By Ray Ferrer / @RC_FurAir
“I just want to know what I need to do to get in there again. I mean who’s number two, I’ll fight them, I’ll get back, how do I get this again” - Cat Zingano, UFC 184 Post Fight Press Conference
The lights go out as the packed Staple Center rumbles in anticipation. The sound of Joan Jett’s guitar riff echoes the stadium as “Bad Reputation” blasts, a fitting song for the UFC’s Women's Bantamweight Champion. A woman who insights equal love and hate from fans due to her unapologetic willingness to go full heel whenever she deems fit. But more fitting is her reputation as "the Mike Tyson of MMA", dispatching of her challengers with precision and artful violence. By now her mantle must be lined with the arms of her previous challengers.
As Bruce Buffer announces the fight, Judo legend Gene Lebell stands outside the Octagon carrying his trusty stopwatch implying a quick finish and lifting his arms in enthusiasm enticing the crowd to cheer for his protegee, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey. Rewind to Friday nights weigh-ins -- when asked for her thoughts on her title fight, Bantamweight number one contender Cat Zingano had only two words to say, “Watch This.” Followed by a promise from Rousey that, “I’m going to show you guys the most fantastic win you’ve ever seen from me.”
Meanwhile, Big John McCarthy echoes his catch phrase to start the action “Lets get it on!” Zingano looked to do just that, opening up with a over zealous knee that allowed the champ to clinch into a scramble that quickly led to another armbar victory for Rousey within 14 seconds of the opening bell. Zigano tapped almost instantaneously, breathing truth into Rousey's promise to her fans.
Zingano was touted as the biggest challenge for Rousey’s title, a statement that holds little to no meaning as it has been repeated since her UFC debut back in 2013 against Liz Carmouche.
Rousey has only once shown a kink in her armor when she powered through a potentially jaw-breaking rear-naked choke from the aforementioned Carmouche. Since then no one has been able to replicate any true success when facing the champion. With a total of 7 minutes and 18 seconds in the UFC’s octagon, Rousey appears to be in an entirely different league in her division. Veterans, olympians, strikers, Jiu Jitsu aces, and undefeated contenders all lay at the feet of the UFC’s most untouchable champion.
An argument for Holly Holm being a threat to the champ seems premature after her lackluster split decision victory over TUF Alum Raquel Pennington. Gina Carano seems content dating Superman (Henry Cavill) and starring opposite George St. Pierre and Jean Claude Van Damme in the Kickboxer reboot. Oh and lest we forget, Carano was known for having a hard enough time making weight in Strikeforce during her reign at 145lbs.
Rousey’s truly biggest threat and archenemy lies in Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino, who seamlessly dispatched of her opponent at Invicta 11 the night before UFC 184. The rivalry and potential match-up seems to be a diehard fan’s pipe dream, since Santos is more likely to land the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition Cover than making 135lbs. But if the MMA gods will it, it may come true. After all, if Pacquiao and Mayweather could make it happen, why can’t the UFC put this fight together?
Until then, Bethe Correia has defeated two of Rousey’s stablemates and fellow Four Horsewomen, which at the very least would make for a pro wrestling-esque storyline. Even Rousey called out Bethe Correia in her Post-fight interview; “she’s undefeated I’d like to take that ‘0’ away from her.”
But maybe, just maybe it would be in everyone's best interest if the Champ sat out for awhile and let the Women’s Bantamweight Division develop a little and establish a true challenger. If not, the division looks about a spit shine away from being cleaned out.
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