It should come as no surprise that Ronda Rousey, now holder of the only Women’s MMA championship that really matters, is our Women’s 2012 Fighter of the Year. With two first round finishes against the best competition available, you could not have given the award to anyone else.
The first runner-up is Ayaka Hamasaki who went 3-0 on the year against quality ranked opposition, including a dominant win over Yuka Tsuji, one of the best women’s fighters in history. Hamasaki is undoubtedly the best women’s fighter in Asia and with a record of 9-0, she’s beaten the best over there (sans Fujii) in her division. With the 115lb division relatively unestablished in the USA, let’s hope it picks up and she fights Aguilar before exiting her prime.
In third place is Jessica Penne who put the Atomweight division on the map by beating the consensus #1 and our 2011 Women’s Fighter of the Year, the previously undefeated Naho Sugiyama.
The honorable mention goes to Jessica Aguilar. Her questionable win over the aged Megumi Fujii to propel her to the top of the division did not go unnoticed, but aside from that, her year was relatively quiet.