Ronda Rousey has a harsh opinion of her potential rival. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
If Ronda Rousey’s post-fight victory lap at UFC 190 seemed only slightly less abbreviated than her 34-second dismantling of Bethe Correia in Saturday’s main event, it was probably because the shadow of Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino continues to loom large.
Rousey’s victory over Correia was considered to be a foregone conclusion from the time the bout was announced. The Brazilian laid claim to the title shot by defeating Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler, two of Rousey’s “Four Horsewomen” stablemates who were far removed from serious rankings consideration. Still, it made for a good storyline in the weeks leading up to the fight, but as she so often does, Rousey removed all suspense from the proceedings in short order.
For the third time in her last four outings, the Olympic judoka won via knockout or technical knockout, this time sending her foe face first to the canvas with a crushing right hand. It was vindicating performance for Rousey, as she once again proved she is far from one-dimensional.
“I felt like it’s a challenge to actually be able to get a knockout like that,” Rousey said on Fox Sports 1. “I want to silence every kind of criticism one at a time, and I think I silenced one tonight.”
“You don’t see women knock women out like that; the way that she knocked her out,” UFC President Dana White said in a separate interview on the network. “She can do it all. Ronda just gets better every time she fights.”
One woman in particular might disagree with White’s claim. Devastating power has been Justino’s calling card throughout her professional career, and it was once again on display in a 45-second stoppage of the overmatched Faith Van Duin at Invicta FC 13 on July 9. Still, that was a featherweight bout, and “Cyborg” must prove she can make the bantamweight limit before she can even think about stepping into the Octagon with Rousey.
The champ has no plans on compromising in order to make that fight happen.
“I prefer [to fight] who makes weight and doesn’t do drugs. The fight’s there for Cyborg. She can make 145 pumped full of steroids; she can move down without them,” Rousey said. “I’m not going anywhere. I don’t see why everyone acts like I have so much to prove when she has to prove she can actually fight legitimately.”
White, meanwhile, affirmed that the fight is on the table for Justino as long as she proves capable of making it to 135 pounds. The Brazilian is likely to compete for Invicta again later this year, at which time she is expected to begin her weight cut. Whether that ends up being at 135 or 140 pounds remains to be seen.
“She didn’t make the weight yet. The day she makes the weight and does what she’s supposed to do, that fight is on,” White said. “You think I don’t want that fight? Now I’m changing my mind on that fight. I think that fight does 2.5 million [pay-per-view] buys. That fight is massive.”
For now, though, it appears that Miesha Tate will get a third opportunity to dethrone Rousey. Tate regained the No. 1 contender’s spot with a decision triumph over Jessica Eye at UFC on Fox 16 last weekend. She remains the only person to make it past the first round against Rousey.
If that’s what the fans want to see and she’s the No. 1 contender, she deserves another shot,” Rousey said. “She’s gonna get beat again, but beating Miesha seems to be good for both of our careers, so why not?”
The last time Rousey and Tate fought, it served as the co-main event of UFC 168, which was headlined by a middleweight title rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva. That card reportedly did more than 1 million pay-per-view buys. With that in mind, Rousey has targeted an ideal spot for her next title defense if everything works out.
“I would like to be on the [Jose] Aldo-[Conor] McGregor card if possible,” she said. “I think that’d be really cool, but it’s up to the UFC , not me.”
Putting the promotion’s two biggest stars on the same card sounds like a solid plan to White.
“I would absolutely consider that,” he said.