The UFC hasn’t officially announced anything yet, but all signs are pointing toward Ronda Rousey’s return to the Octagon going down on November 12 at Madison Square Garden. Last week, the former women’s bantamweight champion made it known that she wanted onto the UFC’s first New York card, saying she’d earned a spot after spending two years lobbying the legislature to legalize MMA in the state.
UFC president Dana White wouldn’t confirm the Rowdy one’s participation, but did admit on ESPN’s Beadle and Shelburne podcast that “she’s definitely part of the discussion and will fight whoever has that belt when she comes back.”
That means Rousey will most likely face the winner of the Miesha Tate vs. Amanda Nunes title fight at UFC 200 in July, setting her up for a softer rebound from defeat than if she’d have to face Holly Holm in her first fight back. But you can’t accuse the UFC of coddling their last remaining superstar (now that Conor McGregor is gone). The fight promotion tried setting up a rematch between Tate and Holm for UFC 200, but were allegedly rebuffed by Tate’s camp. And it sounds like they’re open to Tate fighting between July and November if she wants to.
“I think Miesha, she’s fighting at [UFC 200], she might fight again before [November],” White said. “She wants to fight. We’ll see what happens. Miesha has been the No. 2 baddest woman in the world for years. For her to stay active right now makes sense.”
That’s assuming Miesha defeats Amanda Nunes, who is no slouch. But one thing is for certain: whoever ends up being the one with the 135 pound strap when Ronda returns is going to have to fight her for it.