Ex-bantamweight queen Ronda Rousey could return to the Octagon later than expected after undergoing minor knee surgery on Wednesday.
"I'm hoping we're going to get Ronda back this year,” UFC President Dana White said on “SportsCenter” Thursday. “She actually just had surgery yesterday on her knee. Nothing serious, just get in there, scope it and clean it out a little bit. She feels great. Her spirits are great. She's been training.
“So if she fights, I’m hoping she fights in December. If not, she would probably fight at the New Year’s show, beginning of the year, or something.”
White previously said that Rousey would be likely to return in November or December, making it possible for the Olympic judoka to compete on the promotion’s Nov. 12 event at Madison Square Garden in New York. Now it appears that is no longer a possibility.
Rousey has not fought since suffering a second-round knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 last November. Prior to that defeat the 29-year-old California native was unbeaten in her first 12 bouts, finishing all but one of her opponents inside of a round.
White said on Thursday that Rousey will get an immediate 135-pound title shot upon her return. Miesha Tate, who defeated Holm for the belt in March, is slated to defend her championship against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 on July 9.
“If Miesha Tate’s still the champion, she will fight Miesha Tate. Whoever has the belt is who Ronda will fight,” White said.
White didn’t rule out the possibility of a rematch with Holm, but the Jackson-Wink MMA product would have be champion again by the time Rousey returns for that to happen.
"Injuries happen in this sport and a fight is made. Somebody falls out and somebody else slides in," White said. "I'm not even saying Holly Holm couldn't be the champion by the time Ronda comes back. So, whoever holds that belt when Ronda's ready.”