Ultimate Fighting Championship Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta said late Friday he's close to reaching a deal for women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey to fight top contender Cat Zingano on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas.
"Cat is certainly the No. 1 contender, and I'm thinking that more than likely will happen," Fertitta said.
Zingano (9-0) is coming off a third-round technical knockout of Amanda Nunes on Sept. 27 in Las Vegas.
Venice's Rousey (10-0) has been dominant in recent fights, scoring first-round TKOs of Alexis Davis in July and Sara McMann in February.
The Jan. 3 UFC card is headlined by the light-heavyweight title bout between champion Jon Jones and contender Daniel Cormier.
In addition to Zingano, Fertitta believes the UFC has another qualified challenger to Rousey in summer signee Holly Holm, who was recently deemed recovered from a broken arm sustained in the spring and assigned a Dec. 6 fight against Colorado's Raquel Pennington (4-4) in Las Vegas.
Fertitta said the bout is more than a showcase for Holm (7-0), a former pro boxer and kickboxer whom some speculate can give Rousey problems in a stand-up fight.
"She has to work her way through the system; we've got her in a tough fight," Fertitta said. "She's obviously extremely talented in the stand-up game, but is she well rounded enough to get into a position to challenge for a title?
"[Pennington] has good stand-up and an underrated ground game. It's going to be interesting to see if this fight remains standing."
Fertitta said Holm likely will need more than one victory to get a shot at Rousey.