If Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey didn't have a target on her back prior to UFC 157 last night (Feb. 23, 2013) in Anaheim, Calif., the former Olympian has a huge one now.
With a successful title defense against Liz Carmouche at the Honda Center, Rousey confirmed that women's mixed martial arts (MMA) is going to be in the UFC for some time to come. While her victory was inspirational, Rousey did show some flaws her game when she was nearly submitted with a rear-naked choke by "Girl-Rilla" early in the first round.
Rousey battled back to finish the fight with her trademark armbar, but not before facing some adversity.
While the rough point in the fight will be a learning experience from Rousey's perspective, it was viewed as a hole in her game to potentially be exploited by her future opponents, mainly Miesha Tate, who says if she got Rousey's back she would become the first person to ever defeat Rousey.
"[Rousey's performance] was pretty much what I expected," Tate told Ariel Helwani on the UFC 157 post-fight show on FUEL TV. "She did get a little sloppy there giving her back up which is habit I've picked up on a little bit. I got her back in the first fight and I guarantee if I get it in the second I'll rip her face off.
Tate has a longstanding beef with Rousey dating back to late 2011. Tate was the Strikeforce bantamweight champion when Rousey burst on to the scene and is one of the seven women who have fell victim to the judoka. She believes a rematch is destined to happen, but first must get by Cat Zingano at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale in April.
While Tate says she would have made Rousey tap out if she had her back at UFC 157, she doesn't want to take anything away from Carmouche's valiant effort in the fight, admitting she was extremely impressed by the challenger. .
"I knew Liz was going to be incredibly tough and I think a lot of people were underestimating her and she definitely brought some things to the table no one else has and she really did a great job," Tate explained. "She came out there with tenacity, she came out there with heart and that's something that you can't account for in MMA. You can say, ‘Oh yeah, someone has a great right hand, someone has a great armbar,' but you can't measure heart and she has a lot of it and I'm very impressed with her.
Of all the women currently signed to the UFC roster, Tate is the most viable opponent for Rousey due to their history and willingness to speak their minds on each other.
Before Rousey vs. Tate 2 can become a reality, though; the 26-year-old must get by Zingano at the TUF 17 Finale. If she didn't have enough motivation going in to the second women's fight in UFC history, seeing what Rousey and Carmouche were able to do in the UFC 157 main event just adds more fuel to her already burning fire.
"My heart is still racing, it was a very satisfying moment in history," Tate said of the first-ever female fight in UFC history. "Seeing the women get in the UFC octagon for the first time and it made me really, really hungry and it really lit a fight under me and I'm so pumped for my fight on April 13th that I can't put it into words."