UFC Denver headliner Tracy Cortez hopes to one day surpass the legacy of MMA icon Ronda Rousey

UFC Denver headliner Tracy Cortez hopes to one day surpass the legacy of MMA icon Ronda Rousey

Tracy Cortez hopes to one day surpass the legacy left behind by Ronda Rousey.

On Saturday night, the Phoenix native will have a chance to take a big step in that direction when she steps in on short notice for a scrap with former two-time strawweight world champion ‘Thug’ Rose Namajunas.

Tracy Cortez

Originally, Namajunas was scheduled the headline the UFC’s return to Denver against rising star Maycee Barber in a fight that feels like it’s been years in the making. Unfortunately, ‘The Future’ was forced to bow out of the bout due to an illness, paving the way for Cortez to step in and shoot her shot against one of the UFC’s most beloved female fighters.

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Ahead of her return to the Octagon this weekend, Cortez spoke with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, discussing her upcoming clash and the legacy she hopes to leave behind.

Specifically asked about women’s MMA icon Ronda Rousey, Cortez has the utmost respect for ‘Rowdy,’ but made it clear that her goal is to one day surpass the accomplishments of the UFC’s first-ever female champion.

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“I’m very grateful for the way Ronda paved the way for women’s MMA,” Cortez said. “No one has done it like she has, but I say this humbly; I hope to surpass that. She set a goal and I think as competitors, we keep wanting to overstep these goals and [outdoing] what our heroes did.

“I saw the way she moved and [I keep] finessing, tweaking, and making it my own and hoping to surpass what she’s done.”

Tracy Cortez could thrust herself into title contention with an upset against ‘thug’ rose

Cortez is off to a pretty good start, going 11-1 in his mixed martial arts career, including a solid 5-0 run under the UFC banner, earning wins over the likes of Justin Kish, Melissa Gatto, and Jasmine Jasudavicius.

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Tracy Cortez

As it stands, Cortez is sitting in the No. 11 spot in the women’s flyweight rankings. If she can bag an upset against Namajunas in her first UFC headliner, she’ll thrust herself into the top 10 and likely just outside the top five. Of course, getting a win over ‘Thug’ is much easier said than done.

After coming up short in her flyweight debut against Manon Fiorot, Namajumas bounced back with a solid showing against Amanda Ribas, immediately putting her into the 125-pound title picture.

Rose Namajunas