UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey has her newest opponent, and as it turns out, it’s not Miesha Tate.
“January 2 I’ll be fighting Holly Holm, who’s the most decorated striker we have in all of mixed martial arts,” Rousey said on Friday morning’s edition of Good Morning America. “Not the women’s division, not the bantamweight division. (Holm)’s a 19-time boxing champion Holly Holm was The Ring magazine pound-for-pound Fighter of the Year, and definitely my biggest challenge to date.”
Rousey was originally expected to face Miesha Tate for the third time, following Tate’s dismantling of Jessica Eye at July’s UFC on Fox event. UFC President Dana White had actually confirmed that Tate would be receiving a title shot following the fight. Just a week later, Rousey quickly disposed of challenger Bethe Correia at UFC 190, and the Tate-Rousey trilogy seemed like a lock.
Tate’s manager, Josh Jones of KHI management told MMAFighting.com that he was surprised to hear the news of Tate being skipped over.
“I’m absolutely shocked. “I found out just like you did. Very disappointed to hear the news. She doesn’t even know yet. She is going to be absolutely shocked.”
UFC President Dana White says that the company has other plans for Tate, which could be #4-ranked Women’s Bantamweight fighter Amanda Nunes on the same card as Rousey vs. Holm.
Despite her #9 ranking in the Women’s Bantamweight division, Holly Holm has long been considered a top contender for Rousey’s crown. The 33-year old went undefeated in her 9 professional MMA bouts, which followed an overwhelmingly successful pro boxing career that saw her nominated for an ESPY award in 2008 for “best fighter.”
Holm has trained alongside famed coach Greg Jackson and Mike Winklejohn since she was 16-years-old. Under their guidance, Holly earned a 33-2-3 professional boxing record, and she entered the world of mixed martial arts with a wealth of buzz.
Rousey currently has a full plate as she has several film projects, media duties, and the WWE calling her name. With UFC 195 happening early in 2016 year, it leaves her open for film roles and possibly make another appearance at WrestleMania.
Lost in all of this is a potential super fight between Rousey and Invicta Featherweight Champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino. The two have traded verbal jabs for years, with no fight signed due to Justino’s issues making the 135-pound weight limit for UFC female fighters.
UFC 195, headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm, will take place January 2, 2016, from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
[Image via Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport]