Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche finally faced off Saturday night in the main event of UFC 157. And Rousey did not disappoint, fighting through an early standing-submission attempt from a very game Carmouche to win by way of her patented armbar.
As she had been throughout the week, Carmouche was equal to the moment. Despite the fact that she succumbed in the first round as all of Rousey's other opponents had, she can claim a moral victory of sorts after lasting longer than any previous opponent, tapping at 4:49 of the first round.
But Rousey won, and the popular champion will move on to her next challenge. So what might that challenge be?
Though many of the biggest names in women's MMA remain outside the UFC, UFC president Dana White has made a conscious effort to build up the stable at 135 pounds, which is the UFC's only women's division for the foreseeable future. So while a mega-collision with someone like Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos doesn't appear to be in the offing, there are still plenty of good options.
The most obvious is a rematch with the only Rousey rival besides Santos who brings significant heat: Miesha Tate. Tate has repeatedly asked for another shot at Rousey, who bent Tate's elbow 90 degrees in the wrong direction the first time they fought back in March 2012.
Still, before this match, Tate had lasted longer than anyone else with Rousey. She is currently set to face undefeated Cat Zingano in April. She will have her work cut out for her in that one, but if she can get past Zingano, her path to Rousey should be clear.
If she can't, there are other possibilities for Rousey. Chief among them is some Olympian-on-Olympian violence with wrestler Sara McMann, a very accomplished and likable fighter in her own right.
Meanwhile, other women will fight, and new challengers will emerge. Rousey's UFC story, and the UFC's WMMA infrastructure, are still just getting started.
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