The widening divide in talent between Ronda Rousey and other female Ultimate Fighting Championship participants could strip the valuable selling point of suspense from her future fights.
UFC President Dana White said for the moment he’s not bothered by the chasm.
“Not concerned whatsoever. There’s still nine other girls out there in our top 10,” White said, noting that another UFC champion, Renan Barao, hadn’t lost in a decade before surrendering his belt to T.J. Dillashaw in May.
“Anybody on any given night can step into that octagon and have their worst performance, while their opponent can have the greatest performance of their life. ... There’s always somebody.”
That’s where the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division is now, with top contender (and Rousey’s likely New Year’s Eve weekend opponent) Cat Zingano not yet showing she’s substantially better than No. 2 contender Alexis Davis, who lost by technical knockout 16 seconds into her Saturday night fight against Venice’s Rousey (10-0) at Mandalay Bay.
Rousey, a former Olympic bronze medalist in judo, punched Davis in the face, grabbed her and flung her to the mat, held her by headlock and punched Davis in the face nine more times until the referee stopped the fight.
“Ronda’s great at what she does, is champion for a reason,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of things you wish you could’ve did. That’s [the UFC’s] job, to find people to give her a challenge. I would’ve loved to have seen what would’ve happened with more time. … Maybe another time.”
Rousey said in her quest to stand as the greatest women’s MMA fighter of all time, outcomes such as Saturday’s will happen.
She’s now won nine of her 10 MMA fights by first-round stoppage.
“It only seems like [there are no real challengers] because I am so motivated already, and if I stop being motivated, these fights would likely drag out a little longer,” Rousey said. “I have a lot of improvements to make. I want to retire undefeated, be known as one of the greatest of all time. That takes more work
than I’ve done so far.”
White has been in talks with former Strikeforce fighter turned film actress Gina Carano, but her lengthy layoff following a lopsided defeat to Cris “Cyborg” Justino would probably reduce that bout to a novelty fight.
Another possible outside challenger is former kickboxer/boxer Holly Holm.
White asked reporters late Saturday if they agreed he should negotiate further with the muscular Cyborg, who’s complained about the weight cut for a potential fight against Rousey at 135 pounds, and would be tested for performance-enhancing drugs.
No one hotly objected.
White said he doesn’t want it perceived that his organization aggressively pursues athletes who are under a cloud of performance-enhancing drug use suspicion.
“I just don’t want to hear your [complaining] if I do,” White said.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times