Worldwide

UFC Women’s Flyweight Division: Results, Ranking, History, Fighters to Watch

Published

on

UFC Women’s Flyweight Division: Results, Ranking, History, Fighters to Watch

The UFC women's flyweight division is undeniably one of, if not the best women’s division in the UFC today, boasting a mix of established veterans and a who's who of up and coming contenders. 

With dominant champion Valentina Shevchenko ruling over the division for many years, recent title change, new rivalries, and more exciting matchups, the UFC women’s flyweight division continues to garner more fanfare and evolve. Known for its unpredictability, this division consistently delivers edge-of-the-seat entertainment, making it a must-watch for MMA enthusiasts. 

We dive into the complete history of the UFC women's flyweight division, fighters to watch this upcoming year, and much more.

UFC Women’s Flyweight Division Explained

The UFC women’s flyweight division, where female fighters weighing between 116 and 125 pounds compete, stands as a premier weight class across women's mixed martial arts. These athletes continually evolve, bringing heart, technique, and back and forth affairs to the octagon. UFC women’s flyweight fights, much like other lighter weight classes, showcase fast technical exchanges, and a diverse range of martial arts disciplines.

Over the years, the women’s flyweight division has transitioned from being perceived as one-horse division under dominant champion Valentina Shevchenko, to the diverse intriguing division it is now, with more young contenders emerging each year. 

Initially introduced in 2017 through the ultimate fighter program, the division initially got off to a slow start with initial champion Nicco Montano having to relinquish her title due to inactivity. This led to the division being kept at a standstill for over a year. 

After Valentina Shevchenko won the title in 2018, the division quickly proved its worth with Valentina showcasing her world class skill set, and in the last couple of years the division has gained massive popularity with title changes and thrilling fights.

The dynamic and unpredictable nature of women’s flyweight fights ensures that fans are treated to fast-paced, action-packed spectacles each time these athletes step into the cage. The fighters in this division often possess unbelievable durability and heart, making a lot of women’s flyweight fights close, back and forth, entertaining affairs.

Recent years have seen the emergence of new up and comers like Erin Blanchfield, Manon Fiorot, Maycee Barber and more, adding further intrigue and excitement to the division. These fighters have not only elevated the profile of the women’s flyweight division significantly, but have also drawn attention to the technical brilliance and entertainment value that this weight class consistently delivers. 

With new contenders matching up against experienced contenders and former champions, the women’s flyweight division continues to capture the attention of MMA enthusiasts, solidifying its place as a cornerstone of the UFC.

Recent UFC Women’s Flyweight Results

Recently at women’s flyweight, young contender Jasmine Jasudavicius dominated experienced former title challenger Priscila Cachoeira, earning herself a third round submission victory and a jump up into the women’s flyweight rankings at UFC 297. Jasudavicius landed an extraordinary 326 strikes on Cachoeira, a record for women’s bantamweight (the bout took place there after Cachoeira missed weight).

Also recently at UFC Fight Night 235, Natalie Silva edged out a close decision victory over fellow contender Viviane Araujo to move up the rankings.

Upcoming UFC Women’s Flyweight Fights

Upcoming in the UFC women’s flyweight division are two important fight night main events between fast rising contenders in the division. First on March 23rd is a showdown between young up and comer Amanda Ribas, and former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas. Rose is looking to bounce back after losing her first fight at women’s flyweight, and Ribas is looking to build off her last performance, a third round knockout victory over Luana Pinheiro.

Then just the week after in Atlantic City, number two ranked Erin Blanchfield takes on number three ranked Manon Fiorot. These two young contenders are both on impressive six fight win streaks in the UFC, and the winner of this fight is expected to be in line for the next title shot (after the expected trilogy fight between champion Alexa Grasso and former champion Valentina Shevchenko).

Current UFC Flyweight Champion

Hailing from Guadalajara Mexico is current UFC Flyweight Champion Alexa Grasso, whose road to the title and rise to stardom has been remarkable. Standing at 5ft 6in, Grasso is a very well rounded fighter, with crisp, accurate boxing, slick submissions, and tons of heart. Currently undefeated at women’s flyweight, Grasso has proved she is a puzzle and tough out for any fighter in the women’s 125 pound division.

UFC women's flyweight division

Photo by Icon sport

Grasso first entered the UFC in 2016 as a women’s strawweight, coming from women’s MMA talent hotbed Invicta FC with an undefeated record, and winning her UFC debut. Grasso then traded wins and losses before in 2020 she decided to move up a weight class to women’s flyweight.

