To stick around in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), you need to be one of the world’s best athletes. With the addition of a women’s division in 2013, the women of UFC have begun grabbing headlines as some of the most physically impressive people in the world.
Amber Nichole Miller
While she has not been an Octagon Girl for some time, Amber Nichole Miller stays connected to the sport through her Hall of Fame boyfriend. She and Tito Ortiz have dated since they both worked for the company.
UFC’s fighters are not the only ladies grabbing headlines for the sport. The UFC ring girls have also become quite popular with the fans. Blonde bombshell Chrissy Blair is one of UFC’s most popular ring girls. She appears at most main events alongside the other ring girls. Before working for UFC, she worked as a ring girl for Strikeforce. As a model, she recently worked on a GUESS campaign. Can’t get enough of her on fight night? Chrissy updates her Instagram frequently.
Ronda Rousey has been the biggest name in women’s fighting since she captured an Olympic bronze at the 2008 Summer Games in judo. She became a professional mixed martial arts fighter in 2011 and won her first 12 straight fights, including six defenses of her UFC Bantamweight title belt. Rousey shockingly lost to Holly Holm in 2015 but has since become a personality beyond UFC. Rousey appeared in action movie supporting roles in both The Expendables 3 and Furious 7. She also appeared as her self in Entourage.
Fans of UFC are sure to know Brittney Palmer by name. She has been one of the most popular UFC Octagon Girls for some time. Being ringside is not just a job for Palmer, she is a huge UFC fan and trains in mixed martial arts on the side. She took some time away from UFC but came back better than ever. In addition to UFC, Palmer is quite the talented artist. She left UFC to go to art school, and you can find her work online.
Ringside at a UFC fight has almost as much entertainment as the Octagon itself thanks to Octagon Girls like Vanessa Hanson. Hanson’s career with UFC started after she won a contest to work as a guest Octagon Girl. UFC brass immediately realized they had a good thing on their hands and decided to sign her to a full-time deal. When she is not working with UFC, Vanessa maintains a busy modeling schedule but still finds time to post on Instagram.
In 2009, Logan Stanton was one of UFC’s most popular ring girls. However, after one year with the company, her contract was not renewed. Rumors swirled that UFC brass was upset over an interview she gave. In the interview, she implied that fighter Josh Koscheck faked an eye injury during a fight. Not long after, she was informed that her contract would not be renewed. It came as a shock as she had just worked on promotions for an upcoming video game.
Without Gina Carano, there would be no Ronda Rousey. Before Rousey became a household name, Carano was the name in women’s MMA. After being featured in ESPN the Magazine and the Maxim Hot 100 list, Carano’s profile exploded. She retired from fighting in 2009 so she could focus on her acting career. Carano appeared as Crush in the reboot of American Gladiators. She has also appeared in feature films such as Fast and Furious 6, Heist, Deadpool, and spy thriller Haywire.
At 23, Paige VanZant is one of the youngest fighters on the female circuit, but that does not mean she is a pushover. VanZant was supposed to compete on The Ultimate Fighter but was dropped from the show when they discovered that she was only 20 at the time. In addition to her seven and three record in professional mixed martial arts, VanZant has been a contestant on two American reality shows: cooking show Chopped, and hit show Dancing With The Stars.
UFC fans were disappointed after the dismissal of Edith Labelle as an Octagon Girl. Labelle strutted her long legs around the Octagon for two years before she was dismissed. Prior to UFC 100, Edith became sick following a pre-event party. She called in sick for the event but was sent home permanently a few days later. While Edith claims that she came down with food poisoning, UFC management did not agree. They thought that she was hungover from partying too hard.
Born in Brazil, Camila Oliveira joined UFC as an Octagon Girl in 2013 and has been with them ever since. A model since age sixteen, Oliveira joined UFC at quite a shocking time. She watched Anderson Silva get knocked out by Chris Weidman. Oliveria became quite emotional when she saw her countryman Silva lose the fight and she broke down into tears. In addition to modeling and appearing in television commercials, Oliveira enjoys participating in UFC’s social action programs.
