When Ronda Rousey successfully defended her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157 on Saturday night, the female star made history and broke barriers in the sport.
Now that Rousey is just another champion, it’s time to figure out which contender is next to challenge for her title.
All of the following fighters have earned the chance to be considered for a title shot, and these are the top names that UFC president Dana White and company will to choose from when picking the new No. 1 contender.
No. 3: Liz Carmouche
While many fans would hate the idea of an immediate rematch in any combat sport, the thought of Rousey taking on Carmouche one more time after their epic UFC 157 battle is intriguing.
Carmouche may have lost the fight, but a dangerous choke that almost defeated Rousey and a valiant effort proves the 29-year-old fighter is in the upper echelon of the division.
MMA fans want fights full of action, and as proved on Saturday night, Carmouche will help put on a great fight no matter what the outcome will be.
The company just hired a whole new crop of female fighters (h/t Ariel Helwani), so Carmouche likely won’t get the rematch she deserves immediately. But as long as she keeps fighting the way she did at UFC 157, she'll be back for another shot at the title soon enough.
No. 2: Sarah Kaufman
Rousey is looking to move forward after her win over Liz Carmouche at UFC 157, but to defend her UFC crown, the talented star may have to go against another old foe and the newly hired Sarah Kaufman.
The last Strikeforce women’s title match was Rousey defending her championship against Kaufman in the main event of Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman, which Rousey won in the first round via armbar.
Despite already losing to Rousey within the last calendar year, this was a fight not many fans got a chance to witness and would fit well on a UFC card. With a 15-2 career record, there are few fighters in the sport that have the credentials to warrant a title shot like Kaufman.
No. 1: Alexis Davis
The key for the UFC will be feeding Rousey challengers that will not only put on an exciting fight, but continue to bring more credibility to the champion’s reign.
That’s exactly what a longtime veteran like Alexis Davis offers the promotion.
The 28-year-old has fought professionally since 2007, amassing a career 13-5 record and a reputation as one of the toughest women in the world.
Rousey needs to prove her worth against the best, and Davis is the perfect test for the bantamweight champion.
With a black belt in both Japanese Jujutsu and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a long history in the sport and the desire to be the best, Davis should be the next challenger to Rousey’s title.