Note: This is a column I wrote for MMALatest
It was business as usual for UFC women’s bantamweight champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey, who submitted Cat Zingano in with a straight armbar 14 seconds into the first round of their title fight.
A submission win is something are used to seeing from the Rowdy one, who now improves her record to 11-0 (5-0 in the UFC). Yet some folks were surprised when Rousey consoled a visibly upset Zingano (9-1, 2-1) after a brief celebration. After all this was the same woman who refused to shake hands with rival Miesha Tate after their rematch at UFC 168.
After the fight, Joe Rogan asked “what’s next on the horizon?” The champion listed a couple of prospective opponents including undefeated Brazilian prospect Bethe Correia and Holly Holm, who picked up a split-decision win over Raquel Pennington in last night’s co-headliner.
As she hugged Zingano, Rousey spoke some words that I thought were along the lines of “I’m sorry,” “better luck next time” or “hey we’ll do this again later.” Apparently the latter of the three was right as the Rowdy one confirmed in an interview with Fox Sports offered Zingano a rematch.
“I said ‘I’m happy to do this again anytime,’ you know?” Rousey said. “It’s hard to feel like you tested yourself when something like that happens, so I think if we fought again it would be very, very different, just like when me and Miesha Tate fought again.”
After the bell, Zingano blasted out of the gate and went straight for Rousey, who used her opponent’s momentum to flip her over and secure the armbar. In a post-fight interview that included no less than four F-bombs, Zingano said she wants another fight against Rousey.
It may take a couple of fights but I think we will see these two lock up again in the future.
Zingano is right under Rousey in the women’s bantamweight rankings. Very few women fighters can match her combined power and grappling. She’s also overcome a lot of adversity to get to and stay in the top contender’s spot. Coming off an injury and losing a husband in the process shows the “Alpha” cat’s heart.
The two also have a respect for each other, not only in their respective skills but also what their presence means to the sport.
I can hear Tate fans screaming “Ronda should give Miesha a rematch.” Calm down, we’ll probably Rousey vs. Tate III down the road. Like James T. Kirk and Khan Noonien Singh, Tate’s and Rousey’s paths seem to have a way of finding each other.
It may one or two fights against the likes of Tate, Sarah Kaufman, Alexis Davis or anyone else in the top 10, but I think Zingano can easily get back into title contention. When she does face Rousey again, I hope that the champion is right in that it will be a much different fight.