Gadelha was initially announced as part of the first group of women to sign with UFC for The Ultimate Fighter season 20. In the end, she did not compete on the show and signed a direct contract with UFC. She had been fighting in Invicta before that. Claudia Gadelha comes from Brazil’s long line of successful mixed martial arts fighters. As her mother did not support fighting, Claudia had to find training gyms secretly. She is the second-ranked female Strawweight currently.
She might not be the biggest name in the business yet, but Aleksandra is a butt-kicking beauty from Moldova. Nicknamed Stitch (from the Disney film Lilo and Stitch), Albu has not lost in her brief professional career. She took a two-year hiatus from the sport between 2015 and 2017 but came back stronger than ever to defeat Kailin Curran. Albu decided to take up mixed martial arts training while working as a club bouncer to help pay for college at the Academy of Intellectual Property.
Rachelle Leah first grabbed the attention of UFC as a boxing model. She had appeared on shows such as The View, and Last Call with Carson Daly and they wanted her to join the team as an Octagon Girl. Although she had to forgo her dream of becoming a paramedic, Leah found a home for herself with UFC. Her reign as an Octagon Girl helped raise her profile, leading to massive expositions in Maxim and Playboy. She retired from the Octagon but stays connected to UFC.
As part of Team Tate in The Ultimate Fighter 18, Julianna Pena showed that she deserved to be a part of the premier mixed martial arts company in the business. In the show’s finale, she won on a technical knockout against Jessica Rakoczy and prepared to take on the rest of UFC. Instead, a training injury to her ACL, LCL, MCL, and meniscus caused her to miss the entire 2014 season. She returned in 2015, but got caught up in a bar altercation and was charged with assault.
As UFC expands its influence across the world, it was important that its talent also represented that global reach. When Carly Baker joined UFC, she became not only the first British Octagon Girl but the first European Octagon Girl. The blonde beauty is not shy in front of the camera. She has been modeling since she was 14 and has appeared on Nickelodeon and MTV. She also has a career as a singer with a girl pop duo called Mynxters.
Coming from Poland, Joanna Jedrzejczyk discovered Muay Thai and kickboxing as a youngster and translated her skills into mixed martial arts. By the time she signed with UFC in 2014, she had become the perfect embodiment of her nickname: Joanna Violence. She has a perfect record in professional MMA, including eight UFC victories. She is the current Women’s Strawweight champion, and has successfully defended her belt five times. Joanna is the longest reigning champion in any weight class.
Unlike the rest of the ladies on this list, you will not find Megan Olivi grappling in the ring or displaying which round was about to begin. Olivi is best known for her backstage interviews with the fighters post-bout. After completing a master’s degree in Public Communications and Mass Media Studies from Fordham University, Olivi took a job covering mixed martial arts. She began hosting the pre-fight show Fight Day and has since been a mainstay on fight night.
Not many women in UFC can strike like Jessica Eye. She might throw out a body kick here and there, but Jessica sticks mostly to hitting with her powerful fists. As a fighter with NAAFS and Bellator, Eye compiled a record of 10 wins and one loss. Since signing with UFC, Eye has not had the success she had hoped for. She moved up to Bantamweight but has won only one of her seven fights in the premier fighting company.
Instead of indulging into the local cheeses of her native Wisconsin, Rose Namajunas focused her youthful energy into kickboxing and mixed martial arts. She began training with kickboxing trainer Duke Rufus at age 16, setting her up for a future career in the sport. Namajunas opened up her professional fighting career with a victory over Emily Kagan on Invicta FC 4 in 2013. Her Invicta fights were enough to convince UFC to sign her for The Ultimate Fighter. She beat Joanna Jedrzejczyk for the Strawweight title in 2017.
Joanna Calderwood lucked into her career as a mixed martial artist. Her mother wanted her to tag along to a class with her brother so that he would not be lonely. Joanna fell in love with fighting and begged her mom to let her ditch swimming lessons for fighting lessons. Calderwood is the first Scottish female professional mixed martial artist. She debuted with UFC as a part of The Ultimate Fighter season 20 and is still looking for her first title shot.
