UFC President Dana White announced Wednesday evening that current UFC Champion Holly Holm will face at least one other opponent before a still-to-be-scheduled rematch with Ronda Rousey, Yahoo Sports is reporting.
Back on November 14, 34-year-old Holm (10-0) knocked out Rousey (12-1) at UFC 193, in a stunning upset to take the UFC Bantamweight crown. Yahoo Sports writer Kevin Iole called the second-round knockout “the biggest upset in UFC history.”
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Almost immediately, talk turned to a rematch, something both women, and their managers, have said they’d be willing to do. The problem with that plan is that Holm beat Rousey so thoroughly that she (Rousey) wound up needing plastic surgery on her lip, and was given a six-month medical exemption from any further UFC fighting, according to The Washington Post.
And Holm even says she wasn’t at her best that night.
“I don’t feel that was my full potential. I feel like if that’s my full potential, then I should retire because I don’t feel like I’m going to get better. … It was a very dominating performance but it’s also it’s own fight. Every fight is different. Every matchup’s different. It will be a whole different fight the next time around.”
In the meantime, UFC wants to give another fighter the chance at Holm’s crown.
Speaking Wednesday night on Fox Sports 1’s “UFC Tonight,” White confirmed that Holm will be called on, at least once, to defend her title before the long-anticipated rematch with Rousey.
Unfortunately, White gave few details; no word on when the fight will take place, or whom Holm will fight. Responding via text message to Yahoo Sports for further clarification, White didn’t say much else.
“We don’t have a fight for Holly yet. We have a lot of work to do. All gonna depend on timing. We have no answers right now on any of this.”
Who would take on Holly Holm for a shot at the crown? That remains to be seen, but Miesha Tate (17-5), the No. 2 contender (behind Rousey), seems to be a good choice.
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And it’s a choice that Holm’s manager, Lenny Fresquez, would be on board with. Speaking to The Washington Post in December, Fresquez said that Miesha would make a good opponent for Holm.
“We’d like to fight Miesha. We understand there are risks, but Holly’s a dominant champion, and she wants to fight the best. Right now, Miesha is the best.”
A Holm-Tate match carries several risks, however. For one thing, says Iole, there’s no one Holm could fight that would generate the interest, or the money, that a Holm-Rousey rematch would. For another thing, if Tate were to win, she would be the next legitimate contender for a fight against Rousey, not Holm. That could spell doom for the UFC’s hopes for a huge payday if and when Holm and Rousey do enter the ring against each other, says Iole.
“If Holm successfully defends the title, then she could move into a rematch with Rousey that will be massive. If she loses, however, it would take significantly away from the rematch. Rousey-Holm II will be big under any circumstance, but it would have the potential to be record-setting if Holm goes in as the undefeated champion.”
Rousey, for her part, hasn’t said much about a rematch with Holm since November. She’s scheduled to host Saturday Night Live on January 23. Maybe on the show she’ll take a moment to talk about her rematch with Holly Holm.
[Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images]