Dana White says Holly Holm will defend UFC Women’s Bantamweight Title before Ronda Rousey returns for rematch

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

(Matt Roberts) USA TODAY

No date, location, or opponent is set, but Holly Holm’s going to be getting her wish to fight before Ronda Rousey returns this summer.

UFC President Dana White revealed on Wednesday’s UFC Tonight program on Fox Sports 1 that Holm will indeed defend the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship before Rousey’s ready to return, though he didn’t go into further detail.

Holm knocked Rousey out last November in one of the most shocking moments in UFC history, and initially the UFC targeted a rematch for UFC 200 on July 9. However, Holm made it clear that she wanted to fight as soon as possible and as often as possible, and after signing a new UFC extension it was heavily hinted that a new booking was on its way as well. Just whom that opponent will be and when remains to be seen, but she’ll have to defeat them in order to preserve that big money rematch.

Penick’s Analysis: It’s likely we’re going to see Holm fight Miesha Tate in March at UFC 197. With this revelation from White that just makes the most sense. It’s the earliest they could book that fight in order to still have her turn around and fight Rousey at UFC 200, and indeed, even a Tate win keeps Rousey on UFC 200. It screws things up slightly because Rousey defeating Tate a third time and not fighting Holm after the knockout loss is a bit screwy, but if she came back in and beat Tate again, the Holm fight would be next anyway. The best case scenario for the UFC would be Holm retaining, and it’s risky here to have that fight happen, but they’re rolling the dice and giving their new champ what she wants.

[Photo (c) Matt Roberts via USA Today Sports]

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