When people think about female fighters, especially mixed martial artists, their minds immediately go to a place where they don’t think there will be any beauty since the nature of the sport is people bashing each other’s heads in. However, if you think the world of mixed martial arts is just like that, you are dearly mistaken. Yes, it is one of the most brutal sports in the world, but it also is one of the sports in which intelligence makes the most difference. And one thing everyone must admit is that the ladies who compose the UFC women’s division these days are intelligent women.
This applies not only inside the octagon, but they also know very well how to use their image to promote their brands. As most people know, promoting your brand is a must in the world of sports these days as a lot of income can come from exposure on television, magazines, and even social media. However, for this to work out, one needs to become a master at the art of appearing in front of a camera.
Luckily for both the athletes and the fans, the ladies of the UFC have become perfect examples of how to do such a thing. In a world where fitness is in the mainstream, the stage is already set for these women to become massive successes on the Internet. To prove that point, we have found 15 examples of ladies who love to pose for the camera and improve their brand, but we also found five who like to keep their careers strictly in the fight business.
20 Business: Cris Cyborg
If one side of this list is full of ladies who almost exhale grace despite the fact they earn their living by pounding faces in. The other side is composed mostly of women who do look like they should be earning their bucks with their fists. Nobody exemplifies this idea better than the Brazilian sensation, Cris Cyborg.
This is one terrifying woman. If you follow women’s mixed martial arts, especially in the UFC, you have an idea of how dangerous some of these ladies could be if any guy faced them in a fight. Cyborg is the kind of woman who would literally be able to kill a regular man with a single punch. She is a beast in the octagon, and her 20-1 record is more than enough proof of that.
19 Grace: Aleksandra Albu
And who said ladies with six-packs were not beautiful? You might not be able to see it in this picture, but Aleksandra Albu has one of the craziest sets of abs in the mixed martial arts industry. Yes, we are counting men and women. This lady worked so hard on her body that it would be a crime if she never got the opportunity to show it off, be it during the weigh-ins before a big fight or during a photo shoot. And yes, she is one of the many ladies of the Octagon who love being in front of a camera.
In terms of her career, this 27-year-old Russian beauty started off as a karate fighter and did CrossFit before she transitioned to mixed martial arts in 2013. To this day she has an undefeated 3-0 record.
18 Grace: Paige VanZant
Since the world of fitness became mainstream on social media, few athletes have had as much success in growing their following as UFC fighter Paige VanZant. This lady is only 23 years old, and she can already be considered one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts. Not only that, rumors are floating about saying she could be looking to pull a Ronda Rousey move and change sceneries with a WWE run. The one thing we are sure about here is that wrestling fans would be ecstatic to add such an athletic lady to their sport.
Unfortunately, Paige has had a rough time as of late as she lost three of her last four fights. Nevertheless, win or lose, she is always looking for a camera to tell her fans how much she loves them.
17 Grace: Julianna Pena
Do you think the place where you live is bad? Let’s mention a few things to put it all in perspective. Is your government corrupt? Is the leader of your government a dictator? Can you walk down the street to a supermarket without fear of being shot by someone who should be protecting you? Is there any food in that supermarket?
If you don’t relate to all of these troubles, you should count yourself lucky because that means you don’t live in Venezuela. The beautiful South American country is going through a rough patch and the people there desperately need an outlet to escape their reality. They found that in UFC fighter Julianna Pena. She might not have been born in Venezuela, but The Venezuelan Vixen is one of the world-class athletes who help that population take their minds off the struggle. It also helps that she is one of the most beautiful women in MMA.
16 Business: Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Another lady who seems to be all about business in the UFC is Polish mixed martial artist Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Here is one interesting aspect about these ladies: We already talked about Cyborg, who is in a league of her own, but it is surprising to see that the second lady who is all business here is also one of the best fighters in her division.
Joanna was one of the few remaining undefeated fighters with enough bouts under her belt to seem dominant over the rest of the pack. Her run went as far as a 14-0 record. She earned the UFC Women’s Strawweight Championship in 2015 and retained it until November of last year when she suffered the first defeat of her career against Rose Namajunas.
15 Grace: Ronda Rousey
Now that she has signed a contract with the WWE, there is no clear date of a possible return of Ronda Rousey to the UFC. Nevertheless, it is impossible for us to mention fighters who love to pose for the camera without talking about Ronda. Haters can say whatever they want about this woman, but it is hard to deny that Ronda became an icon for female fighters to follow when it comes to spreading their wings and diversifying ways to enhance their brands. However, on this occasion, Rousey probably didn't mean for cameras to see what she was packing underneath her dress.
