Saturday 17 March 2018

Ronda Rousey to fight new women's UFC bantamweight champion Miesha Tate - Dana White

Ronda Rousey looks set to make her UFC return against Miesha Tate
Ronda Rousey looks set to make her UFC return against Miesha Tate

Jack de Menezes

Miesha Tate’s first defence of her newly won UFC women’s bantamweight title will be against returning former champion Ronda Rousey, Dana White has revealed.

Tate dominated Holly Holm at UFC 196 on Saturday night before choking her opponent unconscious in the fifth and final round, with both co-main events ending via a submission move after Conor McGregor was forced to tap out in his fight with Nate Diaz.

The match was Holm’s first defence since upsetting Rousey at UFC 193 where she knocked out the previously undefeated fighter who has run riot in the women’s bantamweight division, and Rousey has not been seen in the Octagon since after taking time to allow her facial injuries to recover and turn her attentions to her Hollywood commitments.

However, Rousey has made it clear that her time in the UFC is far from done, and UFC president White confirmed before Saturday night’s bout that the winner will likely face Rousey later this year for the title.

Following Tate’s thrilling victory in Las Vegas, White reiterated that Rousey will return to face the champion – who she has already beaten twice before – and even hinted that he will try and coax Rousey back into the Octagon before her intended return in the autumn to open the door for a UFC 200 megafight.

“I think that Ronda now will fight Miesha Tate for the title. That’s what’s going to happen,” White told ESPN. “That’s what I said before this fight even happened. Whoever wins tonight will fight Ronda for the title.”

White also revealed that he spoke to Rousey in the aftermath of the Holm defeat, only to discover that the former champion wasn’t even watching the event.

“I text Ronda, and she said, ‘What happened?’” White added. “I said, ‘Miesha just choked her unconscious.’ She said, ‘Looks like I gotta get back to work.’”

It was initially expected that Rousey will not be able to return until August at the earliest due to her filming commitments, ruling a return at July’s UFC 200 pay-per-view out of the question. But White admitted he will attempt to set up a summer showdown if he can persuade Rousey to come back sooner, given she is one of the biggest faces in mixed martial arts.

While UFC 196 proved to be one of the most thrilling main events in recent history, the results have dealt a blow to the UFC and White, given his two main fighters have both suffered defeats in their last outings. Both McGregor and Rousey will appear on the front cover of the company’s new game, UFC 2, when it is released next week, but Rousey no longer holds the women’s bantamweight title and McGregor’s undefeated streak has ended to leave their status as the two dominant fighters in the business under serious threat.

Independent News Service

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