Ronda Rousey Says She'd Only Consider Return to MMA to Fight Gina Carano

Doric SamJune 14, 2022

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 28: Ronda Rousey and La'akea Makalapuaokalanipo Browne celebrate National Burger Day at the friends and family preview party for the new Irv's Burgers on May 28, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic)
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Ronda Rousey hasn't competed in mixed martial arts since she lost a championship fight to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016. But she recently revealed that there's one opponent who can pull her out of retirement.

"There's only one person … there's only one person I would come back for," Rousey said on an episode of The Kurt Angle Show (h/t USA Today's Farah Hannoun) "I mean, I've said it a million times. It's not like it's something new. [I'd come back] for Gina, man—Gina Carano."

One of the pioneers of women's MMA, Carano compiled a 7-1 record while competing for EliteXC and Strikeforce from 2006 to 2009. She hasn't competed since losing to Cris Cyborg in a fight that determined Strikeforce's first-ever women's champion at 145 pounds.

Rousey, who is the current WWE SmackDown women's champion, is one of the most popular MMA fighters of all time. She went 12-2 while competing for Strikeforce and the UFC. She was Strikeforce's last women's bantamweight champion until its acquisition by the UFC, making her the company's inaugural titleholder.

The 35-year-old holds the UFC record for most title defenses by a woman with six, and she became the first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2018.

Rousey explained that Carano is the person who influenced her fighting career, so it would be an honor to share the octagon with her.

"She's the reason why I got into fighting. She's the reason why I knew it was a possibility. I will always be forever grateful," Rousey said. "If she ever was like, 'Ronda, I want to fight you tomorrow at 205 pounds'—like, whatever the hell she'd want."

Carano revealed in 2019 that she was once offered $1 million to fight Rousey. However, the fight never came to fruition because of a miscommunication with UFC President Dana White.

Rousey reiterated that she'd go to any length to fight Carano and that her offer will stand for as long as it takes. However, she is also aware of the likelihood that the matchup will never happen.

"If she wanted to come into my backyard and do the Rocky thing, you know, 'Ding-ding,' and we just do it in the backyard, I don't care. I will fight Gina wherever she wants," she said. "And if she doesn't want to, forever, I will leave that offer there. It's a respect thing, not like a, 'F--k you, I'm coming to get you.' It's just like, 'Hey, if you ever want to pull that card out, it's there.' I love her. Thank you, Gina, for everything you've done."