You’re not alone. Everyone is being hit in all different directions regarding Rousey. It’s everything, from her perceived invincibility to people saying they won’t spend money on another Rousey fight because the fight rarely goes past a minute. Google populates Rousey items when one searches “UFC,” and your Twitter timeline is no doubt infested with every opinion you’d ever want to know (or avoid) about the women’s bantamweight champion. If that wasn’t bad enough, now we are coming full circle to Rousey’s first true rival in the cage, as there is chatter going on for yet another Rousey showdown with Miesha Tate in December.
Tate has rattled off four consecutive wins (all by decision) since her last loss to Rousey at UFC 168 and is now back to being the No. 1 contender in the division. This is not a testament to Tate being dominant during her winning streak as much as it is to the women’s division still being in its infancy. Take a look at the current top-10 rankings, for example. Rousey has knocked them all off:
Miesha Tate (Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey, UFC 168)
Cat Zingano (UFC 184)
Alexis Davis (UFC 175)
Sara McMann (UFC 170)
Sarah Kaufman (Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman)
Jessica Eye (Has not fought)
Amanda Nunes Has not fought)
Bethe Correia (UFC 190)
Holly Holm (Has not fought)
Liz Carmouche (UFC 157)
It’s important to lay this all out because fans at first may not understand why Tate is getting a third crack at Rousey when she is already 0-2 against the champ.
Why isn’t Eye getting a shot? Well, she just lost to Tate.
What about Nunes? She beat McMann this past weekend, so she could definitely be in line to fight for a chance at the belt.
Holly Holm? She’s only had two UFC fights and both were less than phenomenal performances. If somebody were to beat Rousey, however, it would be somebody who has the length of Holm to keep Rousey from bull-rushing her in the same manner as the champ has done to each of her other opponents.
This leads us all back to “Cupcake” Tate, the only fighter to not only get Rousey out of the first round but all the way to the third. Is it hard to sell the mainstream on a Rousey fight at this point, especially against somebody who has already lost twice to her? I don’t think so. Rousey has the lore of Mike Tyson during his glory days where people paid money to see if he could ever be beaten, as well as to see how fast he could knock somebody out. We’ve never seen somebody in MMA like Rousey who consistently beats opponents in less than 45 seconds, have we? If so, point me in the right direction.
Ultimately, what does this third fight do for the UFC? Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly:
The storyline between Rousey and Tate is well documented and most fans, even the casual ones, should know a little bit of their history. Although there hasn’t been much trash talk between the two lately, it won’t be a problem to get them jawing at each other once again.
Tate has proven she can extend a fight past the first round against Rousey, which will no doubt be the main talking point around UFC’s marketing campaign.
Rousey would be facing a legitimate No. 1 title contender with an impressive resume, as opposed to somebody who talked their way into the title fight.
The fight has a good chance of being part of a huge end-of-the-year UFC card.
The feeling of the lack of progression in the women’s division by matching these two fighters up for the third time in three years (twice in the UFC, once in Strikeforce).
Both Rousey and Tate are in somewhat of a no-win situation. If Rousey wins, she was supposed to win because she had already defeated Tate twice before. And if Tate wins, people (including Rousey) will diminish her accomplishment by saying it took her three tries to do so.
Rousey has already opened up as an 11-1 favorite over Tate (according to Oddessa.com). By comparison, she opened up as a 15-1 favorite over Correia.
If Tate does win, it’s almost a forgone conclusion that Rousey would get an immediate rematch, setting up Rousey vs. Tate IV. What happens after that? Do they just keep fighting each other until one wins a best-of-seven series? That could be the best or worse possible outcome for the UFC, depending on how you look at it.
What’s the ideal outcome in all of this? If you’re the UFC, you want Rousey to beat Tate convincingly and get Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino to somehow come down to 135 pounds to set up what could very well be the most lucrative fight in the organization’s history. A Tate win over Rousey would be a nightmare for UFC President Dana White and company.
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