A lot of people were not too keen on Holly Holm having to have an instant rematch against Ronda Rousey after she took the title via TKO in the second round. It is not that Rousey does not deserve a shot to reclaim her title, despite the very brutal finish in their first fight. It is that it would require Holm, and uninjured champion, to sit out until the challenger was ready to fight which could come at its earliest this summer. Holm, had professed to want to fight before then and at the age of 34 her time is limited at the top of the heap. This was revealed by none other than UFC president Dana White. The thing he did not reveal was her opponent and when the match up would come. He did say Rousey would be back before the end of the year but did not give any timetable for that either just saying it would happen before 2016 came to a close.
The division is relatively open with Rousey’s loss, but UFC matchmakers might have to factor in that if Holm losses the title, then the new champion would have to fight Rousey. Now, that might mean some deserving fighters are not going to get the chance.
The most obvious choice would be Miesha Tate. She is the number two ranked fighter behind Rousey, is still young at 29 years of age, has exposure due to the stint on TUF and has won four straight against tough competition. Now, if she wins great because she does deserve a shot, but then she would be stuck with facing Rousey again and no one wants that fight. plus, it would not sell due to people having seen this fight twice, and Rousey would be facing an opponent that did not dethrone her. I would be happier to see Tate face off with Cat Zingano in a five round fight. A lot of people were still high on Zingano despite her quick loss to Rousey and thought she posed a legitimate threat to the then champion. plus, she already has a win over Tate, so that should motivate her to fight this fight. Plus, if Tate can beat her it gives the UFC the storyline that she is out avenging losses.
Julianna Pena was making waves with her three fight win streak and calling out of the then champion Rousey, but she has a bigger fight ahead of her. She has more than likely broken the UFC Fighter Code of Conduct policy by getting into drunken bar fight brawls and getting the cops called on her. Even if she is cleared of the charges, it is going to take a while and she will have to sit on the sidelines.
Almost every other fighter int he division is coming off a loss except one which is realistically the smart choice. 27 year old Brazilian bomber Amanda nunes seems like the best choice. She sits at 4-1 in the UFC with her only loss coming to Cat Zingano after she was winning the fight but gassed and was beaten in the third round. That is sandwiched around two first round finishes against relative unknowns, but also followed up by two first round finishes of Shayna Baszler, a fid of Rousey, and Sara McMann who she legitimately KO’d in the fight. In fact, 9 of her 11 wins have come via first round stoppage. A feat only matched by Rousey.
Also, the biggest advantage is she is a dangerous striker, so she will give Holm an interesting fight since she has such stellar standup. If Nunes manages to finish or get past Holm, she still poses the same threat that we have seen as a weakness in Rousey’s game, the striking. This way fans will still be intrigued, especially if Nunes knocks out the women who knocked out Rousey.