For the first time in the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s nearly two-decade existence, a UFC pay-per-view will be headlined by women.
“I love the fact that they are scheduling more girl fights,” UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey said in a conference call Tuesday afternoon to promote next Saturday night’s UFC 157 pay-per-view. Rousey (6-0-0) will defend the title against Liz Carmouche (8-2-0) in the main event at Anaheim, Calif.’s Honda Center.
“I’m excited to see what’s next after this,” Rousey said about the UFC’s newfound concentration with women’s MMA. “It’s really encouraging. I’m very encouraged.”
Rousey is an overwhelming favorite to retain the 135-pound title as all of her wins have come via first round armbar.
“There’s a lot on the line. [I’m] not looking past this fight. We’ll see what happens after that,” Rousey said. “Liz Carmouche has 100 percent of my attention.”
- PHOTOS: What's Brewing in Steamy Hallows, the Harry Potter-Inspired Cafe19 Pictures
- PHOTOS: Frida Kahlo at the Brooklyn Museum doesn't hold back23 Pictures
It is what the future may hold for Rousey that has garnered interest.
UFC has scheduled a Miesha Tate-Cat Zingano fight for The Ultimate Fighter season 17 finale on April 13 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nev. Rousey announced on the call she will be in attendance that night, and wants to face the winner.
Rousey submitted Tate for the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title last March. She has never fought Zingano.
“I have a lot of options ahead of me,” Rousey said. “I’m going to take the plenty of options available to me.”
One option that doesn’t appear to be available is a potential superfight with Cris “Cyborg” Santos. Last week, Santos’ agent, UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz told Inside MMA that he requested the UFC release the former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion. However, other than the women-only Invicta promotion, there are not many alternatives for Santos.
Santos, who was suspended for a year after testing positive for stanozolol metabolites, has claimed she cannot cut down to 135 pounds due to health reasons. Rousey and the UFC have argued that if Santos wants to fight for the title then she will have to drop to 135 pounds. A 140-pound catch weight fight has been suggested but UFC President Dana White has told reporters that the bantamweight title would not be on the line should that come to pass.
“She’s making a lot of noise and trying to get attention because she’s kind of fading into being irrelevant,” Rousey said of her rival, who she mockingly renamed Cryborg. “She needs people going on TV and making a big fuss. At some point she’s going to have to come around and take the only fight that’s really available.”
Carmouche, Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida also participated on the call. Henderson and Machida will meet in the semi-main event to determine the No. 1 contender for Jon Jones’s light heavyweight title. Jones is scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen in the main event of UFC 159 in Newark on April 27.
Follow MMA writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.