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Breaking Barriers

UFC is proud to celebrate all the women's athletes that have competed inside the Octagon, and their achievements.

Learn more about female UFC athletes, past and present, and their significant role in growing the sport of mixed martial arts, as we also recognize Women’s History Month.

Breaking Barriers graphic with Amanda Lemos, Zhang Weili, Alexa Grasso, and Valentina Shevchenko.
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10 Years Of Breaking Barriers

From the first ever to the greatest ever, women continue to shatter barriers within UFC. Check back throughout Women’s History Month for stories, galleries, and videos from women who've defined the past and are creating the future of mixed martial arts. 

Featured Stories

History Of Women In The UFC

  • Kathy Long Commentates UFC 1

  • Rousey and Carmouche Headline First Women's Main Event

  • Rousey and Tate Become First Women To Coach The Ultimate Fighter

  • First All-Womens The Ultimate Fighter

  • Carla Esparza crowned UFC strawweight champion

  • Joanna Jędrzejczyk Becomes Poland's First Champion

  • Holly Holm Shocks The World

  • Miesha Tate Becomes Champion

  • Two Forces Collide

  • Tate vs Nunes Headlines UFC 200

  • The Lioness Stops Rousey

  • Germaine de Randamie becomes first UFC featherweight champion

  • Cyborg Arrives Enters The Octagon

  • Nunes vs Shevchenko 2

  • Thug Rose Defeats Joanna

  • A flyweight champion is crowned

  • Ronda Rousey Is The First Woman Inducted Into The Hall of Fame

  • The Reign of Shevchenko Begins

  • Amanda Nunes Because The First Women's Double Champ

  • Jessica Andrade Becomes Strawweight Champion

  • Zhang Weili Becomes China's First Champion

  • One Of The Greatest Fights Ever

  • Peña Defeats The Lionness

  • Laura Sanko Is The First Female Color Commentator For A UFC Event

  • First Mexican-Born Women's Champion

  • The GOAT Hangs Up Her Gloves

  • Kathy Long commentates UFC 1

    UFC 1

    Martial artist Kathy Long became the first woman to commentate a UFC event (pre-Zuffa era) alongside Bill Wallace and Jim Brown.
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    UFC 157

    In February 2013, history is made when female fighters compete for the first time in the Octagon. The headlining bantamweight bout at UFC 157 between Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche was the first-ever women's fight in UFC history.
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    The Ultimate Fighter: Team Rousey vs Team Tate

    Along with coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha tate, sixteen women fought alongside sixteen men for their spot in the The Ultimate Fighter house. Notable fighters Julianna Peña, Raquel Pennington, Roxanne Modafferi, and Shayna Baszler were among standsouts from the season.
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    The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned

    The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned was the first season in the show's history to feature only female fighters competing for the UFC strawweight championship.
  • The Ultimate Fighter: A Champion Will Be Crowned Finale

    Carla Esparza became the first UFC strawweight champion after securing a rear-naked choke in the 3rd round of The Ultimate Fighter Finale against Rose Namajunas.
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    UFC 185

    Joanna Jedrzejczyk puts Poland on the map at UFC 185, becoming the first Polish-born champion in UFC history.
  • UFC 193

    UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia becomes the highest-attended event in UFC history (56,214) and first UFC card headlined by two women’s title fights. In the main event, Holly Holm defeated UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to capture the bantamweight title.
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    UFC 196

    Challenging for the UFC bantamweight title for a second time, Miesha Tate achieved her goal after submitting Holly Holm via rear-naked choke in the 5th round of their UFC 196 bout.
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    UFC 196

    UFC 196 saw two of the most dominant future champions in the UFC meet for the first time when Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko stepped into the Octagon. The bout would see Nunes emerging the victor by decision, but it wasn't the last time to two would meet.
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    UFC 200

    UFC 200 in Las Vegas, Nevada marks a historic milestone topping off the most impressive International Fight Week to date.
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    UFC 207

    The unstoppable force that is "The Lioness" Amanda Nunes was on full display after the bantamweight champion stopped the returning Ronda Rousey in 48-seconds of their UFC 207 main event.
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    UFC 208

    Germaine de Randamie became the first black female to headline a UFC event at UFC 208, where she defeated Holly Holm for the UFC featherweight championship title. That night, she also became the first black women's champion.
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    UFC 214

    Cris Cyborg makes her long awaited debut, defeating Leslie Smith by TKO (punches) in the first round of their fight.
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    UFC 215

    Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko meet for a second, with "The Lioness" emerging victorious again by split decision. Fans continue to clamor for a trilogy to settle the rivalry.
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    UFC 217

    A first-round TKO over Joanna Jędrzejczyk left Rose Namajunas with gold around her waist. She went on to defend the belt once more against Jędrzejczyk at UFC 223, before falling to Andrade.
  • Nicco Montano celebrates her unanimous-decision victory over Roxanne Modafferi in their women's flyweight championship bout during the TUF Finale event inside Park Theater on December 01, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

    The Ultimate Fighter: A New World Champion Finale

    Nicco Montaño became UFC’s first women’s flyweight champion after defeating Roxanne Modafferi by unanimous decision.
  • UFC Hall of Fame: Modern Wing

    A pioneer of the sport, Ronda Rousey was announced as the first woman to join the UFC Hall of Fame in its modern wing. Rousey was the last Strikeforce bantamweight champion and the first UFC women's bantamweight champion. She defended her title 6 times with a record of 12-2.
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    UFC 231

    Valentina Schevenko begins her reign as the UFC flyweight champion and the first UFC champion from Kyrgyzstan after defeating Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231. She was the first woman to successfully defend the UFC women’s flyweight title.
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    UFC 232

    Amanda Nunes defeated Cris Cyborg at UFC 232 to win the women's featherweight title, becoming the first women's to claim double champion status in UFC history. She became the bantamweight champion in 2016 at UFC 200.
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    UFC 237

    Jessica Andrade earned UFC gold for the first time at UFC 237 against strawweight Rose Namajunas. An unforgettable slam knocked out Namajunas out, sending Andrade home not only with the belt, but with Performance and Fight of the Night honors as well.
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    UFC Fight Night

    Zhang Weili becomes China’s first UFC champion at UFC Fight Night: Andrade vs Zhang after defeating Jessica Andrade via TKO 42 seconds into the bout.
  • UFC 248

    Weili Zhang defended her strawweight title against Joanna Jędrzejczyk in what is considered by many to be the greatest women's MMA match of all time.
  • UFC 269

    Julianna Peña became UFC’s fifth women’s bantamweight champion when she locked in a second-round submission over Amanda Nunes at UFC 289. Prior to the bout, Nunes had successfully defended the belt five times. 
  • Laura Sanko, John Gooden and Michael Bisping Talk To A Camera

    UFC Fight Night

    Octagon side reporter and Dana White’s Contender Series commentator Laura Sanko made her color commentary debut at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs Spivac, becoming the first female color commentator to call a UFC broadcast in the Zuffa Era.
  • UFC 285

    Alexa Grasso became the first Mexican-born women's champion after submitting Valentina Shevchenko in the fourth round at UFC 285.
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    UFC 289

    Amanda Nunes retires as double champ after defeating Irene Aldana at UFC 289 in Vancouver.

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