Ronda Rousey has earned right to rematch with Holly Holm, UFC president says
By producing the remarkable upset of Ronda Rousey, Holly Holm has earned the opportunity to duplicate it.
Dana White, the Ultimate Fighting Championship president, told reporters Sunday in Melbourne, Australia, that he’ll pursue a rematch between his former champion and the still-unbeaten Holm, who stands as the first-ever boxing and UFC champion.
“A rematch is what a lot of people want to see,” White said after Holm (10-0) knocked out Rousey (12-1) early in the second round with a devastating left kick to the head that rendered the former champion briefly unconscious and sent her to a local hospital for precautionary reasons.
“Obviously … biggest upset ever,” White told Fox Sports 1 after the fight. “When you look at how Ronda is revered — baddest woman on the planet — definitely.”
White said following Rousey’s knockout of Brazil’s Bethe Correia on Aug. 1 that he was leaning toward making No. 1 contender Miesha Tate the next foe for Rousey.
But conversations with matchmakers inside UFC offices shifted the focus to Holm since Rousey had beaten Tate twice already and because Holm, a former boxing world champion, boasted a one-inch height and reach advantage on Rousey.
Something different became something monumental.
“I made this fight. This is the fight I went after,” White said. “Holly — we said it all the time — had the range, uses her distance very well, has great head kicks. Everything we talked about is essentially what went down.”
The southpaw Holm not only slipped out of Rousey’s usually lethal grasps in the first round, she repeatedly landed left-handed punches to Rousey’s head and once buried a left elbow to her face.
“The fight went down the way I thought it could go down … that’s the way I expected Holly to fight,” White said. “Obviously, I thought Ronda would have more answers.”
In the second round, a left-handed punch led to Rousey falling to the canvas. As she rose, Holm, a former pro kickboxer, unleashed a devastating left head kick that knocked Rousey out 59 seconds into the round.
White stopped short of saying Holm “exposed” Rousey, although the former champion will likely revert to a fight plan relying on her judo strengths should she participate in a rematch.
“I don’t think Ronda was exposed. I think Ronda got beat tonight,” White said.
The stunning event came after Rousey, the 28-year-old from Venice, acted out of character by confronting Holm at the weigh-in a day earlier, charging at the New Mexico-based challenger and labeling the “Preacher’s Daughter” a phony.
Rousey endured a turbulent training camp that included her mother’s highly critical comments of Rousey’s trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan, whose specialty is boxing.
It will also be interesting to see if Rousey retains Tarverdyan, or lessens his role, after he crafted a plan prodding Rousey to box.
She also hung up on a conference call with reporters when asked about a relationship with UFC heavyweight Travis Browne. And she fended off questions last week about domestic violence when an episode from her past, a physical confrontation with an ex-boyfriend detailed in her book, was reviewed.
“It’s been an interesting camp and a rough couple of months for her,” White said. “It’s impossible to say that doesn’t effect her. She’s the mentally strongest person I’ve ever met, a workhorse, unlike any person I’ve ever met. If anybody can deal with it, it’s her.
“But at the end of the day, Ronda Rousey’s human.”
White said he originally planned for Rousey to next fight at UFC 200 in July. She’s involved in a film project, starring in Patrick Swayze’s former bouncer role in a remake of “Roadhouse.”
Rousey has earned an immediate rematch if she wants it, White said, but he wouldn’t commit to a date.
One earlier possibility could be April 23 at Madison Square Garden in New York should the UFC win a federal injunction that would allow New York to permit mixed martial arts fighting.
“I don’t think there’s any rush,” White said. “She still has a movie to film, doing all the things she has to do before she fights again. I wouldn’t [expect] her back anytime soon.”
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