To boxing purists, mixed martial arts is anathema. Boxing, however, has played a key role in the development of MMA and its journey to the position it holds today as a globally popular sport – and continues to exert influence. Fighters with a solid base in the discipline are often considered to be well-rounded thanks to their exceptional footwork, evasive head movements and, of course, those deadly hands.
The rise of women’s MMA through promotions like Invicta and the UFC has opened up new career possibilities for female boxers. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at which of the current crop of UFC and Invicta fighters can be considered the greatest boxers in WMMA.
1. Holly Holm
The former UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion is the first woman who springs to mind when it comes to exceptional boxing in the sport of MMA. Knocking out Ronda Rousey may have been one of
Holm’s defining moments in the UFCbut as a pro boxer she has carved out for herself one of the most stellar careers of any fighter.
Before making the transition to full time MMA, ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ was a world champion title holder in three separate weight classes. As the highest-ranked female boxer of all time (pound for pound), Holm made no less than 16 successful title defenses, including her WBA and WBC belts.
With numerous accolades to her name, including an entry into the Boxing Hall of Fame,
is an exemplary sportswoman and has dealt with the trials and tribulations of a career as a pro fighter with incredible dignity.
2. Amanda Nunes
The current UFC Women’s Featherweight and Bantamweight champion has what could only be termed as a killer instinct. As one of the most aggressive fighters in WMMA and known for her deadly strikes, most people would assume that Amanda Nunes had a background as a professional boxer.
In truth, however, her proves as a striker is mostly down to natural-born talent – or should that be supernatural? Nunes primarily trained in Capoeira, Karate and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu before adding boxing training into the mix – all of which have produced one of the most feared fighters in WMMA.
While Nunes has made short work of both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions in the UFC – including taking the belt from Holly Holm – it was her 2021 superfight against Cris Cyborg that was the most definitive of her career so far.
3. Valentina Schevchenko
Nicknamed ‘The Bullet’,
Valentina Shevchenko is a truly formidable fighter, her 22-3 MMA record speaks for itself. The current UFC Women’s Flyweight Champion reigns supreme as the #1 in women’s pound for pound UFC rankings and is known for blazing through her opponents with a deadly combination of well-placed strikes and dominating groundwork.
Unlike some of the other women fighters on this list, Schevchenko does have a background in professional boxing and was even a potential contender for the 2012 WIBA Lightweight title.
4. Irene Aldana
Currently ranked #4 in the UFC pound for pound rankings, Irene Aldana is another bantamweight fighter who consistently impresses when it comes to her boxing skills despite not having any prior elite boxing experience.
Instead, Aldana went straight into mixed martial arts when she joined Mexico’s Lobo Gym upon graduation. In 2014, she joined the Invicta promotion, where she was mostly known for her dominating ground game. Since entering the Octagon in 2016, Aldana has showcased her superior boxing skills, particularly her fleet footwork.
5. Jennifer Maia
The former Invicta FC Flyweight World Champion and a current member of the UFC’s flyweight division,
was once on the way to boxing superstardom. She made her professional boxing debut back in 2008 and racked up 3 wins fighting for the Brazilian Centri de Boxe promotion. Just one year later, however, she made the decision to move to MMA full time.
Boxing fans who don’t tune into her MMA fights are missing a trick. Since signing with the UFC in 2018, Maia has worked consistently at her game and is now as adept with her Muay Thai and grappling skills as she is with her hands.
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