Who is next for Ronda Rousey?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

On Saturday night UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey broke a couple of records. She finally ended a fight with something besides and arm bar, and she broke the record for shortest time between a successful defense (Matt Hughes also fought 56 days after winning a title defense, but he lost).

Rousey said last Summer that she works in four-year stretches.

“I said from the beginning that I work in quadrennials,” she said. “I do four-year cycles.”

Rousey's first MMA fight, as an amateur, was on 11/12/2010. If that is the beginning of the four-year run, she would be retiring at the end of this year. Her pro debut was just a few months later. Rousey said though that she saw her exit in two years, which would be the Summer of 2015. 

“I think I’ve got two years left in me, realistically, if I’m going to do this like an Olympic run.”

If she does indeed plan a truncated career, the question of who she fights next takes on increased importance.

The UFC women's top 10
Champion : Ronda Rousey
1. Cat Zingano 
2. Miesha Tate 
3. Alexis Davis 
4. Sara McMann 
5. Jessica Eye 
6. Sarah Kaufman 
7. Liz Carmouche 
8. Amanda Nunes 
9. Jessica Andrade 
10. Julianna Pena 

The list of potential contenders also includes two fighters not signed by the UFC, Cris Cyborg who fights for Invicta at 145, and Holly Holm, who has not come to terms with the UFC, as she can fight locally in New Mexico and earn a large income due to her tremendous local popularity.

Rousey will be acting in a movie version of HBO's Entourage in March, but at the post-fight press conference, she said she did not anticipate a long break.

“I usually have a hard time staying away from the gym,” said Rousey, as transcribed by MMAJunkie. “So I’ll probably get bored within a couple of weeks, and whenever they need me, I’ll fight. It seems late summer seems like a cool time, but I might want to fight sooner than that.”

“I think Cat Zingano really deserves to fight for the title at some point, but she’s still coming back from her injury, and I thought Alexis Davis did an amazing job tonight. It’s up to the UFC.”

UFC president Dana White concurred that Zingano deserves a title fight, but noted that Cat is recovering from surgery. Zingano also lost her husband Mauricio to suicide just over a month ago.

“The poor girl has been through a lot over the last year,” said White. “But I agree with Ronda. She’s next in line.”

White said he wants to see if Cris Cyborg can successfully fight at 135, and then sign her, before making any decisions about a title fight.

While White was open to the idea of signing Holm to the UFC, it would not be to a title fight.

“She’s never even fought here before, so no,” said White of Holm being Rousey's next title defense.

So that seems to leave Alexis Davis, who earned a split decision win over Jessica Eye on Saturday as the likely front runner.

Davis naturally is game.

“Of course I’ll say yes,” she said. “I’ve been fighting for so long, and who else is 3-0 in the UFC, other than the girl sitting right down from me? I want that shot. I’m the quiet girl that sits there, but I’m looking for it.”