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Ronda Rousey to Fight Miesha Tate Next, Says UFC President Dana White

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 27:  (L-R) Opponents Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate face off during the UFC 168 weigh-in at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 27, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images
Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2016

UFC President Dana White has confirmed the new women’s bantamweight champion, Miesha Tate, will defend her title against Ronda Rousey next. 

Tate beat former titleholder Holly Holm at UFC 196 on Saturday via submission, and speaking in the wake of the result, White revealed she’s likely to face Rousey for a third time.

“I think that Ronda now will fight Miesha Tate for the title," White said, per Brett Okamoto of ESPN. "That's what's going to happen. That's what I said before this fight even happened. Whoever wins tonight will fight Ronda for the title."

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 5:   Miesha Tate celebrates her submission victory over Holly Holm after their women's bantamweight championship  bout during the UFC 196 in the MGM Grand Garden Arena on March 5, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Brandon Magnus/Z
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Rousey, a former champion herself, was beaten by Holm in shock circumstances at UFC 193 in November last year—the first loss of her professional MMA career. In her two previous bouts with Tate, she triumphed on both occasions via armbar.

Tate enjoyed one of the finest nights of her career on Saturday, choking out Holm in the final round of an absorbing bout. Here’s a reminder of the extraordinary finish, per BT Sport UFC:

It was a result that has certainly shaken up the women’s bantamweight division, and as noted by Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, Rousey may not be too disheartened by the outcome of this one:

Indeed, had the UFC scheduled a bout between Rousey and Tate without this latest title change, it would have been uninspiring given how the previous two fights have gone. But with the new champion having taken out the fighter who dethroned Rousey, there’s be a huge sense of intrigue behind a third meeting.

Rousey has beaten Tate with an armbar twice before.
Rousey has beaten Tate with an armbar twice before.Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Rousey hasn’t been back in action since her loss, and it’s unknown when she will return to the Octagon. As reported by Okamoto, White revealed he exchanged text messages with the former champion after the bout.

“Ronda wasn't watching the fight," White stated. "I text Ronda, and she said, 'What happened?' I said, 'Miesha just choked her unconscious.' She said, 'Looks like I gotta get back to work.’”

Nevertheless, Luke Thomas of MMA Fighting feels as though Rousey could face Holm again in the future regardless of the result here:

It’s remarkable to think that after such dominance from Rousey in this division for so long, there are three competitors who will each feel confident of ending this calendar year as the champion. And for Tate, perhaps this win is the boost she needs as she looks set to complete a trilogy with Rowdy.

With other fighters in the weight class stepping up, it’s vital Rousey takes her time in her recovery and only comes back when she’s at full tilt. As was evident by Tate’s display at UFC 196, should Rousey step into the Octagon against her later this year, she’d be going up against a foe who is both improved and emboldened.

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