Ronda Rousey has long been asked about a fight with “Cyborg.” | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Ronda Rousey’s title defense against Cat Zingano at UFC 184 got a lot more interesting this past week.
The women’s bantamweight champion was elevated to headlining status when Chris Weidman was forced to withdraw from his scheduled main event clash against Vitor Belfort due to a rib injury. While that news was certainly disappointing to the Olympic judoka -- two of her last three bouts came on cards headlined by the middleweight king -- she is more than comfortable with the spotlight fixated on her.
“It is what it is,” Rousey said during an interview on Fox Sports 1. “I really like being the co-main, especially with him, just because it has that feeling of familiarity now. I also know that this isn’t my first rodeo. This isn’t my first time headlining. I’m going to do the best I can to carry the card now.”
UFC 184 takes place at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 28 and airs on pay-per-view. While injuries and card reshuffling have robbed the vent of some of its star power, Rousey is confident that her clash with Zingano will be worth the price of admission.
“I definitely believe this is my toughest fight. Cat Zingano is nobody to be trifled with. I was thinking back that UFC 168 with Miesha Tate was my most exciting fight ever, and it was on the most highly-anticipated card in the last two years,” Rousey said. “Cat really dominated and convincingly won over Miesha, and I can expect that that fight with Cat is going to be much more exciting than the Miesha fight. It’s definitely deserving of a headline fight, and I hope the fans realize the kind of fight they have on their hands.”
Perhaps more noteworthy than Rousey’s promotion to headliner was the announcement that Invicta Fighting Championships will hold its 11th event one day earlier in the same city. Atop that card will be longtime Rousey nemesis Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, who will defend the promotion’s featherweight crown against Charmaine Tweet. That the UFC recently resumed negotiations with Cyborg only adds to the intrigue.
Rousey says she won’t let such speculation distract her from the task at hand, even with her rival potentially looming.
“I’m just really focusing on Cat and that’s it. Cyborg’s tried to show up at my weigh-ins before, which I didn’t even notice. It’s actually kind of funny,” Rousey said. “She showed up [before Rousey fought Sarah Kaufman in Strikeforce] and tried to jump up and gain my attention, but I was so focused on what I was doing. I was so focused on Kaufman that I didn’t even see her. I didn’t even notice until afterward somebody told me.
“I’ll deal with Cyborg when it’s time to deal with her, and when she comes around and when she’s tired of really dragging this whole thing out. As you see with Pacquiao and Mayweather, it’s sometimes a good thing to really drag it out and build up that anticipation. I’m gonna beat Cat now and worry about her later.”