Features: WMMA History

Some may believe that women's MMA never existed before Gina Gladiator-ed her way into our living rooms, but there were actually female fighters and promotions all the way back in the mid-90s. So while Zack Morris was carrying around a cell phone that looked like a brick, plenty of ladies were already punching each other in the face with 4oz gloves.

1995 - 2000

Started: 1995 Russia

Svetlana Goundarenko

Svetlana is most well-known for her sheer size. She's a Russian fighter that stood at 6'3 and was over 300 pounds at time of fighting. Her background is in Judo. She competed in Japanese promotions and often submitted her opponents with neck cranks and chokes. (Last competed in 2001)

Started: 1996 Japan

Yoko Takahashi

Yoko is a boxer and professional wrestler turned MMA fighter. She is a former Smackgirl open weight champion and is considered Japan's first female mixed martial artist. You can still see her competing today in Japan and the United States.

Started: 1997 Japan

Megumi Yabushita

Megumi is the Japanese female pro-wrestler you always wanted to be. She is a Japanese national Judo champion and a former Smackgirl open weight champion. She's fought fighters that weighed from 115lb to over 200lb. You can still see her competing today in Japan and the United States.

Started: 1998 USA

Jenn Howe

Jenn is a fighter that dominated the U.S. women's fight scene in early 2000's. She has a 13-2 record with her most notable win being her TKO of Tara LaRosa in 2003. She was undefeated for six years until losing twice to Roxanne Modafferi. (Last competed in 2005)

Started: 1999 USA

Erin Toughill

Erin first gained recognition by competing on Japanese promotions in the early 2000's. Standing at 5'10, she most recently dipped down into the 145lb division but before that fought at higher weights. She also had a 6-year professional boxing career. (Last competed in 2009)

Started: 2000 Netherlands

Marloes Coenen

Marloes competed in the early 2000's in a number of Japanese promotions and tournaments. With her 19-5 record, she is an international standout in both the 135lb and 145lb divisions. She is a proud member of the famed Dutch Golden Glory team. She is a former Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Title Belt holder.

2001 - 2005

PIONEERING PROMOTIONS