On Friday morning, SoCal native Ronda Rousey announced on Good Morning America that she would be defending her women’s UFC bantamweight title against former boxing champion Holly Holm on January 2.
Holly Holm, aka “The Preacher’s Daughter,” is one of the most decorated challengers to face Rousey in the UFC. A former boxer, Holm amassed an astounding 33-2-3 as a boxer before entering MMA in 2011. Holm is undefeated as a mixed martial artist, most recently dominating Marion Reneau in her second UFC bout last month.
Holm was designated as the next challenger for Rousey’s title despite UFC officials previously announcing that number one ranked contender Miesha “Cupcake” Tate would be next. In her previous two bouts with Rousey, Tate lost by arm-bar in one-sided fashion. Tate rebounded from her 2013 loss to Rousey by reeling off four consecutive victories, including wins over top ten ranked competitors Liz Carmouche, Sara McMann and Jessica Eye.
Despite Tate being the more obvious choice, it is assumed that Holm was chosen due to the fact that she is a new face in the minds of fans and would be a bigger draw on pay-per-view. Her boxing credentials presumably make a bout with the champion more competitive on paper.
Rousey could well be starting to be a victim of her own success as fans are becoming more cautious of her pay-per-views since she finishes fights in the opening frame. It is difficult to get fans to shell out the money for an event when it is possible to catch the main-event in an Instagram video.
While Holm is among the most formidable challengers in the division, Rousey will be heavily favored in their bout. Her ability to take fights to the ground and improved striking would look to make her a handful for the challenger. Rousey is also the best grappler in the women’s division and could foreseeably overwhelm Holm on the mat.Feb 28, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Raquel Pennington (red gloves) and Holly Holm (blue gloves) during their Women
Assuming Rousey is victorious, she will essentially have cleaned out the division. To date, she has defeated seven of the current top ten ranked fighters in her division. Holm will be the eighth that she is scheduled to face.
If “Rowdy” is successful she could set up one of the biggest events of 2016. The UFC announced in July that they would be holding the landmark UFC 200 event next summer. The event is expected the be the biggest in UFC and MMA history and it is hard to imagine the promotion not choosing their biggest star to headline such a monumental show.
The most obvious bout that would make sense would be the long awaited super-fight between Rousey and Cris “Cyborg” Justino. No news has been made regarding “Cyborg” in recent weeks however the timeframe would allow for the Brazilian to take a test bout at 135 in Invicta FC before facing Rousey in the Octagon.
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Should “Cyborg” not be able to make weight for the bout, it can be assumed that rival Miesha Tate would be headline the show opposite her rival as the two have expressed dislike toward each other throughout their careers. A rematch with Holly Holm would also be likely in the event that Rousey unexpectedly loses her bout in January.
The card would also likely be bolstered by some of the UFCs other stars such as Conor McGregor, Robbie Lawler, or Cain Velasquez. Regardless, it will most likely be Rousey who carries the show on what is expected to be the UFCs biggest night.
In 2009, the UFC held the landmark UFC 100 event that at the time broke all gate and pay-per-view records for the promotion and is regarded as the biggest night in MMA history. The card was headlined by a heavyweight title unification bout between stars Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir and featured a title defense by then welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.