Following the announcement of Ronda Rousey’s comeback, the UFC could have a serious mess on its hands.
On Wednesday, the former women’s bantamweight titleholder was confirmed for the UFC 207 main-event bout opposite current champion Amanda Nunes. By the time that date rolls around, Rousey will have been on the shelf for over a year.
During that stretch of inactivity, Rousey remained a prime target of the sport’s best female fighters. Unfortunately for these women, there are several factors working against them beyond the fact that the popular Rousey usually gets what she wants.
At this point, Cris Cyborg is used to being disappointed when it comes to Rousey.
Despite her best attempts to manufacture a Super Bowl bout with Rousey for 2017, the chances of Rousey or the UFC biting on that offer were slim to none.
Super Bowl weekend @rondarousey? No reason to comeback New Years if you aren't even going to fight the girl who "took your" belt. People will respect you more if you finally let us settle this novela inside the cage. I can make 140, you don't have to come to the champ. 🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷 🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷🇧🇷Ronda se você quer lutar, vamos fazê-lo. você está fazendo o seu retorno ao cage para lutar pelo cinturão, mas você não está lutando contra quem levou ele de você. as pessoas iriam respeitá-la por lutar contra mim….
While it’s incredibly unlikely that Rousey is “scared” of Cyborg, the fact remains that the physically imposing and frighteningly skilled Brazilian striker would present the greatest challenge of Rousey’s career.
Working against Cyborg is the fact that she fights a weight class above Rousey, something the former UFC champion has often mentioned as a reason for the fight not to happen. She’s challenged Cyborg to make 135 pounds, something that would be extraordinarily difficult for Cyborg to do safely.
UFC president Dana White teased that Cyborg could be next if Rousey can defeat Nunes, but fans shouldn’t hold their breath on that one.
Holly Holm is a victim of her own success.
The former boxing star destroyed Rousey so thoroughly when they fought at UFC 193 last November that Rousey was physically and emotionally unable to compete for months. Rather than immediately being placed in a lucrative rematch, Holm had to choose between waiting for Rousey to return or defend her newly won belt.
She chose the latter (a wise move considering how long Rousey has been out) and was promptly submitted by Miesha Tate at UFC 196. In her next bout at UFC on FOX 20, Holm was outpointed by Valentina Shevchenko.
Holm now finds herself entrenched in the loser’s bracket, which is unfortunate since her recovery from a left-hand injury seemed to coincide perfectly with Rousey’s return. Even if Holm battles her way back to contention, Rousey may have already moved on to greener pastures by then.
Aside from Cyborg, nobody has been more vocal about wanting a big money fight than “Ultimate Fighter 18” winner Julianna Pena.
“The Venezuelan Vixen” has a spotless 4-0 record in the Octagon, capped off by a unanimous decision win at UFC 200 over one-time title challenger Cat Zingano. The 27-year-old Pena is rumored to have turned down bouts in the hopes of pinning down Rousey or Nunes, but now that their dance card is filled, it looks like Pena will have to put in more work to prove that she belongs in the upper echelon of the 135-pound division.