Reigning UFC women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm fights Miesha Tate at UFC 196 on March 5, and White told Big Boy TV (h/t MMA Fighting) in Los Angeles that whoever wins that bout "will fight Ronda probably in November."
(Warning: Video contains NSFW language.)
It stands to reason that the predicted fixture will be Rowdy's official return to the UFC. Even though November is still some nine months away, it's unlikely she'll risk a second career loss before even having her chance at defeating Holm in a rematch.
It was The Preacher's Daughter who handed Rousey her first defeat at UFC 193 last November, knocking Rowdy out in the second round with a smartly timed head kick.
Despite that setback, White tipped Rousey to come back as strong as ever, telling host Big Boy: "She's very intense. She's a badass, man. She'll be back."
Ever since Rowdy's shock defeat to Holm almost three months ago, the UFC has always teased a rematch as a firm possibility, and MMA Fighting's Luke Thomas believes Tate's addition to the mix was unnecessary:
Luke Thomas @SBNLukeThomas
Someone please ask White what changed between Holm-Rousey 2 being necessary to the pt his license should be revoked to Holm-Tate being made.1/20/2016, 7:31:02 PM
Rousey has already beaten Cupcake twice in the past four years, so some may see it as a disappointment if Tate were to somehow turn the tables at UFC 196 and set up a third encounter with Rousey. However, Rowdy has also needed time to recover since requiring plastic surgery following her loss to Holm.
For now, fans will be content just to hear Rousey has a 2016 return date in view, with the UFC undoubtedly looking to give its poster child all the time she needs to prepare for her comeback bout.
White also accepted blame for the part he played in Northcutt's first loss. He was suffering from strep throat when he faced Bryan Barberena at UFC on Fox 18 last Saturday and went on to lose via second-round submission.
The UFC president admitted he should have pulled the promotion's rising star out of the fixture, telling Big Boy that Northcutt and his father were adamant they wanted to fight (h/t MMA Fighting):
The kid was super sick and he still wanted to fight. His father said, listen we still want to take the fight, we still want to take the fight. I should have pulled the kid from the fight. He's 19 years old, he fought three times in [four] months. I should have pulled the kid from the fight.
Northcutt has risen through the UFC's ranks since White discovered the teenager's talents while filming his series Dana White: Looking for a Fight in 2015, winning his opening two fights under the promotion's banner.
BT Sport provided footage of the arm triangle that saw Barberena claim a surprise win over the youngster, who told Ariel Helwani of The MMA Hour (h/t MMA Fighting) his breathing had "never felt like that before":
BT Sport UFC @btsportufc
Wow! "@sagenorthcutt taps!" @bryan_barberena stops rising @ufc star Northcutt with an arm triangle! 👏 #UFCNewJersey https://t.co/0UNBWANZIH1/31/2016, 9:01:06 AM
White went on to say he "blew it" by allowing Northcutt to continue as normal, and one can assume the loss hasn't affected his estimations of the fighter.
Northcutt is still being tipped as a future superstar of the UFC, and Big Boy heaped praise on the promotion for consistently being able to replace its biggest faces with new names, to which White replied:
Well in fighting, there's always a new badass, man or woman, that's coming up. Believe me, I've been hearing it since: 'What are you gonna do when Chuck Liddell goes? What are you gonna do when Anderson Silva goes?' Y'know, Chris Weidman beat Anderson Silva.
Even in boxing, in its heyday, there was always a new guy. There are some champs that are less popular than others, but there's always a new tough guy, or girl now these days.
It's true that while fans admire long title reigns and dominant champions, the UFC is happy to see its belts change hands in shock results, just like Holm's defeat of Rousey at UFC 193.
That turnaround and constant sense of competition is what combat sports are all about, and the promotion is likely to continue thriving so long as its roster has a strong contingent of contenders always waiting in the wings.
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