While martial arts typically has been male dominated, there are many women competing professionally today that put the same effort and dedication into the sport as the guys. There are still purists who believe the sport is solely for men, but since Gina Carano’s bout against Elaina Maxwell in 2006, women have continued to compete and are here to stay.

While several organizations promote women’s fighting, Strikeforce arguably has been the top promoter of mainstream women’s MMA. The Carano-Santos bout in 2009 drew in nearly a million viewers, so the women can definitely attract some attention from MMA fans.

Carano is certainly one of the top figures in women’s MMA with an impressive record on 7 wins and 1 loss. She also has a solid kickboxing record, winning 12 of 14 bouts. Her only loss was against Cristiane Santos in 2009 and she has not fought since that bout.

Cristiane Santos, a former Strikeforce featherweight champ, has an impressive record all her own with 10 wins and just one loss. Her last bout, which was against Hiroko Yamananka in 2011, was technically a win but was overturned after she failed a test for anabolic steroids. While she did appeal her suspension, Santos won’t be able to fight again until December of 2012. After that, she no doubt intends to come back into the arena with a vengeance.

While Ronda Rousey might not have the strong record of other top MMA women, she is definitely one of the sport’s most entertaining competitors, both in and out of the arena. In addition to an undefeated record of five wins, she is the currently women’s bantamweight champ after defeating Miesha Tate. She is also a two-time Olympian, competing in Judo and both the 2004 and 2008 games.

While Miesha Tate might have lost her title to Rousey, she still boasts a strong 12-3 pro record and is consistently on top ten lists when considering women fighters. A former champion high school wrestler, she also has an impressive MMA amateur career, winning five of her six bouts before turning pro.

Despite her lack of Strikeforce experience, Tara LaRosa is considered to be one of the best female mixed martial artists ever. Her 21-2 record is impressive, but because she weighs in at only around 125, there are no weight classes for her in Strikeforce. Despite this she has defeated tough opponents such as Megumi Yabushita and Shayna Baszler.

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