Rousey has been signed away from Strikeforce and instituted as the first UFC women’s bantamweight champion. She will fight in the Octagon, taking on all comers, but only at 135 pounds.
Cyborg, meanwhile, has struggled in the past to even make the 145-pound mark for the featherweight division she has ruled for several years. Her camp has even cited a doctor’s recommendation that she not try to get down to 135.
Rousey has already defeated several top contenders in the division – Sarah Kaufman, Miesha Tate, Julia Budd, and Sara D’Aleilo – so who is on tap to be her first opponent in the Octagon?
Liz Carmouche and Marloes Coenen quickly come to mind, but so does Sara McMann, whose career has paralleled that of Rousey.
Rousey and McMann are both 6-0 in their professional careers and each has an Olympic medal on her resume – Rousey in Judo, McMann in freestyle wrestling.
Rousey has rocketed to stardom much quicker, however, so does a fight with the less known McMann, at least in Rousey’s first action in the Octagon, make sense?
“From what I understand, there needs to be a proper build-up to a fight like that,” McMann said on Monday night’s edition of Inside MMA. “People don’t really know me that well and they definitely know her, so it just doesn’t make sense to have it without a strong following for me, too.”
It’s a fight that has been on a collision course since both women were competing at a world-class level in their respective sports, then made the decision to ply their wares in MMA.
“Pretty much since the first time I said I was gonna be in MMA, people were like ‘I heard Ronda Rousey is gonna be in it, you guys should fight,’” explained McMann. “It’s been probably like two years of hearing about Ronda.
“As far as the diehard fans, it’s definitely been built up. (But) I think they need to get more of the fans that don’t know every single person in MMA, too.”
As McMann consistently says, her signing to the UFC is still “in the works” until the deal between Strikeforce and Showtime runs its course. It is the worst kept secret in the sports world, however, that Strikeforce’s days are numbered and that most of the promotion’s top talent will make the jump to the UFC when the final nail is hammered into the coffin.
It’s never a done deal until it’s a done deal, but it’s a done deal.
“I’m not exactly supposed to talk about it,” said McMann. “Everything is getting finished up with Strikeforce. But my manager says it’s in the works, so we’ll see.”
It’s not likely that McMann, who has never fought on Showtime like Rousey, will get the first shot at the UFC’s inaugural women’s champion, but if both continue winning, it’s inevitable that their world’s will collide in the cage.
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