It’s unknown exactly when Ronda Rousey will return to the octagon, but one thing appears to be for certain: the biggest name in UFC’s women’s division will go at least one year without fighting.
Rousey hasn’t fought since she suffered her first loss at UFC 193 on Nov. 15, 2015, dropping her bantamweight title to Holly Holm. There had been speculation that she would highlight the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12 of this year, but UFC president Dana White says that won’t be the case.
“She's definitely not fighting in New York,” White said on the most recent edition of the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast. “I'm actually going to start building the New York card this week.”
The news shouldn’t come as a shock, since White has indicated in the past that Rousey might not return until 2017. Sources tell FOX Sports that Rousey is planning to have her comeback fight sometime soon, possibly before the end of 2016. UFC 206 is set for Dec. 10 in Toronto, but she’s more likely to fight at UFC 207, which will take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Dec. 30.
T-Mobile Arena was the site for UFC 200 on July 9, as well as UFC 202 on Saturday, which was highlighted by the main event between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz. Rousey might have entered her last fight as the top star in mixed martial arts, but it’d be hard to make the argument that she’s UFC’s No.1 fighter now.
McGregor has fought three times since last November, headlining pay-per-views that could end up generating a total of around 5 million buys. Rousey’s fight against Holm reportedly helped make UFC 193 the fifth-best selling PPV in the company’s history.
A rematch with Holm seemed to be inevitable last year, but now it looks like Rousey might not ever get her chance to defeat the woman that knocked her out. Since UFC 193, Rousey has lost twice in a row, first dropping the belt to Miesha Tate at UFC 196 and then losing a unanimous decision to Valentina Shevchenko last month.
Both Rousey and White have indicated that her return fight would be for the women’s bantamweight title, which would give her a bout against Amanda Nunes. Nunes won the belt by knocking out Tate in the first round of the UFC 200 main event, and she’s still searching for her next opponent.