Many MMA fans everywhere were surprised when news broke last night that undefeated UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey would be defending her title against No. 2-ranked Alexis Davis at UFC 175 on July 5.
After all, Rousey had been linked to blockbuster bouts with former Strikeforce featherweight champ Gina Carano and the woman who sent “Conviction” packing from the sport, Invicta FC featherweight champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.
But with both fighters most likely needing a decent amount of time to potentially make the division’s 135-pound weight limit, the UFC decided it was time to move on and keep their star champion fighting.
Enter Davis, who is the only woman other than Rousey to win three Octagon bouts. Former title challenger and Rousey archrival Miesha Tate, who is set to face Liz Carmouche at next Saturday’s UFC on FOX 11, weighed in on the dangerous Davis, telling FOX Sports that she prefers to let her skills do her talking:
"She's just kind of a quiet girl and falls away into the shadows. A lot of people don’t notice her, because she doesn’t have an ounce of drama. But she's beating everybody. She's established herself as a top contender."
“Cupcake” is most likely glad that Carano didn’t get the title fight, because after nearly five years off from MMA, it’s highly debatable that she would be able to give Rousey a serious run for the belt. Tate gave her take on Carano’s return to an immediate title shot, noting that it’s not fair but she would be willing to welcome her to the UFC:
"No, absolutely not. There's no way. I think there's no way that would be fair or right. I don’t think anybody in their right mind would say that would be fair.
I would love the opportunity to fight Gina. If she's gonna make a comeback, I think anybody that wants to get to Ronda, I think that they should have to go through me or Liz [Carmouche] or somebody that's proven themselves as giving Ronda a pretty tough go."
A Tate vs. Carano match-up would be an excellent gauge to see just where “Conviction” truly is in her mixed martial arts game after focusing largely on movies in recent years. However, “Cupcake” knows that if she were to defeat Carano, the potential blockbuster bout with Rousey would lose most of its luster. And at the end of the day, Tate knows this is a business, and the big money fights will be booked regardless of if they are actually fair or not:
"Sometimes you gotta give and take -- give the fans what they want. No it's not fair, but it's entertaining and a lot of people would be interested in that.”
There’s not much doubt that people would be interested in a Rousey vs. Carano showdown; they already are. But with “Rowdy” already having a full plate with three movies of her own and now a title fight against Davis, a pending contest versus Carano will most likely have to wait until the end of the year or next year, if it ever happens.
It sounds like Tate has a clear perspective of her division, but she’s still miles away from any true title contention after two submission losses to Rousey. Would you like to see her welcome Carano to the Octagon?
Photo: Gary A. Vasquez for USA TODAY Sports