Joe Rogan knows some “secret stuff” regarding Ronda Rousey’s next opponent, and if his recent comments are any indication, fans may be picking their jaws off the floor when the UFC makes an official announcement.
The UFC women’s bantamweight champ puts in work like a full-time mommy with kids to feed. Along with numerous photo shoots and television appearances, Rousey is juggling multiple roles in major upcoming Hollywood films.
There’s also the fact that she is coming off two UFC title defenses within the last three months.
It has only been a little over a week since Rousey dropped fellow Olympian Sara McMann in the first round with a liver shot at UFC 170, and the MMA world is already buzzing about her next opponent. Rogan claimed to have an inside scoop when speaking with KROQ’s Kevin & Bean Show on Friday in Los Angeles (h/t MMAFighting.com):
Oh, you're so incorrect [that there aren’t any challenges left for Rousey]. I wish I could tell you what I know. I wish I could tell you. I know some secret stuff. I know some secret stuff, but I can't tell you.
You might actually know, but I can't tell you. I can say no more than I've already said. I will tell you this, and this is a KROQ exclusive, within the next probably week or so a huge announcement will come about women's fighting and I'll be back in [the studio] and we'll talk some more. It's going to be crazy. Madness. I wish I could [talk about it now], but I would betray the confidence of my friend and employer.
The only viable options for contenders currently available on the UFC roster are Alexis Davis and Cat Zingano. Since the UFC acquisition, MMA pundits pegged McMann as Rousey’s toughest test in the bantamweight division. Still, the pay-per-view sales for the actual bout were considerably underwhelming, especially after UFC President Dana White told Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole that Rousey was the biggest star in UFC history.
It’s a pipe dream at this point to think Rousey vs. Davis would do any better. As for Zingano, there is no timetable for her return after suffering a torn ACL that knocked her out of the title fight back in May of last year. Ed Soares, Zingano’s manager, recently told USA Today that she still wants to fight Rousey, and she could be ready “as early as June.”
Who do you want to see Ronda Rousey fight next?
But honestly, would a fight announcement pitting Rousey against Davis or Zingano go over as “huge” for the fans?
The UFC is all about putting on marquee bouts and giving the fans the fights they want to see.
If it’s just about the fans, the obvious choice for Rousey’s next opponent would be Invicta featherweight champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, whom many consider the top women’s fighter on the planet.
Unfortunately, the fight doesn’t make much sense from purely a business perspective, which ultimately led to White swatting down the idea at the UFC 170 post-fight press conference.
During an appearance on Inside MMA (h/t MMAFighting.com), Cyborg admitted she could make 135 pounds to fight Rousey, but she was discouraged from staying at the weight by her doctors. Unless the UFC plans on adding a women’s featherweight division, it would be ludicrous to put its mainstream star in jeopardy against a fighter with a one-time deal.
Another option is Holly Holm.
The women’s boxing legend has amassed a 6-0 professional record since making the transition to MMA, and she has expressed interest in fighting Rousey in the past.
Initially, White seemed confident in getting a deal done, but any hope of serious contract negotiations fell dead in the water when Holm’s camp asked for six figures, along with a guaranteed shot at Rousey (h/t Sherdog.com).
The UFC will hopefully shed some light on this “huge announcement” Rogan is hinting at in the coming weeks. Until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed that the premature hype is warranted.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.