The return of Ronda Rousey to the octagon has reached nothing short of urban legend status in recent months. While MMA insiders and those closest to the former champ are insisting that she is in the right place both mentally and physically to compete for the first time since her devastating loss to Holly Holm at UFC 192, we haven’t seen a single shred of actual evidence that would suggest the same (outside of a stray photo, that is).
Regardless, it seems that everyone involved is going to continue pushing the narrative of Rousey’s comeback, whether it’s going to actually happen or not. The latest offender? That would be UFC President Dana White, who told Brazilian publication Combate in a recent interview that “There is a great chance of Ronda fighting Amanda Nunes and I am very confident that Ronda will probably fight before the end of the year.”
Of course, there will be many detractors in the MMAsphere who believe that Rousey should not be entitled to an immediate title shot upon her return, which is just plain adorable in its naivety. Aside from the fact that Rousey remains not only the biggest draw in the women’s bantamweight division, but the entire UFC despite not fighting in close to a year, one could argue that the inability of any champion since Rousey to defend the belt even once only further points to just how dominant of a champion she truly was. Rousey may have gotten blown out of the water by Holly Holm, but she also defended the belt six times before that and managed to score wins over Meisha Tate, the woman who took the belt from Holly Holm, and Cat Zingano, the woman who scored a decisive victory over the current champ, Amanda Nunes.
But if Rousey won’t be returning for the UFC’s Madison Square Garden card in November (which she’s confirmed herself), then when can we expect her to fight again? According to some rumors, the answer is UFC 207.
A Rousey return at the UFC’s year-end card in Las Vegas would certainly lineup with her current timeline, and would top off a card that is already rumored to feature a bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Cody Garbrandt, a light heavyweight title rematch between Daniel Cormier and Anthony Johnson, and a heavyweight rematch between former champions Cain Velasquez and Fabricio Werdum.
One thing’s for sure: If Rousey wants to avoid a repeat of her UFC 192 performance against the similarly hard-hitting Nunes, she might want to consider moving her training camp away from kick-inciter Edmond Tarverdyan …