Today on the JIM ROME SHOW, UFC President Dana White announced officially that Ronda Rousey is fully under the UFC flag and that he is ready to start the female weight division of 135 in the UFC. Now they must find an opponent, as they probably would like to feature Rousey on the February Super Bowl weekend card in Vegas. White appeared to indicate things would get started in the 135 lb weight class, where he sees potential opponents for Rousey, and he has stated that other weight classes are lighter in talent. There really are only a small handful of matches that make any sense at all for Rousey, and the UFC better sign some talent and get to developing the weight class.
White has not been unclear that Rousey is the type of star with crossover appeal that he was looking for, and that otherwise the women’s divisions would be a no go.
The obvious opponent is Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos, but this may not be as easy as it sounds. Santos is coming off a steroid suspension and I’m not sure the UFC wants to have her as the second women in their MMA divisions for that reason alone. Besides, she has stated she cannot make 135 lbs, though that is likely not the case. Santos has no other place to compete really, other than the UFC and Rousey is her natural opponent. From a bettors perspective, Santos is the only girl who really has a chance against Rousey.
The more likely opponent for Rousey is Miesha Tate. Tate was able to hold of Rousey for almost an entire round before getting her arm ripped off, and has totaled more time in the ring with Rousey than the combined total of all of her other opponents. Tate is a solid 13-3 and to be honest, has been working on a makeover of her image as well, which helps.
Beyond that the potential opponents get light. Dutch fighter Marloes Coenen is a long time veteran of the sport who may have a bag of tricks to compete with Rousey for a little bit, but she is more of an unknown to the casual fans.
It behooves ZUFFA to get Rousey in the Octagon as soon as possible. The match with ‘Cyborg’ Santos is really the only credible challenge they can put together, but it is really unclear whether the will to make the match exists by both ZUFFA and ‘Cyborg’ herself.
As good as Tate is, she was already shown to be a notch or two below Rousey, so this will be an almost can’t bet match when it comes to the sportsbooks. We will see when it gets announced where exactly the line comes in.
Check out the quick video from Rome’s site -