Oh God, it happened.
I’d written multiple “what if?” articles about Miesha Tate and Amanda Nunes. I felt that it was a mistake for Tate to face Nunes. I think I knew in my spirit that we were going to get this outcome, even as I was trying to talk myself into seeing Ronda Rousey face Miesha Tate at UFC 205.
And here we are, with the women’s bantamweight division in chaotic shambles. Some call it “wide open,” but I call it a hot mess. Why? Because as of UFC 200, we now have three former women’s bantamweight champions — including Ronda Rousey’s now ludicrously guaranteed title shot. We are still a few months away from UFC 205, enough time for potentially one more title defense and loss.
UFC President Dana White needs to hit the brakes and fast.
— Outsports (@outsports) July 10, 2016
It’s important that UFC fans realize we are in an entirely brand new world when it comes to the women’s bantamweight division. There must be no assumption that when Ronda Rousey comes back, she’s going simply to dominate again. This merry-go-round of UFC women’s bantamweight champions began when Rousey nearly got her head kicked off by Holly Holm, remember?
Ronda has yet to prove whether that event was a fluke. Therefore, dismissing her loss based off of Holm getting choked out by Tate would be about as foolish as denying Miesha’s impressive win over Holly following last night’s upset.
The best way to describe the women’s bantamweight division – if you don’t like “chaotic shambles – would be a hellish game of “paper, rock, scissors.” We don’t know which fighter represents the best in the division. And being able to beat one opponent doesn’t guarantee invulnerability from another fighter.
This turn of events is equal parts exciting and alarming because it means rankings for this division are highly suspect at the moment. We could see Ronda Rousey return and utterly dominate Amanda Nunes. Rousey may then find herself beaten by Tate or Holm. Then one of those women could be upset by rising bantamweight star Julianna Pena.
It looks as though the question of “who’s really the best?” might not be settled for quite some time. Especially if favoritism interferes with allowing the division to settle in a both compelling and natural manner.
Amanda Nunes is the first Brazilian female UFC champion. pic.twitter.com/i2yIYVxQh6
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 10, 2016
There is no way Dana White will be able to brush three ex-champions under the rug should Ronda Rousey get her belt back. Rousey will be “meme’d” to death if she goes along with getting her belt back from someone who isn’t Holly Holm. Sooner or later, the Holm question will have to be addressed.
The most sensible situation would be to have former champions vie for the belt and a chance to be the “undisputed” UFC bantamweight champion before throwing anyone new into the mix.
— . (@griffin_tawnie) July 10, 2016
Holly Holm does have a fight coming up in Chicago on July 23. She’s going to have to put on an impressive showing if she doesn’t want to miss out one what should be a golden opportunity to perhaps prove her win over Ronda Rousey wasn’t a happy accident. Regardless, we should see Holly Holm face Miesha Tate in a rematch ahead of UFC 205. This would be the best way to avoid another title defense and potentially crowned champion before Ronda Rousey’s highly anticipated return to UFC.
The winner of that bout should then face either Nunes or Rousey, depending on the outcome of UFC 205, at a future event. Following this pattern would allow things to settle a bit in the division while creating genuine buzz. We could see exciting rivalries develop or reignite in the coming months.
Do you think Ronda Rousey will return and dominate the UFC women’s bantamweight division? Share your thoughts below!
[Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images]