#15 Ronda Rousey (2011 to 2016)
It is easy to forget now given the ignominious end to her MMA career and her current status as a WWE superstar, but the WWE Hall of Famer was a true pioneer of women's MMA, bringing female MMA stars into the mainstream.
In Judo, Rousey won Olympic and World medals before making the jump to MMA and rising to prominence in the Strikeforce promotion before becoming the first ever female fighter to be signed to a contract by UFC.
The first ever women’s match under the UFC banner took place on the 23rd February 2013, at UFC 157, in which Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche by submission in a back and forth encounter which was the perfect showcase for the fledgeling division.
Rousey proved her worth still further when she defeated her long-time rival Miesha Tate at UFC 168. She survived numerous submission attempts by Tate before submitting her with an armbar in the third round.
From there, Rousey decimated her competition in increasingly impressive fashion, crushing Sara McMahon in 66 seconds at UFC 170, Alexis Davis in 16 seconds at UFC 175, Cat Zingano in 14 seconds at UFC 184 and Bethe Correira in 34 seconds at UFC 190.
Rousey was regarded as unbeatable and after twelve straight MMA victories, it certainly appeared that way. However, her gaps in her striking games were badly exposed by former pro-Boxer, Holly Holm at UFC 193 and Rousey's aura, undefeated streak and Bantamweight title all disappeared overnight.
All good things must come to an end and Rousey was shockingly defeated by former boxer, Holly Holm by knockout. Holm had an answer for Rousey’s offense and displayed superior striking skills. Rousey was distraught by her loss and took a year away from the sport.
As the first figurehead in women's MMA, Rousey transcended the sport. Her Olympic credentials, good looks, marketability and massive drawing power led to her becoming the biggest star in the sport at her peak.
What Rousey achieved in the sport cannot be understated and he entry into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018 was much deserved.Published 17 Feb 2019, 22:35 IST