Dominant UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey picked up the second-fastest title fight victory in Octagon history in the co-main event of UFC 175 last Saturday night (July 5, 2014) when she destroyed Alexis Davis with a furious 16-second rush.
The win was impressive to say the least, but it left doubts in the minds of many as to whether or not the still-blossoming UFC women’s bantamweight division had the talent to sustain a runaway freight train of a champion lie Rousey.
The division will get a bit of a break as Rousey takes time off to heal from a popped cyst on her right hand and arthroscopic surgery on a nagging knee issue. She also has four movies to promote, so it’s unknown when “Rowdy” will return to the cage.
When she does, she may be involved in a bout with long-injured No. 1 contender Cat Zingano, but there’s really only one fight in which Rousey would have even a chance to be threatened. That’s against Invicta FC 145-pound champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino. Justino has famously teased a cut down to 135 pounds to face Rousey.
According to Rousey’s striking coach Edmond Tarverdyan, who appeared on The MMA Hour today, his pupil would knock “Cyborg” out with one hand:
"Absolutely, I like that fight. Ronda knows, I spoke to Ronda. I said, 'You knock out Cyborg any given day.' Ronda knocks out Cyborg. I believe even with one hand she fights Cyborg, she beats her.
But that's an exciting fight. That's what I believe, but that's a great fight, yes. Cyborg is a swinger, she's tough. She'll let her hands go and then she'll get into a fight with Ronda and that's an exciting fight. But what I believe with my fighter is my fighter is the best in the world. I would love to see that fight."
Some strong words from the laser-focused Tarverdyan, but they’re hard to argue with until someone puts Rousey in some degree of measured dangers in an MMA bout. At the end of the day, the boxing coach has such a belief in Rousey that if she was given enough time to recover from her current injuries, he said they’d take on “Cyborg” in their next one or two fights:
"If they can make it happen. Let her come off that which she's doing and make it fair and square, come down, they know where Ronda is. I would love that fight. I think the fans want to see that fight. I think MMA fans in the world really want to see an insane striker go up against, I would say a polished, precise common striker. So let's do it. I would love that fight."
"Ronda is in the best shape of her life. Ronda's in her prime. We could take that fight next fight. We just gotta talk to the UFC and Dana and see what's on the table and we'll figure it out. Right now I can't tell if it should be the next fight or the fight after that, but she's ready to go."
There’s no doubt that MMA fans everywhere want to see that fight go down, and given the current state of Rousey as a top-level draw, it could definitely flirt with some pay-per-view (PPV) records on a year-end type of card.
However, “Cyborg” is going to be a beast to deal with if she can make 135 pounds without damaging her health, so Rousey is probably going to want both of her hands no matter how dangerous she is right now.