Ronda Rousey won’t have much time to kick back and enjoy her latest victory over Miesha Tate at UFC 168 last night as she’s now set to go straight back into training camp for her next fight.
At last night’s UFC 168 post-fight press conference Dana White announced that Rousey will now defend her title against Sara McMann at UFC 170 on February 22nd in Las Vegas.
The title fight will headline the show, meaning that a previously announced light-heavyweight match-up between Rashad Evans and Daniel Cormier will now move to the co-main event spot on the card.
Rousey said she initially found out about the UFC’s plans prior to her fight with Tate last night and that after taking a lot of time off last year she’s eager to fight more regularly in the coming year, so was happy to accept.
McMann is currently only 1-0 in the UFC, notching up a first round TKO against Sheila Gaff back in April of last year.
However, McMann, who’s 7-0 in her career so far, has long been considered one of the division’s top talents and in fact can one-up Rousey’s often touted bronze medal in judo at the Olympics, as she holds a silver medal in wrestling.
McMann also holds wins over the likes of Shayna Baszler and Tonya Evinger, but there’s no doubt that she’s facing a huge step up in competition here.
The quick turn around is interesting from the UFC, perhaps motivated by a desire to keep Rousey focused on her fighting career rather than her burgeoning acting work which has lead to fears that she may one day quit the sport to focus on that instead.
The UFC also lacks star power heading into 2014 with Anderson Silva now almost certain to be out for a full year, if not heading into retirement, joining champions like Georges St.Pierre, Cain Velasquez and Anthony Pettis who are also out for much of the next 12 month, so they will have to rely more heavily on their remaining draws like Rousey to help keep the ball rolling.
There is a casualty in all this though and that’s Cat Zingano, who was originally supposed to have fought Rousey last night, and also coached TUF 18 instead of Miesha Tate, before an unfortunate injury forced her to withdraw from both opportunities.
She’s since had further injury setbacks, but in the week leading up to last night’s event Dana White had indicated she was still the No.1 contender and was set to fight the winner of Rousey Vs Tate next year.
However, post-fight White claimed that Zingano wouldn’t be fit to train properly until March, and that could be the reason that they’ve opted to go with McMann instead.