It appears as though business is about to pick up in a major way when it comes to the UFC and its women’s bantamweight division. The organization finally came to terms last week with unbeaten knockout artist Holly Holm, and President Dana White is confident that a deal will get finalized this week with former Strikeforce star Gina Carano. The two parties are scheduled to meet in Los Angeles.
Holm and Carano are two credible names who would make for attractive future opponents for dominant women’s champion Ronda Rousey. It’s clear that Rousey’s 16-second destruction of previously No.2-rated challenger Alexis Davis at UFC 175, sent a signal that the promotion needed to bring fresh challengers into the title picture and add more star power.
Rousey has reeled off four consecutive title defenses and is making it look easier with each passing fight. She’s already beaten Davis, Sara McMann, Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche. Holm’s UFC debut is being targeted for October or November, and we already know she won’t be facing “Rowdy” in her first Octagon appearance. Holm’s formidable stand-up game has her being touted as an immediate title threat.
Holm sustained a broken arm in her recent title-winning performance against Juliana Werner in the Legacy Fighting Championship promotion. “The Preacher’s Daughter” has a tremendous striking pedigree as a former world champion boxer, and has made a strong transition to mixed martial arts by going a perfect 7-0. Six of those victories have come via knockout.
Carano is one of the original faces of women’s MMA but hasn’t fought since 2009. She embarked upon an acting career after suffering her only career loss in a Strikeforce battle against Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, but has continued to train. She’s clearly itching to return and the timing would be perfect for it. The UFC’s women’s bantamweight division is gathering steam thanks to Rousey’s exploits. The champion has plenty of respect for Carano and it’s a fight that she has always wanted.
Meanwhile, the prospects of Justino coming on board have never been better. The former Strikeforce and current Invicta FC featherweight champion is expected to make her 135-pound debut at Invicta 10 in December. Fans will be given the chance to see plenty of “Cyborg” now that the UFC and Invicta Fighting Championships have a Fight Pass deal in place. Rousey vs. Justino would truly be one of the bigger fights that the UFC could make in 2015. “Cyborg” has 10 knockout victories in her 12 career wins while Rousey is 10-0 with ten straight finishes.
While fans have no doubt been impressed by Rousey’s remarkable performances inside the Octagon, there has been a clamoring for her to face better, more-dangerous competition. It appears as though the UFC is paying attention, and that the best challenges of Rousey’s career are still to come.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for RantSports.com