HYDEN: Is there any doubt Rousey deserves immediate title rematch? Is UFC 206 strong enough without GSP? What’s next for GSP?

By Frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor

Ronda Rousey (photo credit Jason da Silva © USA Today Sports)


Since UFC announced last week that Ronda Rousey is coming back to fight UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December, there’s been some talk about whether or not Rousey deserves, or should take, an immediate title shot in her return.

Staff08Hyden_150Any talk of her not deserving a title shot is largely just sports talk radio type stuff, meant to give people stuff to debate. Rousey ruled her division for a long time. She was as dominant as it gets. There’s also the entertainment aspect; she’s one of the biggest stars in the UFC. That’s why she’s getting an immediate rematch, despite losing very badly in her last fight.

That’s also the difference between her and Interim UFC Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo. Rousey’s popularity ensured that she would leapfrog anyone in her way to a title shot. That’s not to say that she doesn’t deserve the title shot on merit; she does. However, it also helps that there’s no one else in the division who has a strong case for a title shot.

As for the fight itself, I’m extremely excited for it. I’m trying to not expect too much from Rousey, but I kind of can’t help it. She’s been off for a long time and she suffered a crushing loss in her last fight. It’ll have been about 13 months since her loss to Holly Holm in 2015 when she enters the cage against Nunes. That’s a while to be off.

Then there’s Nunes herself. She’s on a four fight win streak, with three of those wins coming in the first round. She’s a quick starter, as is Rousey. That’s one of the reasons that I’m so excited. I don’t want to expect Rousey to win, but I do think she should be favored. So I guess I do expect her to win. Win or lose, I’m super excited for this fight and I can’t wait.


UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Daniel Cormier will defend his title against Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC 206 in Toronto in the main event. It’s a really good fight. That’s another fight that I’m really looking forward to. There was talk of Georges St. Pierre possibly coming back to fight on this card, for the Canadian connection, but that never panned out. That’s disappointing on its own, but what was even more disappointing were comments made by Dana White, who recently said that GSP isn’t mentally ready to fight and doesn’t want to fight. That’s just ridiculous and a cheesy act of leverage. Or possibly just spite.

Now GSP says he’s a free agent and that he voided his contract. That implies he wants to still fight. It’s hard to say if that will be with the UFC or another organization, though. Would another organization be able to afford GSP? Or would he lower his asking price to try to stick it to the UFC? There are more questions than answers right now with this story. The UFC says that GSP is still under contract, so he may not even get a chance to fight for another company, even if he wanted to. As the saying goes, this story is still developing.

UFC 206 will be a big card with Johnson-Cormier 2 as the main event. I’m actually more excited for that fight than I would be for GSP’s return. I’m intrigued at the prospect of GSP fighting again, but I’m a big Rumble fan, and I want to see what he tries to do differently this time. He didn’t have a lot of success in his last fight against Cormier, but Johnson has the power to change a fight in a heartbeat. He could easily knock Cormier out if he catches him clean. Hell, he’s got the power to knock him out even if he doesn’t catch him clean. It’s going to be a tough fight, and a really good main event.

The UFC should work on trying to get some more star power on the card, though, as it’s a little light right now. There should be some good fights on there, no question, but there’s a possibility of people skipping this card in favor of UFC 205 (champion Conor McGregor vs. champion Eddie Alvarez) or UFC 207 (the return of Ronda Rousey). That’d be a shame, but it might happen unless the UFC puts some more big fights on the card.

Comments and suggestions can be emailed to hydenfrank@gmail.com and you can follow Frank on Twitter at @hydenfrank.

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