Mark it down. I am predicting right now that Rousey, 26, has a bright future ahead. But that starts with her next fight, which will be the second women's championship fight in UFC history. Who will be the next to step up?
Though a megafight with heated rival Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos doesn't appear to be in the works anytime soon (mainly because Santos has refused to meet Rousey at 135 pounds, and the UFC will not create a 145-pound division). But there are still options, and those options are expanding seemingly every day.
UFC president Dana White announced this weekend that the promotion has signed several new female fighters and has plans for a 15-member women's stable in the near future. Among the standouts the UFC has confirmed signing are Cat Zingano (7-0), Alexis Davis (13-5), Sara McMann (6-0) and Rousey rival Miesha Tate (13-3).
I believe the next fight should and will be Tate—assuming Tate can get past Zingano in April. If Zingano pulls the upset, it appears she might get the next shot. But if Tate emerges, she's a no-brainer as Rousey's next opponent.
Why? Tate is the only fighter besides Cyborg with whom Rousey appears to have a personal beef. In their first meeting back in March, Rousey scored a technical submission win with a graphic armbar victory.
But Tate showed great toughness in refusing to tap, scoring a moral victory of sorts by lasting longer against Rousey than any other fighter had to that point: 4:27 into the first round. Carmouche, by the way, broke that record Saturday night by lasting until 4:49 of the first round.
Rousey and Carmouche are both accomplished fighters and interesting people, but there was no major friction between them. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when you're talking about two women as likable as those two, but it might be time to switch it up.
With Cyborg off the table at least for now, it would be interesting for the public to watch Rousey circle and attack someone she personally appears to dislike.
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