By: R Eric Ellison
Finally back after a long layoff with a win over Amanda Nunes at UFC 178, Zingano is no surprise on a heavy hitters list. Known for her striking prowess and laser takedowns, Zingano boasts not only one of the highest KO averages, but also one of the highest accuracy ratings in the division. She is also currently one of only a handful at 135 to still remain undefeated. With big stoppage victories against the likes of Takayo Hashi, Miesha Tate, and Nunes, the question now is will she do it once more in what is no doubt her toughest challenge to date at UFC 184 versus UFC queen Ronda Rousey.
We cannot wait to find out.
#4 Liz Carmouch: (9-5-0) 6 wins via T/KO
Carmouche is a beast in the division. She may very well have become the first female “gatekeeper” in the Octagon. An absolute challenge for anyone on their way to the title, and herself still close to another shot, Carmouche smashes her way onto this list with six KO wins. That is 2/3′s of her entire stack of victories. Although the majority of these came earlier in her career,she has still shown the potential when she put down top ten Jessica Andrade. No word yet on her next fight, but with two losses in her last two, look for Liz to be back to her KO ways.
#3 Holly Holm: ( 7-0-0) 6 wins via T/KO
Scheduled to make her UFC debut at UFC 181 against Raquel Pennington, many fans have been waiting for quite some time for this “KO Queen” to make her way to the Octagon. Although she has not fought for Zuffa officially, she is on the roster, and has won all but a single fight by way of strikes. In a way, she is the striking version of Ronda Rousey, however I do not compare the skill levels, just the way in which the numbers work. When she is on, Holm has some of the fastest hands in the division, and each packs a punch. Holly has some of the best combos in the business, excellent footwork, and another KO at UFC 181 will no doubt keep her climbing the ladder on every list.
#2 Amanda Nunes (9-4-0) 8 wins via T/KO
Not only does Nunes rise to the top of the pack, if you know your WMMA, she probably has one of the best resumes in the womens division. Her knockout wins are over some quality fighters like Sheila Gaff, Edaine Gomez, Julia Budd, and Germaine de Randamie. Many of these fighters are considered some of the elite, and a few are ranked by the UFC even now. What also makes Nunes stand out is her unique ferocity. There are many in the UFC womens division that can throw hands, but Nunes gets after it in a way that very few do, or even can. Certainly not falling off the ladder after her recent loss to Zingano, expect Amanda to be back soon and better than ever.
Hey,maybe against Liz Carmouch. She is free.
#1 Sarah Kaufman: (17-2-1) 10 wins via T/KO
Former Strikeforce champ and top UFC ranked Sara Kaufman is like the Wanderlei Silva of the women’s division. When that cage door closes, a switch goes off in Kaufman and she becomes this swarming inferno of nonstop strikes from bell to bell. Although its been a few years since she has turned out someone’s lights, it certainly has not been that long since she has been in a dog fight. She holds notable wins over (to name a few) Miesha Tate, Shauna Baszler, Alexis Davis, and a wild KO slam over Roxanne Modaferri. Her battle recently with Jessica Eye is a classic example of that nonstop energy Sarah brings. Kaufman swings for the fences, and each looping punch carries the energy of fans with it. There are so few like her, and the 10 KO wins put her in a class to herself inside the cage. She is exciting, experienced, and with a little more tweaking, could no doubt push the best at 135 to the limit.
Photo: Zuffa, LLC
*TUF 20 fighters reviewed, but not applied. Division has yet to be properly installed, and regardless, few topped these fighters.