Just a few years ago, UFC president Dana White said he never envisioned women’s fighting ever happening in the Octagon, but now everything has officially changed forever.
Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has signed with the UFC effective immediately and will begin competing for the promotion in 2013.
In addition to Rousey and the women’s division moving to the UFC, the entire promotion of Strikeforce will wrap up production and fold following its show in January.
The original report about both Rousey and Strikeforce came via TMZ.com, but additional sources have confirmed Rousey’s signing with the UFC to MMAWeekly.com. In addition, MMAFighting.com has also confirmed that Strikeforce will indeed close its doors after January, with many fighters then transferring over to the UFC.
Neither Showtime or Zuffa officials have commented on the deals, but the targeted Jan. 12 show for Strikeforce in Oklahoma City is expected to be the promotion’s swan song. Strikeforce has been teetering on the brink of extinction for months ever since two separate shows were cancelled for the promotion between September and November. Now it appears that they will put on one final “mega show” in January before calling it a day.
As far as Rousey’s UFC deal, sources indicated to MMAWeekly.com as far back as mid-October that the Strikeforce bantamweight champion was likely headed to the Octagon, but it was just a matter of time before the deal got announced.
Negotiations obviously concluded and now Rousey will become the first woman ever to compete in the UFC.
No date has been determined for Rousey’s first fight in the Octagon, but it will likely be in early 2013. The name that has been floated most recently for her first opponent is fellow Strikeforce competitor Liz Carmouche, but nothing has been offered or signed at this point.
MMAWeekly.com will continue to update this story as information becomes available.