Since that move Grasso didn’t look back, winning four in a row including a first round submission over former title challenger Joanne Wood, before in 2023 she finally earned the opportunity to fight long standing champion Valentina Shevchenko.

Grasso was a huge underdog heading into her title fight with Shevchenko at UFC 285, and after three and a half rounds it looked like Shevchenko was cruising to another title victory. But then out of nowhere, Grasso managed to take Shevchenko’s back and sink in a rear naked choke to get the tap and win the women’s flyweight title.

With the Mexican fans behind her, and one title defense under her belt, newly crowned champion Grasso stands as a promising and marketable star, injecting even more excitement and anticipation into the UFC women’s flyweight division.

Current UFC Women’s Flyweight Rankings

The current UFC women’s flyweight rankings as of February 2024 are:

   (C) – Alexa Grasso

  1. Valentina Shevchenko
  2. Erin Blanchfield
  3. Manon Fiorot
  4. Katlyn Cerminara
  5. Jessica Andrade
  6. Maycee Barber
  7. Natalia Silva
  8. Amanda Ribas
  9. Viviane Araujo
  10. Tracy Cortez
  11. Ariane Lipski
  12. Karine Silva
  13. Casey O’Neill
  14. Miranda Maverick
  15. Jasmine Jasudavicius

These division rankings are of importance in determining the next challengers for the champion, as well as giving guidelines to matchmakers in making the most exciting and important fights for the division. It also allows fighters to know where they stand within the company, and be able to plan their path to the top of the division. 

Fighters often call out one another in order to move up the rankings too, and when two ranked opponents face each other, it adds even higher stakes to a bout.

Fighters to Watch in the UFC Women’s Flyweight Division

Erin Blanchfield

“Cold Blooded” is a fitting nickname for the New Jersey native Erin Blanchfield, who is most certainly a fighter to watch in this crop of contenders fighting to get a shot at UFC women’s flyweight gold. Known for her slick submissions, and calculated fighting style, the BJJ black belt has been on a tear since her UFC debut in 2021, winning six straight including three finishes. 

The number two ranked fighter in the UFC women’s flyweight division is coming off an impressive decision win over former title challenger Talia Santos at the UFC’s visit to Singapore last August, and is looking to challenge for the title in 2024.

Manon Fiorot

“The Beast”, Manon Fiorot is a dynamic force in the UFC women’s flyweight division and along with fighters like Benoit Saint-Denis and Cyril Gane, she is leading the charge in this new wave of French fighters taking over the sport. 

With a background in kickboxing, Fiorot’s pinpoint striking accuracy and variety of techniques, making her a difficult puzzle for opponents to solve. Since her debut in 2021, Fiorot already has six wins in the UFC, with an impressive four of those coming against either former champions or title challengers, showcasing why she is one of the very top fighters in this division and a fighter to watch in 2024.

Valentina Shevchenko

Widely regarded as the greatest fighter in the history of women’s flyweight division, former champion Valentina “Bullet” Shevchenko has had a storied and acclaimed career in the UFC. Hailing from Kyrgyzstan, the 23-4-1 Shevchenko has been dominant since her UFC debut nine years ago, holding nine UFC wins (a division record), four UFC knockouts (a division record), 1547 days as the divisions champion (a division record), seven title defenses (a division record), the list goes on and on. 

With perfect striking technique, and dominant grappling, Shevchenko has shown her skills in dominant performances, including when she landed 230 strikes in two rounds on Priscila Cachoeira, and when she knocked Jessica Eye out cold with a head kick at UFC 238.

Since losing her title last year to Alexa Grasso, and fighting to a draw in their rematch (which many thought Shevchenko won), this is set to be a big year for Valentina, and she will be a fighter to watch in 2024.

History of UFC Women’s Flyweight Division

The UFC women’s flyweight division has undergone a captivating evolution since its inception in 2017, with a unique story and interesting twists and tales. The division has produced some of the most thrilling and technically impressive battles in UFC history to date.

The history of the UFC women’s flyweight division began in 2017 with the announcement of the 26th season of the UFC’s reality TV program The Ultimate Fighter, titled “The Ultimate Fighter: A New World Champion”. The season would feature a knockout tournament of 16 women’s flyweights, with the finale crowning the first UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion. 

The season featured many now known women’s flyweight fighters, including former title challenger Lauren Murphy, and experienced fighters Gilian Robertson, Roxanne Modafferi. The teams would also be coached by former UFC Lightweight Champion and now former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Justin Gaethje.