At a quick glance, you might think that Michelle Waterson is one of the Octagon girls. You probably would not want to make that mistake to her face, however. Back when she was a model, Waterson adopted the nickname “Karate Hottie.” As she made the transition into professional, Waterson began kicking butt. She compiled a 14-5 record as a professional mixed martial artist and has held the Atomweight title with Invicta FC before signing with UFC.
Cat Zingano’s nickname says it all. When “Alpha” is in the ring, there is no question who is the most dominant. You do not want to mess with this Winona, Minnesota native as she wields a combination of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and Muay Thai. In 2013, she became the first female UFC fighter to win a match via technical knockout. Impressively, she did so against stud Miesha Tate. She stayed undefeated through nine fights, losing to Ronda Rousey in 2015.
While it might seem that few brains are necessary to work as a UFC Octagon Girl, Luciana Andrade brings an unprecedented mind ringside. Before she joined UFC, Luciana graduated from a Brazilian law school and worked in the legal field for nine years. Luciana lives by the motto “healthy body, healthy mind” and works hard to keep herself fit through a combination of diet and exercise. The Brazilian beauty will be seen in the Octagon for years to come.
Before she joined UFC as part of the inaugural women’s tournament on The Ultimate Fighter, Herrig was an established mixed martial arts fighter. “The Lil’ Bulldog” uses her background in kickboxing to help her take down opponents with powerful kicks and leg takedowns. She starred with the XFC and Invicta Fighting Championships before making her debut with UFC. In four UFC fights, Herrig won all but one and has a career record of 13 wins and six losses.
While she has been fighting professionally since the early 2000s, Holly Holm will always be remembered for the night she stopped the unbeatable Ronda Rousey. Rousey was undefeated and had held the Bantamweight belt for three years before Holm knocked her out in the second round. The glory did not last long as she lost her next fight and the belt to Miesha Tate. She has a career record of 33 wins, two losses, and three draws since making her debut in 2002.
Life as an accountant was just not fulfilling enough for Bethe Correia. She eventually realized that office life was not for her and that fighting had been missing from her life. Correia studied and trained hard in jiu-jitsu, Sanda, and wrestling before making her professional debut in her native Brazil in 2012. After winning her first six fights, she signed with UFC. Eventually, she earned a title shot at Ronda Rousey, but was knocked out 34 seconds into the fight.
Randa Markos and her family have been fighting their whole lives. Markos was born in Baghdad before moving to Canada when she was young. Her parents were held at gunpoint and thrown in jail for trying to escape Iraq during the Gulf War. She now uses her past as motivation for her success as a fighter. “Quiet Storm” uses her long reach and strong legs to defeat her opponents with a combination of wrestling and jiu-jitsu.
The mixed martial arts world lost one of its best female fighters when Miesha Tate retired in 2016. While she could not end her career as the champion, Tate did have the honor of holding the belt for a few months. She took it from Holly Holm before losing it to Amanda Nunes by submission four months later. Her next fight would be her last at Madison Square Garden. UFC chief Dana White credits her fight with Ronda Rousey for bringing women to UFC.
One of the game’s most fierce and impressive fighters is also one of its most controversial. Cris Cyborg has won 18 straight matches since losing her first career fight. Since then, she has torn through EliteXC, Strikeforce, Invicta, and now UFC. She currently holds the UFC Women’s Featherweight title belt. After a 2011 TKO was changed to no contest following a positive test for an anabolic steroid, Cyborg has tirelessly fought cheating accusations. Germaine de Randamie refused to fight a known cheater and had her title taken away.
A former Playboy cover girl, Arianny Celeste is the face of the UFC Octagon Girls. Since showing up for a casting call in 2006, Celeste has taken home UFC Ring Girl of the Year awards five times. She has been so successful in her career as a ring girl that she has made over a million dollars in earnings, mostly from promotions since Ring Girls take home about $23,000 a year. Celeste keeps herself quite busy with modeling gigs around the world.