It appears we’ll find out our next UFC women’s bantamweight title challenger next month. On April 13th, Miesha Tate will step into the octagon against undefeated Cat Zingano to decide the fate of the second women’s UFC bout ever. Today UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta spoke to MMA Fighting about Rousey, who will be in attendance, and the high stakes of the fight:
"We're going to see who wins that fight, and more than likely, she’ll face the winner. So I think she’s got a lot of interest in seeing that outcome."
Both Tate and Zingano are excellent fighters in a women’s division still searching to define itself amidst a dominant champion in Rousey.
Miesha Tate, the woman whom Ronda Rousey won the belt from, only tapped to Rousey’s vicious submission when the ligaments were torn from her elbow. She was last seen winning a close bout with Julie Kedzie to finish out her Strikeforce career, and has stated that she was not ready to have with a rematch with Rousey quite yet. While she lost, Tate did show quite the warrior’s heart in defeat.
Zingano is a bit more unknown, but she does come in at an impressive 7-0 with 6 finishes. Her most high-profile bout took place last October under the Invicta banner, where she defeated Raquel Pennington by submission in the second. While being relatively obscure up until now, Zingano appears to have a very well-rounded game, and Tate will provide an immediate and excellent gauge of just how good she really is.
So that brings us to an obvious question. Can either one of these fighters truly give Ronda Rousey a run for her money? As mentioned, Tate did lose in the first round versus Rousey, but I thought she showed the most in doing so. She tried to take it to Rousey on the feet where she thought she had an advantage, and she was just unwilling to quit until injury was imminent. I think that she was also smart to take the time off to reassess her skills instead of jumping back into Rousey’s gameplan too soon.
Zingano is obviously more of a wildcard. It’s very easy to say that Rousey would just finish her with an easy armbar, because that might very well be the case. But if she finishes Tate in some spectacular fashion next month, she may have a chance against the steamrolling titleholder. It would have to be deemed a small chance however.
I truly hope that whoever wins this fight give Rousey a run for her money sometime this summer or fall. The overall appeal of her submitting all comers in the first round with the same move will grow old quickly. The women’s bantamweight division could be short-lived if some top quality fighters don’t show up at least once in awhile to challenge for the belt. I'm just not too sure that will happen anytime soon, so here's to hoping Tate or Zingano does something incredible soon and then starts training for undoubtedly the toughest fight of their life.
The first women’s fight was very popular, but there’s still a lot of work to be done for the division to sustain itself with any continued degree of success. An impressive fight will be crucial in the Tate/Zingano bout to build some momentum. High-level exposure on the TUF Finale will only add to the pressure heaped upon the two fighters’ shoulders. And even should they win there, will they have any shot of soon claiming the belt for their own?