Rousey vs. Holm was originally slated for the UFC 195 main event on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas, but will now take place as the UFC 193 headliner on Nov. 14 at Ethiad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia.
White revealed the news on ESPN’s SportsCenter, saying, “Ronda Rousey will fight Holly Holm Nov. 14. She is the main event at Ethiad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, and she will break all-time attendance record for the sport of mixed martial arts.”
Though he didn’t give a reason for the change, UFC Vice President of Public Relations and Athlete Marketing, Dave Sholler, confirmed a Tweet by ESPN reporter Brett Okamoto, who stated that the original UFC 193 main event between welterweight champion Robbie Lawler and challenger Carlos Condit was scrapped when Lawler suffered a thumb injury.
Moving Rousey vs. Holm to the largest venue that the UFC has ever booked was a no-brainer. Rousey is setting records left and right. Her recent UFC 190 bout with Bethe Correia is reportedly the UFC’s best selling pay-per-view event of 2015 thus far.
“Obviously, Ronda Rousey was huge for us down in Brazil. She’s obviously a huge superstar for us. Australia is an important market for us, so we’re going to bring her out there in our first real big stadium show, and we know that she’ll break the record out there,” said White.
The UFC’s best attendance to date is just under 56,000 at the Rogers Centre for UFC 129 in Toronto, when Georges St-Pierre put his welterweight belt on the line against Jake Shields. The largest crowds at Ethiad Stadium are nearly 57,000 for rugby and more than 70,000 for the 2014 International Convention of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Having grown her popularity as she continues to grow her skillset, Rousey was the choice to launch women’s MMA in the Octagon, and now the UFC sees her as the obvious choice for record-setting attendance in Melbourne.
That’s not to say that he feels Holm isn’t a qualified opponent for Rousey, but the champion has rolled through the best 135-pound women in the world, making them look like they don’t belong in the same cage as her.
Still, Holm’s resume has depth. She’s 33-2 as a boxer and 9-0 in MMA.
“Holly Holm was 2005 and 2006 Ring Magazine Female Fighter of the Year. She held every title you could hold in the welterweight division. She beat all the big names in women’s boxing,” said White. “If she wins the UFC title, she’ll be the only person to ever hold a world boxing title and the UFC world title. She’s a legit contender.”
But like all the others, there’s no guarantee that Holm is ready to take Rousey into deeper waters than anyone else has.
“I would love to assure everybody that it won’t be 15 seconds,” said White, “but I can’t.”