MMA fans won’t have to wait much longer to watch Ronda Rousey’s UFC debut. The newly crowned 135 pound UFC champion will have her first title defense at UFC 157. The fight will headline the February event featuring Dan Henderson vs. Lyoto Machida in support.
The news comes 24 hours after the UFC’s own Brazilian website listed Rousey vs. Cristiane Cyborg Santos as the headliner for UFC 157. Lines were obviously crossed somewhere as Cyborg later told reporters that while they were negotiating, she wouldn’t be ready to make 135 pounds by February. Although I would not be shocked to see Cyborg fight on this show at 145 to move the rivalry forward.
According to Rousey and White, Carmouche was not the first choice to fight Rousey. White admitted to reporters that Carmouche was the lucky or unlucky third choice to take the fight. White said that two fighters turned down the fight, Cyborg and Miesha Tate. Although both sides disputed that claim, with Tate calling it a “straight up lie” on Twitter and Cyborg’s manager Tito Ortiz denied also Dana’s claims.
I found it a bit ironic that some people in the social media world were criticizing the choice of Carmouche as challenger. Some questioned whether she deserved the title shot or not. In my opinion, Rousey is a made-up champion anyway. She never beat anyone in the UFC to earn the title. The UFC should have had at least one fight to determine a champion. I know Rousey was Strikeforce champion but so were Dan Henderson, Alistair Overeem, and Nick Diaz when they came to the UFC. All I am saying is that anyone arguing over the credibility of the title is missing the big picture.
The UFC will be headlining UFC 157 with this fight. I think this is a huge gamble and a little bit of a disappointment considering that Henderson vs. Machida is underneath. I understand why, but it is a bit of a bummer not to see Hendo and Machida get five rounds. The UFC is taking a major risk here in headlining a pay per view event strictly off of Rousey’s name. This is certainly not a fight anyone is clamoring to see.
Since day one I think the UFC has played this deal all wrong with Rousey. Unless you were bringing her in to fight Santos right away, it’s got a big chance of failing. Rousey can get on talk shows but at the end of the day are fight fans going to pay $50 to watch her fight just anyone? What if the fight with her and Carmouche disappoints? Carmouche is also no joke and is very capable here of pulling off the upset and blowing up all of their plans to market Rousey. I just think you need a deeper roster and the UFC should have at least made the division 140 pounds to open it up to more females.
I also still don’t understand why Rousey and the UFC are unwilling to move up a mere five pounds to fight Santos. There is something going on here and I can’t say I get it. Dana has no problem pressuring guys to fight outside of their weight classes when it is best for business. Asking Santos to drop ten pounds to fight Rousey while Rousey refuses to go up a mere five pounds seems a bit unfair. The whole idea that this big fight is being held up over five pounds is absurd.
We’ll see what happens at UFC 157. If Rousey is not the big draw that the UFC is banking on her tune and/or Dana White’s may change pretty fast.