Three women’s bantamweight fights to make after UFC 200
The women’s UFC bantamweight title changed hands for the third time in less than a year Saturday night when Amanda Nunes finished Miesha Tate with a rear-naked choke early in the first round of their UFC 200 scrap.
The division has been as exciting as it’s ever been over the last eight months as new stars have emerged in Ronda Rousey’s absence, setting up a host of new possibilities for the division.
Here are three fights to make after the women’s bantamweight showcase at UFC 200.
Dana White has promised that Rousey will get an immediate title shot whenever she returns to fighting, and it looks like she’ll get a fresh face also. Neither of the women most notoriously linked to Rousey — Miesha Tate and Holly Holm — hold the belt anymore, but the emergence of a new star in Amanda Nunes could be the motivation "Rowdy" needs to get back in the Octagon.
Julianna Pena understandably wants a UFC title shot. And after beating Cat Zingano, who holds knockouts over Tate and Nunes, for her fourth straight win, it’d be hard to tell her no. But with Rousey still waiting in the queue, the division’s top contenders will have to deal with the fact that their title shots will depend greatly on her status. That includes former champion Holly Holm.
Unless she scores an all-time great knockout or finish against seventh-ranked Valentina Shevchenko in a couple weeks at UFC Fight Night Chicago, Holm likely won’t jump over Rousey for a shot at the title with a win. A matchup with Pena is a true No. 1 contender fight and will keep her busy if Rousey returns to fight Nunes in November.
Miesha Tate is no longer champion, but she’s still one of the very best female fighters the world has to offer. Rousey has been guaranteed an immediate title shot, and without the belt on the line, it’s unlikely those two face off for a third time. Tate just beat Holm in March, so that rematch is unlikely as well.
The UFC could match her up with fellow UFC 200 competitor Cat Zingano, who finished Tate back in 2013. But we think the former champ should capitalize on her stardom and take the superfight at 140-pounds with Cris Cyborg.
Tate, in the past, has said she’s open to the idea and Cyborg confirmed last night that "Cupcake" is still on her list of ideal opponents. A win against Cyborg could also be Tate’s fast route back to a title shot.