Although the supposedly huge announcement surrounding UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s next fight hasn’t popped up yet, speculation awaits the polarizing “Rowdy” around each and every corner.
She’s been linked to a bout with returning Cat Zingano, but most of the focus has been on her potentially fighting three opponents who are not even currently in the UFC: former Strikeforce featherweight champions “Cyborg” Justino and Gina Carano, and 19-time women’s boxing champion Holly Holm.
The dominant champion was present at yesterday’s UFC 171 weigh-ins, and inevitably she was asked if she would be willing to give an immediate title shot to any of those three. MMA H.E.A.T. was on hand to get her response:
“Well, I still fell that Cat Zingano is next and I feel like she is the number one contender. I saw a statement from her management saying she’d be ready in June, so I don’t see why you didn’t add Cat to that list.”
Talk shifted to the prospect of facing Carano, who has been out of the sport since losing her belt to “Cyborg” via TKO back in 2009. Rousey said she would welcome a bout with “Conviction,” whom she considers a massive pioneer for the sport of women’s MMA:
“I would love that. I’ve always said that, you know. I never would have thought women’s MMA existed if I hadn’t seen her fight. I never knew there was such a thing until her. To fight her would be a real honor and I think it would be a real milestone for the sport.”
Rousey has famously stated she is not be willing to fight “Cyborg,” at 145 pounds, but apparently she’s willing to make concessions in order to face Carano, and would even grant her an immediate title shot after nearly five years off:
“I think, given for everything that she’s done for the sport and the pioneer that she is, I think she would deserve a title shot anytime. For Gina, there are exceptions that I would make for Gina that I wouldn’t for anyone else.”
There’s not much doubt that a Rousey vs. Carano match-up would be the biggest women’s MMA bout ever fought, but in reality, Rousey is a transcendent athlete at the top of her game. It’s very tough to imagine Carano giving the undefeated “Rowdy” a run for her money at this point.
But “Cyborg” certainly can, and she recently stated she would be cutting down to bantamweight to fight Rousey for the belt.
The UFC’s female division is suddenly rife with some potentially very exciting possibilities. Which bout do you want to see the most?