Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is expected to return to the Octagon late this year. The target is sometime around November or December. We don’t exactly know the details of when or where she’s going to return, but UFC president Dana White on Sunday guaranteed that she will fight for the title when she does come back to the Octagon.
“(Rousey) is definitely part of the discussion (to fight at UFC 205 in New York in November) and she will fight whoever has that belt when she comes back,” White said on ESPN’s Beadle and Shelburne show.
“I think Miesha, she’s fighting on (UFC) 200. She might fight again before (New York). She wants to fight. We’ll see what happens. Miesha has been the No. 2 baddest woman in the world for years. For her to stay active right now, makes sense.”
Tate fighting Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 in July already throws the door wide open as to whom Rousey might face when she returns, as the top of the division is crowded. Tate opted to skip an immediate rematch with Holly Holm, whom she defeated for the belt, in order to face Nunes. Holm is the one who upset Rousey last November, so there’s already pent up interest there, as well.
“What’s cool about that 135-pound division is everybody is fighting right now. The only one who isn’t fighting right now is Holly. Miesha, depending on how she fights Nunes – who is very, very tough – if anything crazy happens and she came out of that fight with a quick win and 100-percent healthy, she could turn around and fight again and then fight Ronda.”
If Tate is successful against Nunes and fights again before Rousey comes back, she could easily be stepping in the cage with Holm again, or even another woman who has history with the division’s top fighters, Cat Zingano. It could even be Julianna Peña, who is scheduled to fight Zingano at UFC 200.
So the door really is wide open for any of the top women in the division to be Rousey’s de facto welcoming committee this fall: Miesha Tate, Amanda Nunes, Holly Holm, Cat Zingano, or Julianna Peña. That’s an extraordinary line-up to choose from, but from what White says, it’s going to come down to which of them holds the belt later this year.