ROUNDTABLE (pt. 1 of 2): What are the top two fights you would make for Ronda Rousey before she potential retires?

(Matt Roberts) USA TODAY

With Ronda Rousey telling Ellen that her fight with Amanda Nunes will be one of her last fights, what are the top two fights you would make for Rousey before she retires?

FRANK HYDEN MMATorch contributor

The first fight would be one against Cris Cyborg. That’s a fight that I believe just about everybody would say is a must. There’s potential major problems booking that, so it might not come to pass, but I think all options need to be exhausted to try to get it done. If Rousey retires before fighting Cyborg, that’s a missed opportunity. The second fight I personally would want to see is a rematch against Holly Holm. I would definitely want to see Rousey get a chance to avenge her only career loss. I know Holm hasn’t set the world on fire, but I still think this fight would be highly anticipated.

CHRIS KING, MMATorch contributor

So, regardless if Rousey wins or looses her next fight, she will only have two seriously big fights in front of her. First up she should fight Cyborg. It would not necessarily matter if she has the belt or not as Cyborg is not going to make 135 lbs, After that, the only logical match to make is her revenge against Holly Holm. Obviously Holly Holm is having some problems, but she is too good a fighter, and I imagine the UFC will give her some favorable match ups as they will know that the Rousey match is a great money maker for them. Hopefully she has notched up two wins in a row and if Rousey has come through both Nunes and Cyborg, then they could fill a stadium with that fight alone.

MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATorch contributor

If Ronda Rousey beats Amanda Nunes and takes back the Women’s Bantamweight Title at UFC 207 on December 30, Dana White has all but guaranteed that a “super-fight” with Cris “Cyborg” Justino is next. Appearing on The Herd on FS1 White said, “I know that Cyborg wants that fight. Ronda wants that fight, too. Ronda’s plan right now is to come back and try to win her title back. If that happens, the Cyborg fight will definitely happen.”

MIKE HISCOE, MMATorch contributor

After some thought, one fight I wouldn’t make for Ronda Rousey to close out her career is with Cris Cyborg. I just don’t see how it makes sense at this point. Cyborg is is much bigger than Rousey and is only getting bigger as time goes by. If Ronda wins the Bantamweight Championship at UFC 207, there’s no point in her moving up to fight Cyborg if her time is limited. We know that Cyborg isn’t going to move down. If Rousey loses badly to Amanda Nunes, a fight with Cyborg makes even less sense, as it probably means Rousey isn’t the fighter she used to be.

With that out of the way, the two fights for Rousey before she retires are Julianna Pena and Holly Holm. The Holm fight was the biggest of Rousey’s career and the one she clearly most wants to take back. Even if it ends up being a title fight which may not make sense given Holm’s recent record, I think you just make the fight anyway. The Pena fight would serve as a passing of the torch and be billed up front as Rousey’s last fight. Pena is a qualified challenger, has some star potential, and could really benefit from a marquee fight with Rousey to carry on the new era of women in UFC.

WADE KELLER, MMATorch editor

I think they can market Ronda Rousey seeking revenge against Holly Holm, and I’d like to see if Rousey can “solve” Holm or if Holm just ends up having Rousey’s number. The star-depth in the division isn’t really deep, but maybe by the time Rousey is preparing for the next chapter in her life, someone else will have established herself as the next big prospect on a hot streak, and Rousey can end up being a gatekeeper to the crown on her way out, either passing the torch and establishing a new star, or ending on top and letting everyone else fight it out for second best afterward. Cyborg is, of course, intriguing and is the other mega-fight for Rousey, and I’d certainly tune in for that one, and so would a lot of other people. Rousey winning next month is a key to all of this mattering, because Rousey could be seen as someone who just fell apart after her first loss and if the shine is gone, these other matches will matter a lot less.


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