Posted by Amy Kaplan @amykaplan33
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Amy Kaplan

Everyone knows Ronda Rousey and Cris Cyborg, but trust me there are other badass women fighters out there.

Women's MMA was been around a long time before Rousey and these women will ensure it remains in the forefront long after.

Here are a few of my favorites, in no particular order...

Photo by Amy Kaplan
Photo by Amy Kaplan

Arlene 'Angerfist' Blencowe - Bellator

Blencowe is a beast. She comes from a boxing background and has world championship titles in the World Boxing Federation and Women’s International Boxing Association. She lives in Australia, but has spent extensive time training at Jackson Wink in New Mexico. She arrived at Bellator in early 2015, has already fought three times under their banner and was the first female Australian ever signed to the promotion. She faced Gabrielle Holloway last and won via a split decision. Of her seven total wins, four come by way of KO/TKO and one by submission.

Where to see her next: No future fights have been announced as of yet, but another fight in Bellator is assumed.

Photo from Angela Hill/Instagram
Photo from Angela Hill/Instagram

Angela "Overkill" Hill - Invicta FC

Hill is on a three fight win streak with Invicta after losing her last two in the UFC, but she's proving her worth having just taken the strawweight belt from the previously undefeated Livia Renata Souza. Hill stood toe to toe with Souza, who many thought was unbeatable and won via split decision in a fight I saw as entirely in Hill's control. She has won three of her five victories via KO/TKO and I see her as just getting started.

Where to see her next: Hill just fought in May, but will be defending her newly acquired belt next, announcement pending.

Tiffany van Soest - Glory and Invicta FC

Van Soest is probably the most talented female Muay Thai practitioner on the market today. She began training in the art at 18, and won both state and national titles before turning pro in 2011. She took the scene by storm fighting 14 times for Lion Fight promotions, becoming their featherweight AND super bantamweight champion. Unfortunately due to an issue with the promotion allegedly not paying her, she left Lion Fights and signed with Glory Kickboxing. She made her debut last week when she beat Esma Hasshass via unanimous decision. If her Muay Thai doesn't excite you, her MMA might... yep, MMA too. She announced shortly before her Glory debut that she had signed with Invicta FC to make her MMA debut.

Where to see her next: Unfortunately it looks like a MMA debut is still a few years off, but you can see her next kickboxing bout on FightPass with Glory Kickboxing.

Ashlee Evans-Smith - UFC

Evans-Smith has been on the scene for a while, and has had quite a career so far. She was the first female to defeat transgender fighter Fallon Fox (video above) and made her UFC debut on just two weeks notice. She has a record of 4-1 with her most recent win over Marion Reneau at UFC Fight Night 83 coming by way of split decision. Evans-Smith regularly competes in jiu-jitsu tournaments as well and is comfortable both as a striker and on the ground.

Where to see her next: You're most likely to see her fighting in the UFC next, but no bouts have been announced. Until then check out her past fights on UFC Fight Pass.

Amanda Nunes - UFC

Nunes is the next fighter to get a shot at the title that Ronda Rousey was dominating for years. Now that the belt has changed hands from Rousey to Holly Holm to now Meisha Tate, we know that anything is possible. The division is exciting again! Nunes is on a three-fight win streak and boasts a 12-4 record. Her last bout recorded a W against Valentina Shevchenko via unanimous decision.

Where to see her next: You can catch her title shot against Tate at UFC 200 in July.

Kyra Batara - Combate Americas

Batara is my dark horse, my unexpected prospect. She came out of virtually nowhere and is on a tear right now. Batata is a prodigy of Eddie Bravo so her jiu-jitsu is understandably excellent, but her stand-up is just as good. Just one year ago she was struggling to find fights as her record wasn't the best, but then she got her shot at a new promotion (Combate Americas) and is now one of their biggest stars. She is on a three-fight win streak and is next in line for a championship belt.

Where to see her next: You can catch her next fight for Combate Americas on Fight Pass, in the Fall of 2016.

Angela Lee - ONE Championship

Lee is the youngest fighter on this list, as well as the youngest ever champion of a major MMA promotion. She fights exclusively for ONE Championship and has been unstoppable since her May 2015 pro debut. With no loses she is sure to be an amazing addition to WMMA going forward. Her ground game is superior to any I have seen before. She currently has a 6-0 record and building.

Where to see her next: Lee just acquired the ONE Championship title in May so her next fight will be her first defense of the belt. Nothing has been announced yet.