She has been featured in countless magazines, and even Hollywood directors have seen that she has a way around the cameras. Ronda has appeared in movies like The Expendables 3, Furious 7, and Entourage. We don’t know what the future holds, but the one thing we are sure of is that WWE fans are lucky to have a star of her caliber in their sport.
14 Grace: Felice Herrig
Felice Herrig is one of the hottest fighters in the UFC, and we mean hottest in more than one way. Of course, there is the obvious fact that she is one beautiful woman, but Felice is also running hot on a four-fight win streak since July 2016. She has won one bout after the next with patience and clinical striking. Right now, she is sitting in eighth place in the Women’s Strawweight division rankings. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising for us to see her getting a shot at the title sometime towards the end of this year or early next year depending on the result of her UFC 223 fight against Karolina Kowalkiewicz.
When it comes to posing for the camera, this 33-year-old fighter is one of the most experienced women in the UFC. She has been in the game for a long time, and she has always been comfortable modeling for the cameras while she is not fighting.
13 Grace: Miesha Tate
If it is tough to talk about female mixed martial artists without mentioning Ronda Rousey, it might be impossible to mention the subject without talking about Miesha Tate. Let’s put it this way: November 12, 2016, was one of the saddest days for fans of women’s mixed martial arts. That was the day Miesha Tate announced to the world that she was going to retire.
Tate is 31 years old and was active in MMA from 2007 all the way to 2016. She has one of the most celebrated careers in the history of the sport as she finished her near decade of service to MMA with an 18-7 record. There is, however, one silver lining in her retirement. Now, Tate is probably going to have a lot more time to dedicate to her modeling career, something she really seemed keen on doing while she was fighting.
12 Business: Rose Namajunas
The former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, is a lady who is all about business as we have already mentioned. So, it seems fair that when she lost her title, she did so to a woman who is also all about the business of fighting. It doesn’t matter how beautiful you may think she looks, you will have a hard time finding a picture of Rose Namajunas posing in front of a camera in a bikini or whatever else when she has the time to be in the gym practicing.
Her 7-3 record might not seem all that impressive when compared to some nearly undefeated ladies, but when you take into account the time and dedication Rose has put into the sport, you will be left in awe. After all, she has been fighting since she was five years old.
11 Grace: Valentina Shevchenko
Back in the day, whenever female athletes wanted to try modeling careers or to appear more to their fans, they had to go through photographers and professionals, which you can imagine is not very easy to do. At least, it is not as easy as picking up your phone and snapping a picture to post on social media. Yeah, technology is the best thing that ever happened. These days, in order to show the world that they love posing for cameras, female mixed martial artists, as well as any other kind of athlete, don’t need to go looking for a modeling agency or a magazine deal. They just have to pick up their phone and take a picture of their workout. Someone who loves sharing her day with her fans is the number two fighter in the women’s bantamweight division, Valentina Shevchenko.
10 Grace: Cat Zingano
Another UFC lady who does not miss a shot at appearing in front of a camera is Cat Zingano. For a long time, this lady was considered one of the most promising talents in the world of women’s mixed martial arts. She is, after all, the last person who beat Amanda Nunes as she knocked out the current bantamweight champ in 2014 with a devastating mix of elbows and punches.
That fight seems to have been a turning point in the career of both of those women. Unfortunately for Cat, it all happened backward. After the bout, Cat earned the chance to fight Ronda Rousey for the UFC belt. She eventually lost that bout as well as the two fights that followed. Meanwhile, Amanda has been undefeated since losing to Cat.
9 Grace: Claudia Gadelha
Much like in the men’s side of the game, the women’s division of the UFC is filled with Brazilians. One of the most recognizable Brazilian names in women’s mixed martial arts is Claudia Gadelha. And since her land is known for its beautiful women and beaches, Claudia does not lose any time in posting on all of her social medias whenever she has time to escape from training and run to the beach to enjoy the Brazilian sun.
In terms of her fighting skills, Claudia is a force to be reckoned with. She has been fighting professionally since 2008 and to this day only has three losses to her name. Her 15-3 record is one of the most impressive in the Women’s Strawweight division, and she is one of those people who is always looking for a shot at the title.
8 Business: Amanda Nunes
Say what you say about the ladies in the UFC who keep their careers strictly business, but the one common denominator we seem always to find is that they are some of the best fighters around. Or maybe it is just surprising for us to see people who are so successful not trying to expand their horizons like some of the other women in the industry. Either way, one of the best examples we have of amazing fighters who are all about the business is UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes.
Amanda is one of the most powerful and dominant fighters in the entire UFC. She won her title by defeating Miesha Tate in 2016 and has defended that belt from Ronda Rousey and Valentina Shevchenko. Her 15-4 record includes 13 victories by knockout or submission.
