UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has cut a distinct path through the sport of MMA since crossing over as the final Strikeforce ladies’ champion.
Her electric presence and unparalleled finishing skills prompted UFC President Dana White, who was previously adamant about never letting women fight in the Octagon, to create a UFC women’s division, and the rest is history.
Rousey will square off Alexis Davis in the co-main event of July 5’s UFC 175 from Las Vegas, but from the sound of her interview today, she only has one fight on her mind. Speaking to MMA Fighting, Rousey said she simply has to fight Gina Carano before her time is up:
"The first women's MMA fight I ever saw was Gina Carano vs. Julie Kedzie. Not only did I admire what [Carano] was doing, but also I was blown away by the reaction all the guys were giving them, and, I just remember sitting there and thinking, ‘I could totally beat both of these chicks.'
Whether she ever wants to fight again or not is entirely up to her. But, ever since that day when I had that first taste of women's MMA she's the fight I wanted."
After a nearly five-year hiatus making movies, former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Carano has been linked to a return fight with Rousey. But there are several roadblocks that stand in the way of making that blockbuster bout happen.
First, Carano has never even fought at close to 135 pounds in her career, so making it down to bantamweight would be a challenge in and of itself.
Second, even if she could make weight, “Conviction” is going to be fighting one of the steepest uphill battles the sport has ever seen. Coming back to face any Top 15-ranked UFC fighter would be a challenge, let alone a dominant titleholder hell-bent on staying that way.
On paper, Carano just doesn’t really have anything for Rousey. While a bout between the two would no doubt be a huge pay-per-view (PPV) draw bordering on perhaps one of the highest ever, it may just be another quick Rousey finish that leaves fans wondering what they shelled out their hard-earned money for (like her UFC 170 finish of Sara McMann).
And if it was, fans would most likely be clamoring that the women’s division simply isn’t talent-rich enough to sustain itself, That may be an unfortunate byproduct of Rousey’s dominance, but if and when she destroys Carano, who would be next for the bulldozing “Rowdy?”
Would it even matter? Probably not, because the UFC is looking for the big bucks, and with this mismatch, they’d no doubt get it.