This past weekend, at Strikeforce’s event in Ohio, the women of MMA took center stage in a much hyped title bout between Champion Meisha Tate, and upstart protege Ronda Rousey. Both women deserve credit – neither melted in what was certainly a pressure filled pre fight hype period, and both delivered a very compelling match. In the end, Rousey took the title after forcing Tate to submit to a relatively gruesome arm bar that everyone is talking about. Unfortunately, what no one is really talking about is what is next for Rousey? This is the problem, the ranks of Strikeforce’s women’s roster is very thin, and is a long way away from having a strong followup bout for Rousey. So what is next for Ronda Rousey?
There has been a lot of talk about Rousey’s next opponent being Canada’s own Sara Kaufman, who owns a 15-1 record and defeated Alexis Davis on the same card as Rousey-Tate. Kaufman has paid her dues so to speak, and is likely to get the next shot at the belt. Kaufman has won three in a row since losing to former champion Marloes Coenen by arm bar. An arm bar loss may be a portent of things to come, as that has been Rousey’s specialty in her short career.
Tate was on her first title defense since wrestling the belt from Coenen, but any talk of a rematch would leave Rousey waiting for her to heal her arm and get off the suspension. Coenen might be another option, as the long time veteran and former champion brings a different style to her submission game. But Coenen’s last outing was a loss to Tate for the belt.
Strikeforce simply has not developed the women’s division’s properly. They rode the ‘Cyborg’ Santos card, but really didn’t have a plethora of viable fights for her, and now they are in the same boat with Rousey. Strikeforce needs to get serious and sign 6-8 women in the weight class, and get them competing.
Until then, it will likely be Sara Kaufman who takes on Ronda Rousey next. Not sure what the oddsmakers are going to do with that match when it is announced, but I like for Rousey to come in an overwhelming favorite. They key is for Strikeforce to get Rousey back in the ring by no later than June.