10 Up-and-Coming Female Fighters You Should Know About
We all know the big names in women’s fighting: Ronda Rousey. Holly Holm. Miesha Tate. Cris Cyborg. Joanna Jedrzejczyk. Rose Namajunas.
But what about those who go unrecognized?
There are many fighters who don’t gain a lot of exposure in the sport, due to fighting under smaller promotions, not being covered by mainstream media, being new to their careers, or a combination of all three. In order to stop perpetuating this reality, we decided to give you a list of 10 up-and-coming female fighters whose names you should know and work you should follow.
1. Sarah Thomas
A native of Long Island, Sarah is a boxer and MMA fighter who has come into her own as a fighter over the past few years, after entering the Golden Gloves boxing tournament in New York after facing an eye injury and a lack of MMA opponents. This year, she took home the Golden Gloves title at 141 lbs, as well as the award for the best female boxer of the tournament.
2. Alicia Napoleon
Another Long Island native, “The Empress,” is a professional boxer with a record of 9-1. She ranked up several titles as an amateur, and as a pro has won titles from the WBC and IBA, with her current standing as the WBA welterweight champion. Always an athlete, Napoleon first laced up her gloves at age 18 and built her fighting career from the ground up, also moonlighting as an artist and actress. Napolean is also a co-owner of Overthrow Boxing and regularly trains clients and teaches classes at their Brooklyn and Manhatten studio locations.
3. Shawna “Bam Bam” Ormsby
After first seeing Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate coaching The Ultimate Fighter, Shawna was inspired to get into the cage herself. In five years, she’s managed to win titles in muay thai and amature mma, and go professional with her current standing as a 1-0 atomweight fighter with King of the Cage.
4. Tatiana Suarez
Winner of the TUF season 23, #9 ranked strawweight Tatiana Suarez is starting to make a name for herself in the UFC. She is coming off of a swift round 1 submission of Alexa Grasso, which has resulted in her being launched into the rankings and into the minds of MMA fans. At 7-0, with a packed resume of wrestling accolades, and four first-round finishes, Suarez could easily be at the top of the strawweight division before the year is out.
5. Lina Lansberg
Although 36 year-old Lansberg has been fighting professionally since 2012, it’s only since coming into the UFC that “The Elbow Queen,” has gotten mainstream exposure. First from her fight with Cris Cyborg and now after dominating bantamweight prospect Gina Mazany. Although Lansberg doesn’t have the most impressive resume out there, any ranked opponent in the bantamweight division has the chance to shine right now, with a division full of largely inactive or injured contenders.
6. Mikaela Mayer
Former Olympian Mikaela Mayer is now undefeated as a pro boxer at 5-0. She’s one of the few female boxers who is getting her fights streamed, as she has a deal with ESPN that has put her front and center on their cards. With 3 KO’s to her name thus far, Mayer looks to hold a lot of promise.
7. Jin Yu Frey
An Invicta atomweight, Yu Frey is up for a title shot in the promotion on at Invicta 30 on July 21. She’s been a professional MMA fighter since 2013, with a recriutment by Invicta coming after she made a name for herself on the regional circuit. She first became known after one of her fights went viral, in which she scored a killer KO against Darla Harris.
8. Angela “Unstoppable” Lee
Undefeated ONE champion, Lee is perhaps the best strawweight who isn’t fighting in the UFC. She’s currently 9-0 as a pro mma fighter and has 6 wins by way of submission, and 7 by way of stoppage. After surviving a serious car accident and making a dynamic comeback last month, she truly is “unstoppable.”
9. Kristina Williams
This Bellator fighter is the only woman who can claim professional victory over seasoned boxer Heather Hardy. The 2-0 former amature kickboxer is stepping in on short notice to fight veteran Valerie Letourneau at Bellator 201, in what’s sure to be an exciting, explosive matchup between the new kid on the block and the old pro.
10. Farinaz Lari
Farinzaz is the first Iranian woman to ever win a kickboxing world title and is currently fighting in K-1, holding the number 5 ranking at 52 kg. While most start martial arts from a young age but Lari didn’t start training until she was 18, as her family didn’t agree with her wanting to practice combat sports. In addition to her fighting career, she also owns a muay thai gym where she trains up and comers.