7 Grace: Jessica Penne
One of the most experienced fighters in the UFC, Jessica Penne has been with the promotion since she was a participant in The Ultimate Fighter back in 2014. However, this is far from a good representation of her professional mixed martial arts career. This is a woman who has been a pro since 2006. Yes, it took her seven years to make it to the UFC, but her performance in the reality show was impressive, to say the least. Jessica finished the reality show with a 2-1 record (3-1 if we consider her victory in the finale against Randa Markos).
She is also incredibly comfortable in front of a camera and has been part of a few photo shoots. The only bummer here is that Jessica is going through a rough patch since joining the UFC. She has lost three fights in a row.
6 Grace: Tecia Torres
She might not smile in front of the cameras too much, but it is safe to say that even when she puts on a mean mug, Tecia Torres has a way of looking good. This 28-year-old mixed martial artist from Massachusetts is not the strongest woman in the UFC, but there is something about her, almost like an aura, that kind of makes people afraid of her. The fact that she doesn’t smile too much might have something to do with it as well as the idea that she is a master at looking menacing in front of a camera.
Torres started her career in the UFC through The Ultimate Fighter, and despite the fact that she finished the show with a 1-2 record, she has become one of the most successful women to come out of that season of the reality show. Her career record is 10-2.
5 Grace: Karolina Kowalkiewicz
Nothing is more important in the life of a fighter than being able to bounce back from the hardest moments of her career. Karolina Kowalkiewicz was going through a rough patch in the UFC after she lost two fights in a row. That must be hard as it is, but imagine if something like this happened to you and you were undefeated before. Yes, this lady went from being undefeated to losing two fights in a row. Thankfully, all she needed was a return to her native Poland to bounce back and re-encounter her winning ways.
Karolina defeated Jodie Esquibel in October of last year and is once again in the conversation for a title shot in the UFC Strawweight division. We hope the Polish Princess gets her shot because she really is one of those people who love and deserve to be in the spotlight both inside and outside of the octagon.
4 Business: Germaine de Randamie
The last lady on our list who is all about business is the Dutch Iron Lady, Germaine de Randamie. She is one of the most dedicated fighters in the business, but it is hard to deny that the former Women’s Featherweight Champion had a few run-ins with management that she probably could have avoided. It all ended with her being stripped of her title by the UFC. Yes, losing your belt during a fight has to be hard enough, but losing it away from the Octagon has to be 10 times worse.
The decision to strip Germaine of the belt had many reasons, but the biggest one was that she refused to fight Cris Cyborg because of her opponent’s well-known tendency to use performance-enhancing drugs. Nevertheless, the UFC decided to give Germaine a new chance, and she should be back to the Octagon soon enough.
3 Grace: Laura Mancusse
For the final three of ladies who love to pose for the camera, we decided to reserve the spots for ladies we wish would make the transition to the UFC. Yes, if you didn’t know, there are other fighting promotions aside from the UFC, and they do have a lot of talent packed up. However, most of the young women fighting in these promotions are looking for a way to the big leagues, and there are a few whom we think would fit in well with the UFC.
The first one is the experienced Laura “Fancy” Mancusse. A 35-year-old veteran, Laura has fought most of her career as an amateur, and her only professional fight was a victory at Invicta FC 4. Add that to the fact that she really knows her way around a camera, and she would be a good fit with the UFC.
2 Grace: Julia Budd
If you are someone who thinks strong women are beautiful women, you need to look no further than Julia Budd. She might not be fighting in the UFC, but this lady is arguably one of the best fighters in the world today. She has a ridiculous 11-2 professional mixed martial arts record, with the peculiarity that she is currently in a nine-fight win streak. Yeah, not many people can go almost 10 fights without losing, but the current Bellator Women’s Featherweight Champion is exactly this kind of fighter.
Don’t be fooled by the fact she is not in the UFC. If she made the change to the promotion, there is a good chance that she could even be the one to defeat Cris Cyborg. Hopefully, Julia will eventually make the transition and show the world what she has got because she is definitely already good enough in front of the cameras.
1 Grace: Arlene Blencowe
Last but not least, we have some Australian flavor to add to this mix of ladies who fight but still love to appear in front of the camera. Arlene Blencowe is currently a fighter at Bellator, but this 34-year-old veteran has done enough throughout her career to merit a shot at a UFC contract. If not only for her skills, this could also be a good way for Dana White and his company to diversify since they don’t have that many Aussie fighters on the roster.
From a modeling standpoint, Arlene is also a force to be reckoned with as she always seems to know how to smile in front of a camera no matter if it is a candid shot, or if she is posing during a photo shoot, or even at a weigh-in.