Who is the BMF in women’s MMA?

As far as contrived title belts go, the “Baddest Motherfucker” belt unveiled for UFC 244 is definitely better than say, the 24/7 Title introduced by World Wrestling Entertainment earlier this year. Speaking of WWE, the UFC also deserves credit for getting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson to appear at UFC 244 to award the BMF belt to Jorge Masvidal after he won a doctor’s stoppage against Nate Diaz in the main event.

The specter of a BMF belt for Masvidal and Diaz to fight over does pose an interesting question: Who should be considered the “Baddest Motherfucker” in women’s MMA?

Before I go any further, I must admit I did not think of this hypothetical by myself. The Twitter user @Juice_MMA deserves all the credit for originally posing this question:

Any discussion of who is the BMF in women’s MMA cannot be had without and would obviously start with fighters such as UFC bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and former UFC strawweight champions Joanna Jedrzejczyk and Jessica Andrade. Each of their resumes speaks for itself and are rooted in each fighter’s dominance during their respective careers, especially with Nunes’ first-round knockout of Cyborg last year to win the UFC featherweight title, Jedrzejczyk’s multiple title defenses as champion and the striking and skillset of both Jedrzejczyk and Andrade.

But who are some dark horse candidates who should be considered for a theoretical women’s MMA bout with a BMF title on the line? I think the following fighters would each be considered a worthy contender:

1. Rose Namajunas: You also can’t have a discussion about the BMF in women’s MMA without “Thug” Rose. Besides her nickname, the former UFC strawweight champion is also the only fighter to defeat Jedrzejczyk at strawweight and did so twice. Namajunas bloodied Paige VanZant when two met in 2015, so she is not afraid to get into a scrap and can adapt to most fighting styles.

2. Angela Hill: The argument in favor of Hill competing for a BMF title mainly lies in her willingness to fight anyone, anywhere and at any time. Hill has competed four times in 2019 alone, and is campaigning for a fifth fight this year near her hometown when the UFC comes to Washington, D.C. next month. Hill is also more than willing to get into a slugfest and is always seeking a finish.

3. Leslie Smith: Smith might already be the toughest fighter in women’s MMA. When few women were willing to fight Cyborg in her UFC debut in 2016, in Brazil no less, Smith gladly stepped up to the plate. She also lost a piece of her ear in a 2014 bout against Jessica Eye, which resulted in a doctor’s stoppage. Although no set of criteria exists for a BMF belt in either men’s or women’s MMA, losing a piece of your ear during a fight and still wanting to continue would be at the very top of that list. Smith is also tough outside the cage, and she continues to advocate for unionization and better compensation for fighters through her work with Project Spearhead.

4. Xiong Jingnan: Jingnan might be one of the hardest hitters in all MMA who no one talks about. The ONE Championship strawweight champion has only lost once in her nearly 6-year career and has won four of her six ONE bouts by knockout or TKO.

Jingnan also handed ONE atomweight champion Angela Lee her first career loss earlier this year with devastating body punches in the fifth round. Jingnan might have become a double champion last month in a rematch with Lee for her atomweight title, but Lee locked in a late rear-naked choke to retain her belt.

There could be arguments made for other female fighters to be considered as the “Baddest Motherfucker,” including Michelle Waterson, UFC flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko and Professional Fighters League lightweight finalist Kayla Harrison. Another interesting question to ponder is who would be present to award a BMF belt to the winner of a fight between two female contenders.

If the UFC could get Dwayne Johnson to appear at UFC 244, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that it could get an athlete the caliber of Serena Williams or Megan Rapinoe to appear for a women’s BMF title fight. In keeping with the loose connection between MMA and pro wrestling, perhaps UFC President Dana White could ask WWE to have one of its women’s champions, Becky Lynch, appear at a future fight card.

However, knowing Lynch, she would not be on hand to award the BMF belt to the victor, but instead to challenge her to a bout for it. After all, Lynch already holds a victory over the most well-known women’s mixed martial artist in history – Ronda Rousey.

Photo Credit: Peter Casey/USA Today Sports

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Chris Huntemann
Chris Huntemann writes about mixed martial arts in the state of Maryland. He also opines on all things UFC, Bellator, World Series of Fighting and any other MMA topics he cares to bloviate about. You should check out his blog, or his Twitter. Or both. When he's not watching MMA, he's an avid fan of other sports, such as football, baseball and college basketball. He may or may not do other, non-sports-related things as well.

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