The UFC women’s flyweight division has long been dominated by champion Valentina Shevchenko, the division’s second-ever champion. However, just last week, we saw Erin Blanchfield usher in a new era of women’s flyweights who could challenge Shevchenko for the belt. While women’s MMA lags slightly behind the male counterpart regarding sheer prospect volume, the new generation has displayed well-rounded skills that continue to elevate the legitimacy of the sport. Here are some of the best women’s flyweight prospects leading the charge!
Baby-faced Natália Silva has shown some scary versatility in the UFC octagon since entering the promotion in 2022. The Brazilian prospect racked up two wins in her first year with the promotion, improving her record to 14-5-1. The 26-year-old flirted with both flyweight and strawweight before committing herself to 125 following a decision loss to 115-title contender Marina Rodriguez. She’s gone undefeated since then, winning and defending the Flyweight title in Brazil’s biggest MMA promotion. She was widely considered a submission specialist coming into the UFC, collecting five armbars heading into her debut. However, she showed high-level improvement on the feet in her most recent fight, culminating in a spinning back-kick finish. Silva is one to watch in 2023 and could eventually develop the skills to challenge for a title one day.
Another Silva charging toward a UFC ranking, “Killer” Karine Silva, has long been one of the most fun women’s flyweights to watch. She entered the promotion through a submission win on Dana White’s Contender Series in 2021 and found a first-round submission win in her debut fight. Silva has always been a finisher, picking up stoppages in all the wins on her 15-4 record. Silva has a fight against Priscila Cachoeira in April that will boost her into rankings conversations. Cachoeira will debut at 125, but it’s Silva who commands the reach advantage and an overall edge in experience. If Silva can pass this test, her next fight should be against a ranked opponent. With her fan-friendly style, we could see her in the UFC for a while.
Leading the women’s MMA charge in Canada, Jasmine Jasudavicius found the fight game much later in life but quickly made up for lost time by making a name for herself in the UFC. Jasudavicius went pro in 2019 and made it into the UFC in 2021 with a solid decision win over Julia Polastri. She would hand Kay Hansen a defeat and then put up a competitive fight against Natália Silva in a battle of two UFC newcomers. This past weekend, she redeemed herself with a decision win against Gabriella Fernandes to cement her spot in the UFC women’s flyweight division. At 33 years old, Jasudavicius doesn’t have as much time in her career as some of the other fighters on this list, but she has continued to make up for it with activity and consistent improvement every time she steps into the cage. She typically prefers to take her opponents down and do her best work from there, but she’s rounding out her standup game with the help of Niagara Top Team. Stay vicious, Jasmine!
“Meatball” Molly was riding the best momentum of her entire MMA career until she hit the impenetrable wall that is Erin Blanchfield. McCann somehow accumulated two spinning elbow KOs in a row to set up a bout with Blanchfield, for whom the winner would earn a spot in the rankings. Unfortunately, Blanchfield exposed a massive deficiency in McCann’s game, giving all incoming opponents the blueprint to take her to the ground. Despite this setback, Meatball Molly has already created everlasting UFC memories that will live on in octagon lore. McCann must shore up her ground game if she wishes to continue her climb toward the rankings. Regardless, given her appeal to the fans, she will get plenty of opportunities to get back to greatness.
Another Blanchfield victim, JJ Aldrich, has long floated near the rankings at strawweight and flyweight. After making 125 her permanent home, she suffered an initial setback with a TKO loss to Maycee Barber in 2019. However, she put the pieces back together afterward, going 4-1 at the weight class and heading into a fight with Blanchfield. She tapped to a standing guillotine choke in the second round but continues to stay on the bubble of a rankings spot after Blanchfield’s stock skyrocketed. Aldrich can redeem herself against Ariane Lipski in March of 2023. At 30 years old, the former TUF contestant and Rose Namajunas training partner still has some time to make another run in the division.
Juliana “Killer” Miller may have the least pro fights out of any women’s prospect in the UFC, but there’s a reason she made it here. Miller beat Brogan Walker last August by third-round TKO to emerge as the TUF 30 winner. On her way to winning TUF, she displayed superior ground skills and even avenged the only loss in her professional career against Claire Guthrie. Miller has long been one of the best female grapplers in the country and has overcome heaps of adversity in her personal life to make it to the big show at 26 years old. Miller is still improving her striking skills, but at 3-1, the UFC knows not to push her too far too soon. She fights Veronica Hardy (Macedo) in March to potentially improve to 2-0. Miller will only continue gaining fans and skills as she keeps rising in the UFC.