Wow! Is all I can say about how quickly people can get ridiculous with their theories. Over the weekend Joe Rogan talked about a HUGE announcement regarding Ronda’s next opponent in the UFC. Since then fans and writers have gone Joe Rogan CRAZY with their speculation of who it could be. I am here to chill out most of the rumors and let you know who it really just might be.
Let’s start with Ronda’s timetable. She is shooting Entourage next in the Spring. Then she has the promotional tour for The Expendables 3 in the summer and she has said she will be ready come late summer.
Now, let’s stop all the Gina Carano talk right now. The only place you are going to see Carano and Ronda fight is on the big-screen. It is not going to happen in the UFC and certainly not next. First off, Carano is retired and I have not seen anywhere where she talks about coming out of retirement. Second off, she fights at featherweight and if Ronda moves up to fight her than it looks like she is ducking Cyborg who defeated Carano. For anybody thinking that Carano can just move down to bantamweight…. she struggled to make 140 lbs during her career. This fight makes no sense for Ronda other than two pretty fighters and box office draw.
For the people who think it is Cyborg I hate to say it but, no. It is most likely a no and very, very unlikely that she is next for Ronda. The UFC would have to buy her out of the three remaining fights on her Lion Fight contract and she has one left for Invicta FC. Also, Dana has already said she needs to make the weight at least twice before he makes that fight. I understand Dana has a history of contradicting himself but not this quickly. It makes more sense for the UFC to let her make her first attempt at bantamweight somewhere else. They are not about to build a big event around it. Cyborg and Ronda may happen but it will not be next. Sorry folks but we have to wait a little longer.
The two fighters in the UFC that are in line are Cat Zingano and Alexis Davis. If it is either of these fighters than Rogan has completely gone to the dark-side of hyperbole. If it is Zingano than why all the CRAZY hype about some big announcement. Zingano has been next in waiting for a while now and it has been her knee that has held up that fight. In fact it looks more like it is someone else other than Zingano based on Rogan. Her knee is on pace for her to be ready by late summer but it is not a guarantee that she will recover.
If it Davis it again seems strange about all the hype. Davis is a great fighter and someone who I think has a real chance to beat Ronda but she is not known to the casual fan. It is doubtful that a Ronda Rousey versus Alexis Davis fight is the big announcement that Rogan is teasing us all with. It should be the fight if Zingano cannot go and it would excite me but again not the causal fan who one day hopes to “train” UFC. Davis just does not have the name recognition yet.
Lack of name recognition is something that would prevent Lauren Murphy from being the big announcement. Murphy is the Invicta FC bantamweight champion, she is undefeated and there is a lot to be said for a fight between two undefeated champions. The only thing that prevents this fight from being next and it being a big announcement is Murphy’s lack of name recognition among the casual fan.
The biggest win of her career is over Miriam Nakamoto for the Invicta FC title. Within the fight world Nakamoto is well-known and that win means a lot but not as much to the casual fan. They see her 2-1 (1NC) record and they do not understand that she is a multiple world Muay Thai champion and Murphy is the only fighter to defeat her inside of the combat sports world. Right now Murphy lacks that one big name on her victims list that everyone knows.
That might all change this year if Cyborg has her way. When detailing her plans to move down to bantamweight one thing on her list was beating Murphy and then fighting Ronda. It is much easier to say you are going to beat Murphy than it is to actually do it. If they do fight Cyborg will be the favorite but I would pick Murphy for the upset. I do not think that Cyborg at bantamweight will hit harder than Nakamoto. Murphy took Nakamoto’s shots and kept coming forward. Cyborg will not have much if any strength advantage over Murphy. If these two do fight we might very well see Cyborg on her back receiving punishment on the ground for the first time. Also, more than any fighter at this level, Murphy continues to rapidly evolve with each fight. If Murphy does beat Cyborg than everybody will know her name and a fight between her and Ronda as two undefeated champions would be huge. That is the fight I see happening either on the NYE weekend or Super Bowl weekend card.
That leaves us with the only fighter that makes any kind of sense and that is Holly Holm (pictured). It is the only one that would warrant a major announcement right now. Holm has the highlight reel finishes. She is well-known to the casual fan due in part to fighting on AXS TV multiple times and her boxing background. It does not hurt that she is a part of Jackson/Winklejohn’s gym, one of the best in MMA. They are also good and getting their fighter’s names out there.
When it comes to Holm the hype is deserved. She has a strong Kick Boxing/Boxing background and is capable of knocking her opponents out with her fists, knees, elbows or kicks. Her training at a gym like Jackson/Winklejohn’s means that she gets the best training partners to work with and they will target her ground game for improvement. She is not Ronda’s equal on the ground but would hold the advantage over her in the standup. Holm would be by far the best striker that Ronda has faced to date if that is the announcement and it is an intriguing fight. One that would get the casual fan and hardcore fan’s attention. It is the only one that makes sense right now for a major announcement.
We will find out later this week if it truly is a major announcement or just Joe Rogan going all mad CRAZY on us. Either way it sounds like we will know who is next for Ronda by this time next week.
image credit – Getty