Five Women’s UFC Stars To Watch In 2024 | Awakening Fighters

Five Women’s UFC Stars To Watch In 2024

by Rew MitchellPosted on
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2024 is upon us, so we have another great year of Ultimate Fighting Championship action ahead. The women's side gets kicked off at UFC 297 on January 20, where a bantamweight champion will be crowned. Raquel Pennington takes on Mayra Bueno Silva in that bout, the first pay-per-view event of the year. The belt has been vacant since Amanda Nunes retired last year. Along with Pennington and Silva, there are a variety of female fighters to keep an eye on this year. Let's look at five of them today.

Alexa Grasso

Alexa Grasso was the live betting darling of 2023 among women competitors in 2023, taking home the 2023 Female Fighter of the Year award. She also won 2023 Submission of the Year and Upset of the Year after her victory over Valentina Shevchenko, earning her the UFC Women's Flyweight Championship last March. The fight earned Grasso her first Performance of the Night bonus. Grasso recorded a split draw against Shevchenko in the rematch, retaining her title into the new year.

According to UFC, Grasso hasn't lost since September 2020 and is the top women's pound-for-pound fighter. The 30-year-old has been undefeated since moving into the flyweight division and entering the year as the ultimate fighter in the sport. She had surgery following her rematch with Shevchenko, so keep an eye on her recovery.

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Erin Blanchfield

A 24-year-old from New Jersey has lost just twice as a flyweight, Erin Blanchfield made her debut in 2018. She lost her fourth fight but hasn't lost since, winning nine straight since February 2019. As a flyweight, she may get an opportunity to take the belt from Grasso if UFC doesn't give Shevchenko another chance to earn the title back. Blanchfield won two fights last year, including a Performance of the Night submission over Jessica Andrade.
In 13 fights, she has four submission wins, including three of her previous four wins.

However, she has improved enough as a striker to hold her own against Grasso and has never been knocked out. Her only loss as a professional came from a split decision. She is elite on the canvas, and her "Cold Blooded" nickname shows her intensity in the ring. She is a potential future champion, and 2024 could be her first opportunity.

Yazmin Jauregui

At just 24 years old, Yazmin Jauregui joined Blanchfield on ESPN's top 25 fighters under 25 years old list. The strawweight fighter out of Baja California was undefeated through her first ten fights and looked poised to make a run at the title before a shocking technical knockout at the hands of Denis Gomes ended her undefeated streak at UFC 90. Despite the stunning defeat, Jauregui is among the top up-and-coming fighters in the sport, with a rare striking ability that has seen many of her fights end before the 2nd round.

She has seven wins by knockout or TKO in ten career fights, making her an intimidating presence in the ring. She has yet to take home her first title, but 2024 could present her with that opportunity in the strawweight division. The question is when Jauregui gets her first title shot, not if, and she is a fighter that nobody wants to fight.

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Valentina Shevchenko

The oldest competitor on our list, Shevchenko, is also the most accomplished. She has completed bantamweight and flyweight championships, successfully defending her flyweight belt seven times between 2019 and 2023 before Grasso finally defeated her. The split draw in their rematch was the first draw of Kyrgyzstan's 20-year career. Shevchenko is towards the end of her career but showed last year she is still a championship-level fighter.

She entered 2024 as the 3rd ranked pound-for-pound women's fighter and still tops the women's flyweight rankings despite not being the sitting champion. She is a decorated kickboxer and is known for her precise counterstrikes.

Julianna Pena

This fighter is up there with Shevchenko. Julianna Pena is 34 and at the end of her peak fighting days. However, she is among the most decorated bantamweights in the field, winning the bantamweight title in 2021. Following a loss to Nunes in 2022 that lost her the bantamweight belt, Pena didn't fight at all in 2023. However, that isn't uncommon for the American out of Spokane, Washington. In 14 years as a professional, Pena has just 16 fights to her name.

Pena may not get another chance to reclaim her bantamweight championship, but she is a competitor that can do severe damage on her best night. The two-time Performance of the Night bonus winner will look for another opportunity to fight in 2024 and is ranked #4 in the women's pound-for-pound rankings

Who Else Should We Look For In 2024?

Along with these five fighters, fans can expect fireworks from the likes of Zhang Weili, the #2 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the sport, and Manon Fiorot, a French karate master looking for her first-ever title at 33 years old. There are a lot of great fighters to watch in 2024, so fans will want to take advantage of all of the action.

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