Ronda Rousey Return By End Of 2016 Still Possible? [UPDATED]

So much for Ronda Rousey making her grand return at UFC 205. Despite a series of rumors, there’s no way the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion will make an appearance. At least, not in the Octagon.

It’s already September, and UFC President Dana White has announced he’s started to compile matches for the November event in New York City. It will be a historic evening. CNN reports that for the first time, MMA fighting is legal in the state of New York. It would be nice for Ronda Rousey, the UFC’s first ever women’s champion, to feature on the card.

Sadly, it looks like Ronda Rousey won’t be physically, or possibly even mentally, ready in time.

We really should have seen it coming. White was interviewed in August on The Herd, during which time he shared some pertinent information about Ronda’s progress.

The Washington Post quoted White as follows.

“‘Ronda had a bunch of minor surgeries, and they’re healing up,’ White said, refusing to give even an approximate timeline regarding her return. ‘When [they heal], I’m assuming she’s gonna fight.’

In June, White revealed Rousey underwent knee surgery but called it ‘nothing serious’ and said that he was ‘hoping to get Ronda back this year.'”

According to the Washington Post, Dana White was reluctant to give an approximate date for Ronda Rousey’s return. The only definite he was willing to give is that she wouldn’t be at UFC 205.

Does this news mean there’s no chance we’ll see Ronda Rousey in 2016? Not necessarily. Champions.co writer Amy Kaplan notes that Rousey was tested by the USADA a couple of weeks ago. It seems that Ronda is slowly moving towards a state of preparedness. Even though she’s not expected to make UFC 205 in November, there may be time for a Christmas miracle.

MMAFighting writes that UFC 206 will be held on December 10 in Toronto, Ontario. The Canadian PPV event is rumored to see the return of UFC favorite Georges St-Pierre. However, it’s possible that Ronda Rousey might make the card at the last possible minute.

That event marks the last possible chance of Ronda Rousey making a major UFC event in 2016. It would also mark the first time in more than a year that Rousey stepped foot in the Octagon.

While Rousey’s fans are hoping to see her back in action as soon as possible, it may be some time before we have a definite answer about a comeback. If Ronda does decide to fight again, another question needs to be answered: Who should Rousey face upon returning to the UFC?

UFC President Dana White previously promised that Ronda Rousey would face the Women’s Bantamweight Champion, regardless of who that happened to be. With the title routinely changing hands with each subsequent defense, there’s no telling who that might be.

Right now, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino is talking up the possibility of being the one to welcome “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey back to the sport.

Yahoo Sports quoted Justino as saying, “I respect all the girls regardless of who they are. But I believe there’s a ‘novela’ [Brazilian soap opera] between Ronda and I that we need to finish. I think that’s a fight everyone wants to watch.”

If Justino gets her hand on the title before Ronda can make her comeback, that twist ending could be coming. Otherwise, there seem to be several MMA women fighters standing in line with a good chance of being Ronda Rousey’s opponent.

Do you think Ronda Rousey will be back by the end of 2016? If not, when do you think Rousey will return to the UFC? Share your thoughts below!

UPDATE: According to the Rolling Stone there are two UFC events remaining in 2016: UFC 206 and UFC 207. So there are in fact two separate chances left for Ronda Rousey to put in an appearance this year. However, it still looks like we might not see her until 2017.

[Featured Image by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images]