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SB Nation women's rankings: Ronda Rousey, Cris Cyborg take top spots

Esther Lin

You would be excused if, back in April, you weren't 100 percent sold on the idea that Cris Cyborg had come all the way back from where she was before sitting out all of 2012. No personal offense to Australia's Fiona Muxlow, who accepted a short-notice replacement bout against Cyborg and flew halfway around the world to fight her on April 5, but she doesn't make for the most accurate barometer of Cyborg's skills.

After Cyborg mauled respected veteran Marloes Coenen to claim the inaugural Invicta featherweight title on July 14, though, there's little question left that Cyborg and Ronda Rousey are the two top women's fighters in mixed martial arts, which was where we left off when the two were sniping at each other back in Strikeforce.

Rousey, the undefeated UFC bantamweight champion, maintained her unanimous hold on the top spot in the SB Nation pound-for-pound women's poll. Cyborg solidified her No. 2 spot by claiming all six second-place ballots.

It's a fight we won't see any time soon, of course. The fighters compete in different promotions. Rousey, as an A-list pay-per-view draw, has all the leverage on dictating terms of such a fight. She's made it clear that even if they both fought in the same promotion, Cyborg would have to come down and meet her at bantamweight if she wished to fight.

So until those hurdles are cleared, Rousey vs. Cyborg is another one to add to the list of superfights on the back burner.

As for the remainder of this month's poll, all 10 fighters who comprised the last poll also remain in the rankings this time. But there were some changes underneath Cat Zingano, who held on to her No. 3 spot. Among them, Jessica Aguilar and Sarah Kaufman flipped the Nos. 4 and 5 spots, even though neither competed in the interim; Jessica Eye moved up a spot after defeating Carina Damm; and Coenen dropped from seven to 10 after the loss to Cyborg.

(Scoring: Fighters are given 10 points for a first-place vote, nine points for a second, etc., down to one point for 10th place. The results are then tallied up and presented here. Official SB Nation rankings policy: Fighters under commission suspension are ineligible to be ranked during the duration of their suspension or if they have licensing issues).


1. Ronda Rousey (7-0, 60 points): With a rematch against a fighter she's already beaten in Miesha Tate and a spot on what promises to be one of the biggest events in UFC history, things are looking pretty rosy for WMMA's standard-bearer.

2. Cris Cyborg (12-1, 1 NC, 54 points): An impressive win for the undisputed best women's featherweight fighter. But who's left to challenge her at 145 pounds?

3. Cat Zingano (8-0, 43 points): Barring a major upset by Tate at UFC 168, Zingano seems in good position to keep the title shot she lost through injury, unless she chooses to take a fight to stay busy in the interim.

4. Jessica Aguilar (15-4, 36 points): No next fight on tap as of this writing for the American Top Team fighter, who most consider the world's best strawweight.

5. Sarah Kaufman (16-2, 30 points): The former Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion dives right into the deep end when she meets undefeated Sara McMann in her UFC debut on the Aug. 28 Fight Night card.

6. Miesha Tate (13-4, 25 points): Tate's dropped two of her past three fights -- and had to rally to beat Julie Kedzie in her sole win during that time -- but she has the opportunity to erase a rough couple years when she meets Rousey.

7. Megumi Fujii (26-2, 20 points): The pioneering Japanese fighter has announced that her bout on the Oct. 5 Vale Tudo Japan event will be her last. An opponent has yet to be named.

8. Jessica Eye (10-1, 18 points): The up-and-coming flyweight kept busy between Bellator bouts by defeating veteran Carina Damm on an independent event in Cleveland.

9. Alexis Davis (14-5, 15 points): It's hard to figure why Davis would drop in the standings after winning a unanimous decision over tough veteran Rosi Sexton in her UFC debut, but there you have it.

10. Marloes Coenen (21-6, 10 points): Coenen's only losses over the past 4 1/2 years are twice to Cyborg and once to Tate.

Others receiving votes: Sara McMann 8, Barb Honchak 7, Carla Esparza 3, Zoila Frausto Gurgel 1.

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