, and the great-granddaughter of one of the pioneers of the sport, Carlos Gracie. She is the only woman from the family to compete in the sport. She’s been toying with the idea of fighting in MMA for quite some time, although she’s yet to make a commitment, saying, “"It’s always something I wanna try. But my life is kind of busy now, I have the show, my baby, a lot of things going on. I can’t say I’ll never fight." Should she finally decide to step into the octagon, she’s sure to gain a lot of fans simply based on her looks.
7 Michelle Waterson
Don’t let Michelle Waterson’s petite frame and cute appearance fool you. She’s one of the deadliest female fighters in the UFC. She’s a former Invicta FC champion, with a career record of 13-4, good enough to make her the #6 pound-for-pound female fighter in the sport at one point. Born in Colorado Springs and currently fighting out of Albuquerque, New Mexico, she has perhaps the most fitting nickname in all of mixed martial arts: “The Karate Hottie.” But most impressive about Waterson’s career is that she took time off (nearly two years) in the midst of her prime to have her first child, bringing new meaning to the term MILF (Mother I’d Like to Fight).
6 Rose Namajunas
You know a woman is attractive when she still looks good after she’s chopped off all of her hair. And that’s exactly what Rose Namajunas did, opting to lose her dirty blonde locks in favor of a buzz cut a la Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta. She’s perhaps best known for her fight against fellow UFC hottie Paige VanZant, a bloody bout that she won by unanimous decision. It was just prior to this fight that she decided to buzz her hair, saying that it was getting in her way and therefore had to go. You’ve got to respect a woman who puts comfort over beauty.
5 Holly Holm
Okay, so Holly Holm might not have that girl next door look like Paige VanZant, or have Hollywood good looks like Gina Carano, but she’s hot in her own intimidating respect. Nicknamed “The Preacher’s Daughter,” Holm, who stands in at 5’8” and weighs in at 135 lbs. (135 lbs. of pure muscle, we would add), is regarded as one of the best female fighters in the UFC. Her beat down on Rousey, who many believed to be virtually unbeatable at the time (not us), was enough to earn her a spot on this list. Fight fans eagerly await her rematch against Rousey, although she might have to go through Tate first.
4 Kailin Curran
Kailin Curran is a relative newcomer to the world of mixed martial arts, but in her brief time in the sport she’s already impressed fans, and not just for her fighting abilities. Curran, who hails from Hawaii and has a 4-2 record, not only challenged Paige VanZant in terms of who’s the better fighter, but she challenged her in terms of who’s hotter. VanZant narrowly defeated her in both categories, winning their fight by way of TKO in the third round and also winning the weigh-in by looking (slightly) better in a bikini. That’s one rematch that fans surely won’t object to.
3 Gina Carano
Although she’s since retired from mixed martial arts, who can forget the beautiful Gina Carano? She was Ronda Rousey before Ronda Rouseay was even Ronda Rousey. Seriously, Carano was the first “it” girl of women’s UFC, bringing a degree of beauty to the sport that had previously not been seen. She won her first seven fights in decisive fashion but decided to call it quits for good after her first loss, which came by way of TKO at the hands of Cristiane Justino. Since stepping away from the octagon in 2009, Carano has put her good looks to use and made a nice career for herself as an actress, starring in films like Haywire, Fast & Furious 6, and Deadpool. After Rousey’s loss to Holly Holm, some believed that she would follow in the steps of Carano and start a career in Hollywood. But Rousey’s determined to prove that she’s not done just yet.
2 Miesha Tate
Miesha Tate is on top of the world at the moment. She recently defeated Holly Holm, who had previously beaten the then undefeated Ronda Rousey, for the UFC women’s bantamweight championship. On top of that, she’s widely considered to be one of the most attractive, and therefore popular, female fighters in the sport. Who cares that she lost to Rousey in both of their fights? Tate’s the person to beat at the moment, and she’s enjoying the spotlight while it lasts. She is set to defend her title at UFC 200 against 27-year old Brazilian fighter Amanda Nunes. Although less experienced than Tate, Nunes, who sports a 12-4 record and is nicknamed “The Lioness,” is sure to give her a tough fight.
1 Paige VanZant
Paige VanZant has to be at the top of this list. With her bleach blonde hair, her surfer tan, and her athletic, yet still feminine, physique, VanZant is a rare beauty in the world of mixed martial arts. She’s recently taken a break from the octagon to compete in another, decidedly less physical, sport: dancing. She is a contestant on season 22 of Dancing with the Stars. And she’s doing quite well. In fact, many have her pegged to win the entire competition. Although that should really come as no big surprise, considering the fact that before becoming a fighter she was a dancer, and her parents even owned a dance studio.