Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
After picking up her first-ever bantamweight title defense with a submission win over Liz Carmouche in the UFC 157 headliner, we discuss what's next for UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
She did it.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey overcame an extremely pressure-filled situation to submit Liz Carmouche with her trademark armbar in the main event of UFC 157: "Rousey vs. Carmouche" at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
The fight itself looked was certainly the most competitive of Rousey's career, as she survived a close submission attempt from Carmouche to come back with a submission of her own for the victory in the historic bout.
From watching, you wouldn't know the fight was Rousey's first in the UFC and first on pay-per-view (PPV), as it just looked like another fight for the former Olympian, minus the brief scare.
That's terrifying news for any other females out there looking to take Rousey's belt.
If the 26-year-old can do what she did to Carmouche with all the distractions that surrounded the monumental event -- how is she going to perform in her next fight, and the one after that, and the one after that as she gets more and more comfortable inside the Octagon.
That's not an appealing thought if you're Rousey's competition.
With Rousey's UFC debut behind her, what challenge is next for the undefeated submission sensation?
It would be nice to say a fight with Cristiane Santos is going to happen, but the match up has been talked to death and with Santos' recent signing with Invicta FC, it's pretty evident the Rousey vs. "Cyborg" dream fight isn't going to happen anytime in the foreseeable future.
As much of a bummer as that is, the show must go on and there are plenty of other deserving women out there who can try to dethrone the champion.
The leading candidate for the No. 1 contenders spot would be the winner of Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano, who meet at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in April. Rousey has already publicly stated she wants to fight the winner of Tate vs. Zingano, and at the UFC 157 post-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White said either match up "makes sense."
Should Tate emerge victorious, a fight with Rousey would be a rematch from March 2012 in what was Rousey's second most competitive fight to date. Tate connected on Rousey a few times in the stand up and managed to escape an armbar before finally succumbing to the move later on in the round. If Tate can get by the undefeated Zingano, it would be hard to say she doesn't deserve another shot at Rousey.
In all reality, Tate is probably the biggest female name outside of Rousey and Santos at this point in time, and a rematch would certainly be appealing to both casual and hardcore fans of the sport.
Zingano, on the other hand, would present a fresh challenge to Rousey's title. "Alpha" has a well-rounded skillset and while she may be lesser known to the general public when compared to Tate, the 30-year-old would certainly get her name out there with a win at the TUF 17 Finale. Moreover, with her undefeated record, the UFC could built a Rousey vs. Zingano bout as a "someone's 0 has to go" type of situation.
Going into UFC 157 a large contingent of people were wondering if women's fighting would even exist in the UFC following the event. With more women being signed and match ups getting announced, the answer to that question has been answered "yes."
The long-term viability of WMMA in the UFC is still up in the air, but as Rousey's star continues to grow female MMA is only going to flourish.
Who would you like to see Rousey face next? Let us know in the comments section below.