Violent yet mesmerizing and entertaining at its highest level, Muay Thai has attracted a huge following worldwide and inspired many men and women to take it up either for self-defense or sport. The casual sports observer need not look any further than the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk to see that there are many female Nak Muays who’ve proven to be capable fighters not just in the ring but in the octagon, too.
These female Muay Thai fighters have fought their way to the top, carving a path through dozens of brave but bloodied opponents.
- Loma Lookboonmee
Loma Lookboonmee is living proof that you don’t need to look very far to find the best female Muay Thai fighters, regardless of how far the sport goes. The 25-year-old Nak Muay won the top prize at the 2015 Thailand Games and took home the Gold Medal in the 2017 IFMA Muay Thai tournament, having come up just shy the year before.
Lookboonmee is actually the latest in her family’s lengthy line of great Muay Thai fighters, all of whom were featured in an article on VICE. Her fight IQ has been described by fellow competitor Sylvie von Duuglas-Ittu as second-to-none, and she dominates other fighters in the clinch by throwing them around as if they were ragdolls.
- Joanna Jedrzejczyk
Many fight fans affectionately call this 29-year-old Polish mixed martial artist “Joanna Violence,” and it’s not just because her surname might twist some tongues.
Jedrzejczyk defended her UFC belt last May with dozens of effective combinations and devastating leg kicks that kept challenger Jessica Andrade off balance all night. Though Jedrzejczyk has had only a handful of traditional Muay Thai fights, she has annihilated countless challengers in the strawweight division with her elusive footwork and precise, calculated striking — both of which are trademarks of Muay Thai at its highest level.
- Miriam Nakamoto
Miriam Nakamoto has parlayed a turbulent upbringing into a successful fight career. She is an eight-time Muay Thai world champion with an unblemished record of 16-0. [Related: The Queen of Mean]
The Hawaii-born female Muay Thai fighter has very few weaknesses in her game, having cut many of her opponents down to size with a tremendous array of knee attacks from the clinch. Nakamoto has since taken her talents to the octagon, winning two fights in 2013 by way of knockout.
- Valentina Shevchenko
Shevchenko has won 58 of her 61 Muay Thai fights, 21 of them via technical knockout. This female Nak Muay delivers quick and powerful roundhouse kicks anywhere she wants, and she’s difficult to stop once she gets up close and personal.
Adaptability is one of the Kyrgyzstani-Peruvian Shevchenko’s strongest suits, given that she has become proficient in many different martial arts at the young age of 28. Shevchenko hasn’t missed a beat since entering the UFC, having bested top competitors such as Holly Holm and current champion Amanda Nunes en route to a pristine 14-2 mixed martial arts record. She will square off against Nunes for the bantamweight championship at UFC 213.
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