And while Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano, Sara McMann and Liz Carmouche soon entered the fold, many were hoping to see Cris Cyborg in the Octagon, too. Perhaps even be the first to challenge "Rowdy" for her women's bantamweight strap.
It almost happened.
According to Mike Chiappetta (via Bloody Elbow), "Cyborg" was offered the fight against Ronda at UFC 157 last February, however, she -- along with her management team lead by former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz -- turned it down.
And it had nothing to do with what was originally reported as her inability to make the cut down to 135 pounds.
"While (match weight) was at the center of most conversations in the media regarding the inability to make the Cyborg-Rousey fight, it was not the deal-breaker it's been reported to be. During the ongoing negotiations, which lingered for about two months, the promotion agreed to pay for the services of a dieting and nutrition consultant like (Mike) Dolce. But there were other points that the two sides could not agree on. The biggest issue, according to Cyborg's management firm Primetime 360, was Zuffa treating Cyborg as a bit player rather than an event co-star."
Indeed, popular belief has been that the weight cut down to the bantamweight division would be too risky for Santos's health. And while no one wants to see a fighter's well-being at risk just for the sake of seeing an intriguing fight, it seems the real issue behind the botched "super fight" was really more about the "Benjamins."
But, one fighter's loss is another fighter's gain as Carmouche was tapped to step into the Octagon against "Rowdy" in Anaheim, California. And while "Girl-Rilla" came up short like six other challengers before her, she did earn a spot in the history books and the adoration of "Lizbos" worldwide thanks to her gutsy performance.
Something that could have gone "Cyborg's" way.
Nevertheless, Cris went on to sign with the all-women's MMA promotion Invicta FC, making a successful debut last month against Fiona Muxlow, finishing her opponent via strikes in the opening round.
And while Ortiz is adamant he will still make the much-anticipated dream fight happen, it seems Team Santos already let a golden opportunity pass them by.
Even if it was in "Cyborg's" best financial interest.