Ronda Rousey may not have fought in 10 months, but she is still treasured by the UFC and Dana White. During an interview to promote Conor McGregor’s next fight, the UFC president was all about Ronda, praising her popularity and saying how she opened the doors for female fights that the UFC will host in the future.
Although her next fight has not been announced in the news yet, the 29-year-old fighter from California is gearing up for her comeback.
And she definitely has UFC president Dana White’s support. When he was asked about the Best Female Athlete of 2016, he quickly responded that she is by far the biggest star that the cage has ever seen.
“By far. Not even close. By far the biggest star ever,” he said, according to MMA Weekly. “Ronda Rousey is such a big start that… when you go down to Brazil, they don’t care who you are, they want the Brazilian to whoop your ass. When Ronda went down there, they cheered for Ronda over the Brazilian. Never seen that before in my life, and will probably never see it again.”
That might not make Conor McGregor or Miesha Tate feel better about themselves.
“People were like, ‘you’re gonna put women above these legends? This is a disgrace,'” he continued. “That’s when it really opened my eyes, like, Wow! You always talk about women not getting equal pay, women not getting equal rights, that was when it was like, holy (expletive), I didn’t expect this, but (expletive) ’em. I didn’t expect that kind of negativity.”
The biggest star in UFC went down pretty hard after her loss to Holly Holm. Until then, Ronda has not suffered a defeat against any professional fighter and was riding a high that no UFC star had ever ridden before. After her loss, female fighters new and old were eager to take her place.
In fact, the person Ronda Rousey has to defeat to reclaim her championship belt is none other than the newcomer Amanda Nunes, the Brazilian MMA fighter who stole the belt from Miesha Tate.
“I feel amazing,” Amanda said to ESPN after winning. “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.”
“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.”
Quietly, the former belt holder has been training, only posting pictures on Instagram when she has something strong to say. This summer, Ronda released a new campaign for Reebok that seemed to allude to her loss to Holly Holm and the fact that she is ready to rise from the ashes again.
There have been rumors that the UFC president has been pushing her to schedule her next fight for December, but no official dates have been released yet.
Over the past summer, Ronda got a few things fixed up on her body, so it’s possible that she is waiting to heal from the surgeries.
“I’m hoping we’re going to get Ronda back this year,” Dana White said to ESPN. “She just had surgery yesterday on her knee — nothing serious, just get in there and scope it, clean it out a little bit.”
He added, “She feels great. Her spirits are great. She’s been training. If she fights, I’m hoping she fights December. If not, she would probably fight at the New Year’s show at beginning of [next] year.”
When and where do you think Ronda’s next fight will take place? Do you think she is ready after her loss to Holly Holm? Let us know in the comments below!
[Featured Image by Mark Lennihan/AP Images]