Ronda Rousey Could Confront UFC Rising Stars Like Mackenzie Dern, Kayla Harrison, Valentina Shevchenko, And Amanda Nunes During Comeback
Ronda Rousey is gearing up for a comeback, but before she gets her old glory back, she will have to face a slew of newcomers who are proving to be just as talented. UFC is actively seeking new faces like Mackenzie Dern, Valentina Shevchenko, and even Kayla Harrison to join the money-making fight. With the current belt holder being Amanda Nunes, there is no shortage of talented female MMA fighters in the cage right now.
The question remains: Will Ronda Rousey rise to the challenge in 2016 fight?
After losing to Holly Holm and earning her first-ever loss in UFC, Ronda Rousey disappeared for a while — nine months to be exact — and has been recuperating. After getting her knee and ego fixed up, she is looking to reclaim her belt.
But her road back to old fame won’t be easy. Amanda Nunes, a Brazilian MMA fighter, stole the belt from Miesha Tate in a fair-and-square fight.
“I feel amazing,” Amanda said after winning to ESPN. “Every fighter has something to change to evolve. I am this kind of fighter. I always have to work to try to make things happen in my life. Everybody knows that I respect Miesha a lot, but I’m the new champion.”
And she is ready to take on Ronda Rousey, if and when she decides to return to the cage.
“I’ve been training jiu-jitsu since I started,” she continued. “Jiu-jitsu and judo both together. I know how to block very well judo throws, I know how to use my hips very well. I know if Ronda Rousey is coming back, I’m going to keep the championship. I’m going to beat Ronda Rousey and then wait for the next. I’m going to wait for her to prove to everybody one more time I deserve to be here.”
Amanda Nunes isn’t the only one Ronda should be concerned about. Mackenzie Dern has been on people’s lips as the most promising newcomer in the UFC.
“Mackenzie Dern, 23, is becoming a familiar face and a known name in MMA more than ever right now,” reports Hollywood Life. “The jiu-jitsu prodigy, who is world champion, is currently ranked the No. 1 IBJJF jiu-jitsu practitioner in the world. She rose to extreme stardom when she pulled out a victory against Kenia Rosas at Legacy FC 58. Now she’s said to be the next Ronda Rousey, 29, and the world is obsessed with the comparison.”
But some of the best fighters in the world are not so willing to jump into the UFC fighting cage. Kayla Harrison, the Rio Olympics judo champion, publicly said that she is not too eager to be an MMA fighter.
“After a (judo) match, you shake the person’s hand and you give them a hug, and you bow to them to show respect,” Kayla said, according to MMA Junkie. “In MMA, it’s not like that, and I don’t know if I’m made – I don’t know if I’m cut out for a world where you get fights based on how pretty you are and how much you talk, and not necessarily what you’re worth in the ring.”
Valentina Shevchenko is another one of the UFC fighters people have their eyes on. She just signed a seven-fight extension with UFC, showing that she is going to hang around the cages for a while.
“The Kyrgyzstan native is coming off a huge unanimous decision win over Holly Holm at UFC on FOX 20 last month,” reports MMA Fighting. “Shevchenko debuted with a split decision win over Sarah Kaufman last December before falling to now-champion Amanda Nunes by unanimous decision at UFC 196 in March.”
Do you think Amanda Nunes, Kayla Harrison, Mackenzie Dern, and Valentina Shevchenko will keep Ronda Rousey on her toes? Let us know in the comments below!
[Photo by Ronda Rousey/Instagram]