The much-hyped rumor that Ronda Rousey would fight Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 was just confirmed by Fox Sports and the New York Times. Is anyone really shocked? Rousey’s been out of action for about a year now; now seems as good a time as any for her to finally make her much-anticipated UFC comeback.
It’s also worth noting the Rousey vs. Nunes rumor wasn’t followed up by a blatant denial on the part of UFC President Dana White. Instead, White began inexplicably talking up the possibility of “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey taking on Cristine “Cyborg” Justino.
I can give kudos to Dana White for not having a public meltdown over the leaked information. However, I have to shake my head at yet another UFC woman fighter getting thrown under the bus because of Ronda Rousey. In the case of Cyborg, she now has a fresh set of skid marks on her back.
Cris Justino is a woman for whom the UFC blatantly refused to create a weight division. Instead, Dana White demands she cut an insane amount of weight to participate in the UFC women’s bantamweight division.
Adding insult to injury, her participation in the UFC is ultimately pointless outside of the dangled carrot that is a Ronda Rousey matchup. That’s a fight that many people stopped truly caring about a couple of years ago and have since dismissed as ever really happening.
The few people who were suckered into thinking the bout was finally going to happen have my pity. I didn’t buy that out-of-left-field red herring for a minute. The timing was suspect. The tone was even more so. And yet, Cris Cyborg somehow allowed herself to believe that because UFC President Dana White mentioned her name a few times, he was sincere about feeding into her delusions about meeting his golden cash cow in the Octagon.
That’s about as logical as handing a farmer an ax for the purposes of hacking his golden-egg-laying goose to bits.
The odds of Cris “Cyborg” ever getting her chance in the Octagon against Ronda Rousey are long — and that’s me being optimistic. A few very important things need to happen before the fight becomes remotely plausible.
Ronda Rousey has to beat Amanda Nunes
As much as UFC President Dana White wants us to believe Ronda Rousey can walk all over Amanda Nunes, I’m not convinced. Rousey may feel a bit at ease since her comeback isn’t against Holly Holm. However, just because Nunes isn’t Holm doesn’t mean Nunes will be an easy fight.
In the aftermath of Rousey’s devastating loss at UFC 193, the women’s bantamweight division is an unpredictable place. If Ronda Rousey fails to truly rise to the occasion, she could find herself sent back into retirement by a ferocious Amanda Nunes.
Holly Holm must cease to exist
As much as Cris “Cyborg” Justino believes a fight with Ronda Rousey is destiny, it’s just not true. If one UFC former champion can claim as much, it would be Holly Holm. Holly remains the only UFC woman to beat Ronda Rousey (as of my typing this) and certainly deserves a second go at the title if Rousey wins.
Even if White hopes we all forget what we saw a year ago, a Holm vs. Rousey rematch could be a big money event. It would settle questions over Ronda’s “dominance” once and for all. It would certainly be Rousey’s best chance at rebuilding momentum should she fall to Nunes at UFC 207.
Dana White has to develop a solid long-term memory
Just as nobody was fooled by the sudden Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Justino talk, nobody would be surprised if White conveniently ceased talking up the bout at all.
Should Ronda win, I predict we’ll see her taking on the easiest opponents possible in an effort to build her confidence. Monsters like Cyborg will be forgotten. Holly Holm will be pushed back into the oblivion. Miesha Tate will sink into irrelevance. The “one and done” policy will remain in effect for anyone Ronda Rousey has faced. Because God forbid a woman fighter go away and improve.
The Ronda Rousey title shot only furthers a bizarre double-standard that harms women’s MMA far more than it helps. At least, that’s my initial impression. Rousey’s comeback could help strengthen the visibility of women’s MMA. However, I have a feeling it will once again stagnate growth, with talented fighters being suppressed in an effort to protect one fighter for the sake of marketability.
As for Cris Justino, perhaps the UFC will do this woman a favor and set things straight once and for all. She’s literally only in the UFC because of a potential Rousey fight; they aren’t going to create a new division, and their treatment of her is borderline barbaric.
If Rousey wins and the Justino fight is conveniently brushed aside, the UFC should just release the Brazilian fighter and stop wasting her time.
Who do you think will win the Amanda Nunes vs. Ronda Rousey fight? Do you think Rousey will ever meet Cyborg in the Octagon? Share your thoughts below!
[Featured Image by David Becker/Buda Mendes/Getty Images for Buffalo David Bitton]