In 2023, the UFC celebrates its 30th anniversary. Each year, the Octagon is home to incredible displays of athleticism, skill, and heart from athletes of all backgrounds.
We decided to take wide-lens look at the UFC roster and make two lists, the Top 30 male fighters and the Top 30 female fighters, to showcase some of the amazing talent found in the UFC. Using the pound-for-pound rankings as a starting point, we added some names to the list in order to get a well-rounded list.
So which fighters made the cut?
You’re about to find out in this four-part series that kicks off with female fighters earning honorable mentions, and who could easily make their way into the Top 30.
If a few razor-close fights went in a different direction, Angela Hill would find herself in a completely different spot on this list. “Overkill” Hill sits at No. 14 in the strawweight rankings, but she’s competed with the division’s best time and time again. Hill brings it every time, putting on a show on each trip to the Octagon.
Hill has another chance to climb back into the Top 10 this weekend when she faces Mackenzie Dern in the main event of UFC Vegas 73.
From The Ultimate Fighter house to the rankings, it has been impressive to watch Pannie Kianzad evolve into a contender.
Kianzad has showcased everything you could want to see out of a fighter: grit and skill, with a true entertainment factor. Kianzad currently finds herself as the No. 7 bantamweight in the world and she’s looking to crack into the Top 5 on July 22 when she faces Ketlen Vieira in London.
One look at Yana Santos’ strength of schedule and you’ll realize why she earned a spot on this list. Nearly every one of Santos’ UFC fights since her debut have come against a ranked opponent.
Santos has had a difficult stretch with losses to former champion Holly Holm and future title challenger Irene Aldana, but that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t have what it takes to get right back into title contention.
Mayra Bueno Silva
If UFC fans have learned anything about Mayra Bueno Silva over her five-year UFC tenure is that she’s a finisher.
Bueno Silva has finished four of her five UFC victories, and she’s currently on a three-fight win streak. Impressive victories over Stephanie Egger and Lina Länsberg helped land her in the bantamweight Top 10 and secure her first UFC main event, which will take place on July 15 against former champion Holly Holm.
There have been plenty of ups and downs for former flyweight title challenger Jennifer Maia, but she’s in one of the best spots of her UFC career after back-to-back wins.
Maia looked brilliant against surging star Casey O’Neill, and she’s secured her spot in the Top 10 after fighting back in the rankings twice in a row.
“The Future” came in with plenty of hype behind her, but what Maycee Barber has been able to do after the adversity that came with a serious knee injury in her first professional loss has been impressive.
Barber’s only defeat since came at the hands of flyweight champion Alexa Grasso. She’s defeated Miranda Maverick, Montana De La Rosa, Jessica Eye, and Andrea Lee since then and she’ll look to make it five in a row against Amanda Ribas at UFC Jacksonville on June 24.
Since making her debut on short notice up a weight class, Tabatha “Baby Shark” Ricci has been phenomenal.
Going 3-0 over worthy competition helped Ricci splash her way through the strawweight shark tank. Next up is veteran Gillian Robertson.
No woman in UFC women’s history has more submission wins than Gillian Robertson (7).
But at just 27 years of age, and with over six years of UFC experience, it feels like Robertson’s best in the Octagon is still yet to come. She will look to get into the strawweight rankings and extend her win streak to three at UFC Jacksonville versus Ricci.
Luana Pinheiro turned plenty of heads when she beat Michelle Waterson-Gomez earlier this year. Yes, it was a close fight, but it proved that Pinheiro can compete with the top fighters at strawweight.
With a record of 11-1 as a pro and momentum in hand, expect a fun fight for Pinheiro next as she continues to work her way up the rankings.
One loss isn’t going to slow Casey O’Neill down. “King” Casey didn’t pass her toughest test to date when she faced Jennifer Maia at UFC 286, but she didn’t fail it, either.
Look for the 25-year-old budding contender to build from the gained experience and be back better than ever.