UFC officially announced Wednesday afternoon that Ronda Rousey will return to the cage on Dec. 30 to challenge Amanda Nunes for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship.
UFC President Dana White had teased a big announcement that he was going to make on “The Herd” with Colin Cowherd and it turned out that it was Rousey’s return. This came after reports had surfaced the evening prior that the deal was close to done and to be announced imminently. Promotion for the fight went into full force almost immediately, with videos on UFC’s social media pages as well as a fight poster being released shortly after the announcement was made.
Rousey herself has remained quiet, but the rest of the MMA world has lots to say on the matter. Nunes is supremely confident going into the fight, telling TMZ that she has a 200 percent chance of beating Rousey.
Cris Cyborg, whose career always seems to be intertwined with Rousey’s, told MMA Fighting that she thinks Rousey should fight her in Brazil after the Nunes bout after White made comments to Cowherd regarding Rousey’s popularity in Brazil.
As for early gamblers, Rousey opened as a -190 favorite to win on betting website Bovada.
With the amount of attention it has gotten in the first 24 hours, combined with promotion on the massive UFC 205 card, and the mainstream media appearances Rousey is sure to make, the safest bet is that this fight does huge business.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: I wrote yesterday in this space about the fight itself and why I think Rousey is the perfect fighter to put on the less traditional Friday night slot for a pay-per-view, so be sure to check it out if you missed it.
The timing of the announcement is curious to me, since Ariel Helwani left it out there that the fight was close to being made on Tuesday night, and then early Wednesday Dana White says he’s going to go on “The Herd” and makes this big announcement. It could have been a case of White not wanting the news to get out before the UFC could make an official announcement, as happened with the Brock Lesnar announcement at UFC 199, or perhaps the timing was just right and they were going to announce it Wednesday afternoon anyway. Either way, the buzz for the fight is strong after the first 24 hours, so any thought that Rousey’s loss and subsequent absence would hurt her drawing power needs to be thrown out the window. This will be a very fitting fight to cap off a huge 2016 for UFC that will be nearly impossible to match.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-UFC Vice-President of Public Relations Dave Sholler announced Wednesday night that he will be leaving the organization to take a position with the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Sholler came over to Zuffa with the acquisition of WEC in 2009 and was brought in to UFC proper when the WEC was shut down. He will work through UFC 205 on Nov. 12.
-Dana White expressed interest in using former NFL player Greg Hardy, but only after he’s proven himself in a smaller promotion.
-Fedor Emelianenko’s 16 year old daughter was reportedly attacked by some unidentified assailants and hospitalized. The beating occurred on October 9, shortly after Fedor had spoken out against the use of children on an MMA show presented by Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov. (SOURCE LINK)
-Scott Coker told FloCombat that he is targeting Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva for sometime next summer. Sonnen and Silva had been previously booked to fight in 2014 but the bout never happened due to both being served with drug testing suspensions. Sonnen is also set to fight Tito Ortiz later this year.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP
-After missing out on his main event with B.J. Penn this weekend, Ricardo Lamas has been rebooked to fight Charles Oliveira at the TUF Latin America Finale on Nov. 5 from Mexico City.
-Alex Garcia vs. Mike Pyle and Brendan O’Reilly vs. “Maestro” Dong Hyun Kim for the TUF Finale on Dec. 3 from Las Vegas.
-Cub Swanson vs. Dooho Choi at UFC 206 on Dec. 10 from Toronto.
-Paige VanZant vs. Michelle Waterson will be the main event of the UFC on Fox show from Sacramento on Dec. 17.
-Tonya Evinger vs. Yana Kunitskaya for the Invicta bantamweight championship and Angela Hill vs. Kaline Medeiros for the Invicta strawweight championship on Nov. 18 from Kansas City.
-Titan FC announced Dhiego Lima vs. Jason Jackson for Lima’s Titan Welterweight Championship as well as Jose Torres vs. Pedro Nobre for the flyweight championship, Andrew Whitney vs. Farkhad Sharipov for the bantamweight championship, and Jack May vs. Volkan Oezdemir for the Heavyweight Championship, all on Dec. 2.
Watch Rafael Dos Anjos pick apart Nate Diaz’s legs in December 2014.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: WEDNESDAY NEWS DIGEST: Ronda Rousey looks to be close to return to UFC by year’s end, Greg Hardy reaction (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)