Photo Credit: Joe Camporeale \ USA TODAY Sports Images
At UFC 170, we saw Ronda Rousey decimate Sara McMann via TKO. McMann never really got settled, as Rousey swarmed her right off the hop. Quite frankly, this fight was over before it even started. When referee Herb Dean had the two combatants meet in the middle of the octagon to "touch em up," McMann simply stared at her feet the whole time while Rousey mean mugged her and scared everyone watching in the process. McMann is no slouch either, she is an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling and was undefeated in her MMA career. The problem is that Rousey is so above and beyond the competition at this point that it's going to be hard to generate interest in her fights going forward. She is so ridiculously talented that she managed to film "The Expendables 3", "Fast & Furious 6" and still managed to defend the Bantamweight Title successfully twice in the past two months.
There are ways to generate interest in Rousey's fights going forward but unfortunately giving the title shots to the rightful contender's isn't one of them. For example, when Lennox Lewis fought Mike Tyson in 2002, Tyson was not the rightful number one contender, but it was still the fight people wanted to see. The combination of the heat between the two, and Tyson's drawing power served as a hook to lure people in. As of right now, Alexis Davis is arguably the number one contender as she's rattled off five wins in a row. Most recently she defeated Jessica Eye and put in a dominant performance over former number 1 contender, Liz Carmouche. As much as Davis deserves a title shot, it's simply not going to happen in the foreseeable future. The UFC's number one priority is making money (like any business) and people simply wouldn't care for that match-up. There needs to be some kind of heat/story to get people talking and hook the fans in as Tyson did in 2002. Here are the top five money making ideas for Ronda Rousey's next opponent!
5 Miesha Tate
Yes, I am fully aware that Tate is 0-2 against Rousey. But the fact of the matter is that a star was born when Tate coached against Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter. That show transformed Rousey into a villain as she came off as erratic, mean and delusional while Tate came off as compassionate and extremely charming. She won over an entire fan base as you can see the reaction, posted above, was deafening as she entered the Octagon. Just as loud were the boo's in Rousey's post fight interview with Joe Rogan. There is just something so compelling when two women loathe each other as much as those two, and it definitely does not hurt that they're both really hot. They are both fully aware that their sex-appeal helps fuel the rivalry because the UFC's main fan base is still the 18-35 year old male demographic. From a fighting standpoint, Tate has also done better against Rousey than anyone else she has faced thus far. If she puts a few wins together over top contenders, there would definitely be talks of a third meeting between the two.
4 Cat Zingano
Cat Zingano has had such horrendous luck this year. She was originally slated to coach The Ultimate Fighter against Rousey but ended up tearing up her knee and needing surgery, so she was subsequently replaced by Miesha Tate. On January 14th, she received even worse news as her husband Mauricio Zingano committed suicide. It's going to be a long road back for Zingano but the fans will certainly be behind her when she and Rousey finally square off. Stylistically it's an intriguing match-up because Zingano is a nasty fighter, she's finished all her fights but one and has power in her hands to end the fight at any moment, even if she is trailing on the scorecards as we saw in her scrap with Miesha Tate.
3 Gina Carano
On paper, this fight makes no sense whatsoever. Gina Carano has not fought since 2009 and her last fight was a drubbing against Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino (formally known as Santos). At the same time, the fight actually does make sense as it would generate a ton of money. Carano was the first female fighter to ever go mainstream, although she never competed in the UFC. Her beauty, marketability and most of all, fighting skills were not enough to convince Dana White to allow female fighting in the UFC. He's also gone on record saying that Ronda has that "IT" factor, as to why he finally warmed up to the idea of women's MMA. He's also gone as far as saying: "This is the Ronda Rousey show". There may be some validity to his statements, but it makes Carano come off as chopped liver. Should this fight come to fruition, she would definitely have a chip on her shoulder and want to rain on the UFC's parade. There are also intense rumors circulating that this fight will be announced this week.
2 Holly Holm
There has been so much interest circulating around the former boxer as of late. She is a former WBC Welterweight champion and is widely regarded as the best Welterweight of all time. Yes, we've seen what happened to Art Jimmerson at UFC 1 and more recently to James Toney, but Holm is an entirely different case. She has spent the past four years training MMA in New Mexico at Greg Jackson's, which is arguably the best camp in the world right now. As a former boxer, she obviously packs dynamite in her fists but ironically, her best weapon is her kicks. She has finished 4 out of 7 fights via leg or head kicks, including this video of her almost decapitating Allanna Jones (At around the 30 second mark). Holm and her manager know how much she is worth and how much interest would be generated should she sign on to fight Rousey. At this current time, she is holding out for the right deal.
1 Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino
Even though Rousey holds UFC gold, "Cyborg" has been regarded as the best female fighter for the past five years. Unfortunately for her, she's made many dismal business decisions which have set her career back. For one, she got suspended for a year for using steroids (who's surprised here?). Secondly she hired Dana White's sworn enemy, Tito Ortiz, as her manager. Ortiz really got her off on the wrong foot when he called a press conference in an attempt to explain why it was impossible for his client to make the 135 weight limit to fight Rousey. He spent 15 minutes butchering the English language, then proceeded to have "Cyborg" weigh in on a scale that looked to be stolen from a high school gym. A mere month later, they completely changed their story and said they were holding out for more money... She has since cleaned up her act, and has switched managers and seems to be back on track. Regardless of all her nonsense, nobody can argue with her performances (destructions). A clash between Rousey and Justino would be the biggest women's fight in MMA history. It also has all the necessary heat to hook casual viewers as they've been talking an enormous amount of trash about each other over the past two years.