Ultimately Nicco Montano would emerge as the first UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion, after beating Roxanne Modafferi by decision in the main event of “The Ultimate Fighter 26 Finale” fight card. However, after just under a year Nicco Montano would be stripped of the title due to inactivity. She was scheduled to face rising contender Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 228, but prior to the bout Montano was transported to hospital due to side effects of weight cutting, and subsequently the bout was called off.

Without a weight class champion, the UFC scheduled a title bout between former UFC Women’s Strawweight Champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk and rising contender Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 231 in Toronto. Shevchenko had formerly been a Women’s Bantamweight fighter, securing wins over former UFC champions Holly Holm and Julianna Pena, as well as having a pair of razor close fights with Amanda Nunes, who many consider to be the greatest female fighter of all time. 

Shevchenko outclassed Jedrzejczyk over five rounds to win by decision and be crowned the new UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion. This would start one of the most dominant title reigns in UFC history.

Shevchenko would kick off her title defense at UFC 238 in 2019 where she would face hungry contender Jessica Eye. Shevchenko would spend the first round setting traps, before unleashing a head kick in the second round that knocked Eye out cold earning Shevchenko a performance bonus. 

Then followed successful defenses against Liz Carmouche in which Shevchenko won a unanimous decision, a stunning third round technical knockout of Katlyn Cerminara (formerly Chookagian), a dominant decision win over Jennifer Maia, and successive finishes of former Women’s Strawweight Champion Jessica Andrade, and Lauren Murphy.

Shevchenko was quickly filling up the record books and putting in successive defense after successive defense,with no sign of slowing down. Then Shevchenko was booked to face Taila Santos at UFC 275 in Singapore. In a fight that Shevchenko was heavily favored to win (like with her other title defenses so far), Santos came out and surprised everyone, shockingly taking the champion down in the first few rounds. Shevchenko rallied back though, and managed to claim a disputed split decision victory after five rounds of action.

This bout with Santos at the time may have been brushed off as a one off bad night for Shevchenko by some, but come her March 2023 title bout with Alexa Grasso something very different was revealed. Shevchenko looked to be in cruise control as the fourth round began, up on the scorecards and implementing her game plan. But something wasn’t the same. And in an instant, Grasso had taken Shevchenko’s back, sunk in the rear naked choke and a new champion was crowned.

The division had finally caught up with Valentina Shevchenko and she wasn’t the completely dominant champion she once was.

A rematch was scheduled for the first UFC Noche event in September 2023, a card giving a nod to Mexican heritage, and main eventing was its very own champion Alexa Grasso. Many questions were unanswered about both fighters before they took to the octagon for a second time, but after five rounds of back and forth action we got answers. 

Valentina made adjustments from the first fight and looked dialed in, Grasso showed her performance wasn’t a one off in March, even dropping the former champ at one point in the fight. In the end the top quality fight ended in a disputed draw with many thinking Shevchenko had done enough to get the edge, meaning fight fans now wait for a highly anticipated third fight between these two in the upcoming 2024 calendar.

As the women’s flyweight division moves forward, it continues to produce more intrigue and more entertaining fights. The ever-growing list of contenders, and the introduction of a new champion ensure that the division stays at the forefront of the women’s MMA landscape, and remains one of the most interesting in the sport.

UFC Women’s Flyweight Division FAQs

Who Is the Current Weight Class Champion at UFC Women’s Flyweight?

The current UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion is Mexico’s Alexa Grasso. She captured the title against Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 285 in March 2023.

What Is the Weight Limit for the UFC Women’s Flyweight Division?

The weight limit for the UFC women’s flyweight division is 125 pounds, with fighters being allowed to weigh in up to 126 pounds for non title fights.

Who Holds the Most Finishes in UFC Women’s Flyweight History?

Canadian Gillian Robertson holds the most finishes in UFC women’s flyweight history with seven finishes across her 16 fight UFC career.

Who Has the Most Wins at Women’s Flyweight in UFC History?

Both former UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion Valentina Shevchenko and longtime UFC women’s flyweight contender Katlyn Cerminara (formerly Katlyn Chookagian) hold the most wins in the division's history with nine each.

How Many UFC Women’s Flyweight Fighters Are There in the UFC?

Currently as of March 2024, the UFC has 38 active women’s flyweight fighters.

Bren Gray is our resident Kiwi, and has been writing about sports since he could first string words together. He first fell in love with boxing when David Tua took on Lennox Lewis in 2000, and hasn't looked back since.