It seems there was indeed something more to Holly Holm getting to defend her title before Ronda Rousey’s return, as UFC President Dana White said on Tuesday that the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion has asked for more time off before getting back into the cage.
The initial plan after Holm’s stunning November upset at UFC 193 was for the rematch to happen at UFC 200 on July 9, but Holm will instead defend her title against Miesha Tate at UFC 197 in March. According to White, in an interview with Kevin Iole at Yahoo! Sports, filming has been pushed back for Rousey’s role in the Roadhouse remake, and as such she’s asked for more time off before attempting to return. For White, that’s something the UFC was more than willing to grant.
“The filming of the movie got pushed back,” White said. “She could do both, but the question is, should she do both? She could do both, but why should she? The filming is in a time frame where she’d finish before 200, but it would be cutting it too close.
“…The way I look at this one is, Ronda has worked her ass off for us for the last three years. She’s been fighting, promoting and building the sport. If anyone deserves the time off, it’s her,” White continued. “The night [of UFC 193] Holly said she’d do the rematch and that Ronda deserved it and everything else. So we were holding it for her if she wanted to do it.
“What that woman has done is above and beyond what anyone has done. I mean, it’s just unbelievable what she’s done in the last three years. Anything we needed, she didn’t say no to anything; said no to nothing. She even took over responsibilities somebody else was supposed to have. So when she tells me she wants more time, you know what? She’s got it.
Penick’s Analysis: I suppose that makes the Holm-Tate booking a no-brainer for March, though suddenly the UFC 200 event has lost what could have been an absolutely massive fight. It’s probably for the best on Rousey’s part, because she needs to rebuild and recharge given how that fight played out at UFC 193, and if filming isn’t going to give her all that much time to prep for UFC 200, that shouldn’t be where she returns. It leaves things completely in flux for that event, and the UFC will likely be pulling for a Conor McGregor victory over Rafael dos Anjos in March to set up his first title defense in what would be one of his two divisions.
[Photo (c) Jayne Kamin-Oncea via USA Today Sports]
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