Ronda Rousey will make the next defense of her bantamweight title against Cat Zingano at UFC 184 at the end of February, but after that there’s a big question mark over who she will fight next.
A lot will depend on Rousey herself. She has movie roles in ‘Fast & Furious 7’ and ‘Entourage’ already complete and set to come out in 2015 which will raise her profile even further and potentially lead to more work in Hollywood.
At last week’s UFC press conference in Las Vegas she admitted she has a lot of different offers coming her way and so from the sounds of things the promotion will have to come up with something compelling to ensure she doesn’t get distracted by other things.
In a new interview with AXS TV, Rousey gives her own thoughts on three of her biggest potential contenders at this stage, Gina Carano, Cris ‘Cyborg’ and Holly Holm.
“Gina is not in the UFC right now, she’s off making a movie,” Rousey said. “Cyborg…I was looking forward to fighting her, but if by “injured” you mean she took too many steroids and can’t make weight then she’s extremely injured right now and is unavailable. Holly Holm is a world champion boxer who is undefeated and has very many knockouts under her belt and I think is an extremely worthy opponent.”
So, from Rousey’s perspective it seems clear that Holm is the best choice under the circumstances. Holm herself may have other plans though. She’s previously said she’d like time to get some Octagon experience under her belt before facing the champion and has yet to make debut in the promotion.
She was set to do so against Raquel Pennington on December 6th at UFC 181, but she had to pull out of that fight due to a herniated disc in her neck.
The issue isn’t going to keep her out for long though, so expect to see her lined up with a new opponent sooner rather than later. Realistically though it feels like Holm is still at least two or three fights away from being ready to challenge for the belt, but money talks so who knows what might happen.
That aside it’s tough to see who’s left for the champ. You’d have to go all the way down to No.6 on the rankings to find someone Rousey hasn’t already handily defeated (Cat Zingano excluded of course), and there we find Jessica Eye who’s Octagon record is only 1-1 (+1nc) so far.
Right now there’s more heat about a potential fight with Bethe Correia who’s already been trash-talking with Rousey and has compiled a 3-0 record so far in the UFC which includes two of the champion’s fellow ‘Four Horsewomen’ team-mates. If the UFC is really struggling to find an opponent she could be who they turn too.
Other than that, out of those who’ve already fought Rousey perhaps Sara McMann has the best chance of putting herself back in line for a second shot. She has a win under belt (albeit not very impressive) since her first loss to ‘Rowdy’ which lasted just 66 seconds courtesy of a knee to the liver.
The former Olympic wrestling silver medalist feels she can do much better than she showed in that fight, and if she can overcome Miesha Tate in her next fight at UFC 183 in January then that would put her in a solid position to call out for a rematch.
Of course there’s one person who can throw a spanner in the works regardless of the UFC or Rousey’s plans and that’s her next opponent Cat Zingano. She remains undefeated in her MMA career with nine victories, two of them inside the Octagon and who’s to say she can’t shock the world on February 28th which would almost certainly spark an immediate rematch.