Dana White: Ronda Rousey vs. Cat Zingano title fight set for UFC 182
A bout between Ronda Rousey and Cat Zingano on New Year's Eve weekend has long been rumored. It's now no longer just a rumor.
UFC president Dana White told "UFC Tonight" insider Ariel Helwani on Wednesday that Rousey and Zingano indeed will meet for the UFC women's bantamweight title at UFC 182 on Jan. 3 in Las Vegas. The bout between the two undefeated stars will be the co-main event on the card, which is headlined by a light heavyweight title fight between champion Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier.
Rousey (10-0), one of the UFC's biggest stars, is coming off a 16-second TKO of Alexis Davis at UFC 175 in July. Between the UFC and Strikeforce, Rousey has hardly been challenged. The 27-year-old has finished every single one of her career fights and only one opponent, Miesha Tate, has made it out of the first round. "Rowdy" is known for her signature armbar submission, but her striking game has come a long way.
Striking is what Zingano (9-0) excels at, though she is no slouch on the ground, either. Zingano, 32, secured her rightful place as No. 1 contender when she beat Amanda Nunes by TKO at UFC 178 last month. The Colorado native previously earned the distinction in April 2013 when she knocked out Tate, but a knee injury and the death of her husband sidelined Zingano for more than a year.
The UFC was in talks with former Strikeforce star and current Hollywood actress Gina Carano about returning to MMA, perhaps against Rousey for the title at UFC 182. But negotiations stalled and Zingano emerged as the most deserving challenger.
"I'm ready," Zingano said after UFC 178. "It's my time, I'm ready."
When the odds are made for that fight, Rousey likely will be an overwhelming favorite. Rousey expects to stop Zingano the same way she's beaten all her other opponents in the UFC.
"All of the ones they bring to me are legitimate challenges," Rousey said recently. "I work and prepare so hard that there's nothing they can do about it."