21 Aug 2009 06:31:03 AM
(Submission savant Megumi Fujii. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
When "Carano vs. Cyborg" pulled in 856,000 viewers on Showtime, it proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that there could be a market for women’s MMA outside of Japanese all-girl leagues and one-off fights in the U.S. Strikeforce and Bellator are both planning high-profile women’s tournaments, and 2010 could be the year that women finally gain some measure of equality in the sport. In honor of the coming revolution, we’ve launched a top 5 women’s pound-for-pound list in our Power Rankings section; get to know these warriors below, and let us know what you think.
1: Megumi Fujii (18-0)
Armed with grappling credentials that include two BJJ championships at the Pan American Games and nine All-Japan Sambo titles, Fujii has tapped 15 of her 18 opponents during her five-year MMA career, and outpointed the other three. Her relentless, inventive ground attack is reminiscent of Kazushi Sakuraba in his prime, and at just 115 pounds, the 35-year-old packs more talent per ounce than any other woman in the world. In a sport where retiring undefeated is a mythical feat, Fujii just might pull it off.
Watch this: Fujii’s "Alive" and "Hurt" highlight reels.
2: Tara LaRosa (17-1)
Though Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg draw more attention, hardcore fans know that Tara LaRosa is the most talented female fighter our country has to offer. The former women’s bantamweight champ of BodogFight, LaRosa has run through a who’s who of U.S. talent including Roxanne Modafferi, Amanda Buckner, Shayna Baszler, and Kelly Kobold. She hasn’t lost since 2003, and she’s finished her last seven fights by stoppage. The word is that she’ll be competing next in a women’s 125-pound tournament for Bellator; if that works out, get ready for a whole new batch of YouTube highlights.
Watch this: Tara LaRosa vs. Shayna Baszler