Who are the top 3 contenders in line to face Ronda Rousey next?
JUL 05, 2014 11:45p ET
Ronda Rousey's undefeated streak continued on Saturday night at UFC 175 with a win over top contender Alexis Davis moving her record to 9-0 overall and a perfect 3-0 in three title fights in the UFC.
In just 16 seconds Rousey annihilated Davis with strikes, knocking out the Canadian to the point where she had to be revived and told what just happened to her in the cage.
Rousey's dominance has been nothing short of spectacular thus far as she's also become one of the UFC's biggest stars, but with Davis now in the past, it won't take long for everyone to wonder who is left in the division to challenge the champion?
Rousey has dispatched of former Strikeforce champions Miesha Tate and Sarah Kaufman while also picking up wins over Liz Carmouche, Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann and now Davis as well.
So with Rousey now awaiting word on her next bout, here are the top three contenders in the division and how likely they could or could not be to land a fight for the championship in the near future.
1) Cat Zingano
At the top of the list is top ranked fighter Cat Zingano, who has been out well over a year now due to a serious knee injury that forced her to have ACL surgery and miss her previous shot at Rousey and coaching on The Ultimate Fighter. Her road to recover has been going well and it appears she's ready to return to action right away.
If Zingano's healthy and ready to go, is there a possibility she could face Rousey in a main event at UFC 176 in Los Angeles?
It's no secret that card lost its main event when featherweight champion Jose Aldo fell out of his bout against Chad Mendes due to injury, and now the upcoming show has no headline fight with the August 2 show date rapidly approaching. If Rousey has no injuries or ailments after Saturday night, she already volunteered earlier this week to fight on a month's notice if that's what the UFC needed her to do.
"If they needed me to step up, I would do it," Rousey said this week. "I would appreciate the rest, but if they really needed me to do it, they know I would do it."
Rousey reiterated her willingness to fight in the main event at UFC 176 although she planned on having knee surgery after this bout.
A Rousey vs. Zingano headliner would certainly repair a very damaged card while giving it a blockbuster main event.
2) Gina Carano
First things first let's get the commentary out of the way. Does Gina Carano deserve a title match against Ronda Rousey after not fighting for nearly five years? Absolutely not. Should Carano -- a fighter who has never made 135-pounds before be expected to cut down and fight a champion like Rousey right now? Absolutely not. Should Gina Carano leap to the front of the line after getting trounced in her last fight against Cris 'Cyborg' Justino before leaving the sport? Absolutely not.
Now that those questions have been answers, here's the real reason why Carano is No. 2 on the list -- huge pay-per-view sales.
Say what you will about Carano's lack of fighting over the last half decade, she's still one of the most talked about and well known MMA fighters on the planet. The mere mention of her return sparked a huge groundswell of attention for the possibility that she could face Rousey, and a bout between the two women who have defined women's MMA for the last 10 years would be nothing short of gargantuan.
That's why Rousey vs. Carano makes a lot of sense if you really think about it.
3) Bethe Correia
Now this choice comes along with a big asterisk next to it based on one major factor -- Correia is fighting Shayna Baszler at UFC 176 in Los Angeles. But if the 8-0 Brazilian fighter moves to 9-0 based on a win over Baszler, the stage would be set for a Rousey/Correia grudge match and here's why.
It's well documented that Rousey, Baszler and former TUF 18 fighter Jessamyn Duke are all friends, training partners and roommates and along with one other fighter (Marina Shafir) they are known as the 'Four Horsewomen', a play of the famous professional wrestling faction 'The Four Horsemen'. When Correia beat Duke at UFC 172 she held up four fingers and put one down as if to say 'one down, three to go'.
She's now facing Baszler in August with a chance to take out another member of the team. Now Shafir isn't in the UFC so in reality she can't count towards the total equation, but if Correia wins again, that would be a great storyline as she looks to eliminate the champion and add to her resume by becoming the woman to defeat Ronda Rousey.
There are a lot of 'ifs' in that scenario, but Correia could be in a perfect position if she wins at UFC 176.
Bonus selection: Cris 'Cyborg' Justino
We can only hope this happens one day.