Ronda Rousey continues to prove she’s the most dominant athlete in any sport, defeating Cat Zingano on Saturday to retain her UFC women's bantamweight title. Rousey made history by winning the championship fight in record time, forcing her opponent to submit in just 14 seconds.
The victory put Rousey’s career record at 11-0, giving her five consecutive wins defending her title. Four of those fights have ended in the first round, and Rousey has needed just 96 total seconds to win her last three fights.
Considering Rousey’s dominance, it might be difficult to find someone that can give her a legitimate challenge. She’s already beaten every woman who is in the top five of the bantamweight rankings.
Who will be Rousey’s next opponent? After the fight, the champ mentioned two names that she could meet in her next fight.
“I was really impressed with Holly Holm tonight. She’s a world champ boxer and I want to see how I stand against some(one) of that caliber. And she showed good take down defense,” Rousey said. “There’s also some history with Bethe Correia.”
Holm made her UFC debut on Saturday, defeating Raquel Pennington in the co-main event of UFC 184. Despite her victory, Holm wasn’t as impressive as many had expected. An 18-time world champion as a boxer, Holm entered Saturday’s fight as a heavy favorite, but she didn’t have an easy time getting a win in her first appearance inside the octagon.
She came to the UFC with a lot of hype, but it doesn’t look like Holm is ready to take on Rousey after just one fight with the promotion.
“Let’s let her get a couple fights and start to feel like the UFC is her house and home, and move up in the rankings and get some fights,” UFC president Dana White said. “She’s got some time to get there.”
It’s possible that Holm could be Rousey’s next opponent, since she won’t be stepping inside the octagon in the near future, getting ready to shoot a movie. However, Holm knows she probably needs more time before fighting the best the sport has to offer.
“I’d like to get my feet wet, and I finally got this first UFC fight over with,” she said. “I never pick a fight. I leave that up to my manager and trainer.”
Correia is No.7 in the bantamweight rankings, and she got her last two wins over Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler, both training partners of Rousey. She’s 9-0 in her MMA career, with three victories in UFC. Correia hasn’t been shy about wanting to fight Rousey, also criticizing the champ for her ventures outside of MMA.
Jessica Eye is the No.6 women’s bantamweight fighter, ranked higher than Correia or any UFC fighter that Rousey has yet to face. Eye is looking for a title shot, after her second-round TKO of Leslie Smith at UFC 180. She has just one UFC victory in three tries, however, losing a split decision to Alexis Davis at UFC 170, and having her win over Sarah Kaufman at UFC 166 overturned because of a failed drug test.
Cristaine “Cyborg” Justino might offer Rousey her biggest potential challenge. On the night before Rousey’s record-setting victory, Justino picked up her third straight victory, defeating Charmaine Tweet by TKO in just 46 seconds at Invicta FC 11.
Justino could eventually face Rousey, but there is one hurdle she must overcome. After defending her 145-pound title, Justino would have to drop down to 135 pounds, in order to challenge Rousey. She has said she’s determined to cut enough weight to fight Rousey, and she’s looking to do so by the end of 2015.
It remains to be seen if Justino will be a viable candidate to get her shot at the UFC champ, though White says Rousey would welcome a fight with her at 135 pounds. While she might eventually meet Rousey in the octagon, it won’t be in the near future.
“The thing with Cyborg is making that weight,” White said. “I just don’t know if she can make the weight. If she could make the weight a couple times, we’d see what we could do.”
Miesha Tate might be give Rousey a better fight than any other UFC fighter. The only bantamweight ranked behind Zingano defeated Sara McMann at UFC 183, who was ranked No.3 when the two met inside the octagon.
Tate could have a hard time getting a title shot, since she’s already lost to Rousey twice, but she has lasted a total of 15 minutes and 25 seconds in those two fights, Rousey’s nine other fights have lasted less than 10 minutes combined.
Even after making quick work of Zingano, Rousey said she would fight her again. Rousey took nearly eight months off in between her last two fights, and she had a 10-month break before her first UFC title defense.