With Holly Holm’s loss to Miesha Tate at UFC 196, the UFC is expecting Rousey’s return to now come against the new champion given their history together. She had delayed her return due to a number of other commitments, but it’s possible she attempts to return sooner to fight someone she’s beaten twice before.
Holm’s coach Mike Winkeljohn expects Rousey to be more comfortable in coming back against Tate, because despite Holm’s own loss, he believes Rousey would fall to Holm again if and when they meet for a second fight.
“You know what, I think that Ronda knows that she’s already beaten Miesha twice. So if she’s going to come back, I think she was a little intimidated by Holly coming back and that, you know, it won’t change her fight with Ronda,” Winkeljohn said in an interview with Submission Radio. “I’m still very confident that if Holly fights Ronda it would be the same outcome again just because the way their styles are, and I think it will be different next time she fights Miesha. I think Miesha has improved as a fighter and I think she’s tremendous at what she does, so I love the competition and I think the fans want to see more of it, what these ladies can do.”
Regardless of Rousey’s plans, however, Winkeljohn argues that the next fight should be Tate-Holm II, seeing as how Holm opted to give Tate the shot over waiting for Rousey to return herself.
“You know, everybody’s disappointed,” Winkeljohn said of UFC 196. “Holly is one of those people that is very well liked, and it broke a lot of people’s hearts around the gym, they were telling me. I know it broke my heart, but you know, we made a couple of mistakes and Miesha won the fight. We’re looking definitely forward to having a rematch. I think we definitely want to do it on that UFC 200 card in July. I don’t think Ronda Rousey is anywhere close to coming back anyway. So hopefully Miesha is willing to pay back Holly. Holly didn’t wait for Ronda, gave Miesha a shot at it and hopefully Miesha repays the favour.”
Penick’s Analysis: If Rousey’s out until the fall still, the UFC may entertain Tate-Holm II at UFC 200, but Tate may also be willing to hold out to get her third fight with Rousey. That said, UFC 200 is a big deal, and if she wants to compete on that card, the Holm fight might wind up as the best option. It would be a good fight for the card, and the winner could still be lined up for Rousey in the fall, but it’s a waiting game until the pieces all come into play.
[Photo (c) Matt Roberts via USA Today Sports]
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