Holly Holm May Fight Another Opponent Before Ronda Rousey Rematch

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2015

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 15:  (R-L) Holly Holm of the United States punches Ronda Rousey of the United States in their UFC women's bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 193 event at Etihad Stadium on November 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

Ronda Rousey has left no doubt she intends to get a rematch with UFC women's bantamweight champion Holly Holm; the only question is when the two will oppose one another again in the Octagon.

"I need to come back. I need to beat this chick," said Rousey in an interview with Ramona Shelburne for ESPN The Magazine. (Note: Link contains NSFW language.) "Who knows if I'm going to pop my teeth out or break my jaw or rip my lip open. I have to f-----g do it."

Holm's manager, Lenny Fresquez, cast some doubt that Holm would immediately take on Rousey in her first title defense, telling the Los Angeles Times' Lance Pugmire that UFC threw out the prospect of a fight on July 9 at UFC 200 in Las Vegas.    

"I’m not sure Ronda will be ready for a July fight," Fresquez said. "She took a severe beating, and I don’t think it’s in her best interest to take the next fight so fast. They told me she’s been ready and cleared, but …"

Instead, Fresquez identified Miesha Tate as a more likely option for his client.

"We’d like to fight Miesha," he said. "We understand there are risks, but Holly’s a dominant champion, and she wants to fight the best. Right now, Miesha is the best."

However, UFC President Dana White told Pugmire that regardless of what Fresquez says, her next fight will be vs. Rousey in July.

Following Rousey's defeat to Holm, UFC suspended her for up to 180 days for medical reasons. The 28-year-old was immediately hospitalized after the fight, and she needed plastic surgery to repair a cut in her lip.

"It might be three to six months before I can eat an apple, let alone take an impact," Rousey told Shelburne.

A rematch between Holm and Rousey would unquestionably be a profitable fight and potentially one of the highest-grossing bouts in UFC history. Still, Rousey can't afford to rush her return to the Octagon.

Meanwhile, Holm has every right to look in a different direction should Rousey not be physically ready to fight in the summer. Tate is the No. 2-ranked fighter in UFC's women's bantamweight division, so she'd be the best challenger for Holm if Rousey is unavailable.

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