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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
One of the main criticisms that has been laid against women's MMA has been a lack of depth at the top levels of the sport. With only a handful of fighters getting much exposure at the top thus far, there aren't a ton of familiar names to fans, and that has led to people like UFC President Dana White to believe there just isn't room for it in the UFC at this point.
Of course, UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta recently came out in support of women's MMA, and believes that with the UFC's help things could be improved. Additionally, new Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey doesn't believe there's a dearth of challengers to her newly one title at all.
"Oh yeah, I definitely think there is [plenty of challengers]," Rousey commented in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. "There's already that story background between me and Sarah Kaufman, and how everyone thinks she should have got the title shot and this fight needs to happen. And whenever Cris Cyborg comes back, that fight would be great to happen, and then there's other girls like Sara McMann, who is an Olympic medalist in wrestling, would be the only new person coming in that would be easy to build up a fight."
"After that, that's a good amount of time that would go by and there would be a lot more opportunities coming up around then. I'm not worried."
Kaufman is next, and that bout will take place sometime later this year, but a potential showdown with "Cyborg" has certainly been on the minds of many. Of course, Santos has to contend with a suspension for a failed steroid test, and Rousey says she'd also need to drop down to 135 lbs. in order for the fight to happen.
"She's the one that has fewer options," Rousey said. "She's the one that just got popped for steroids and has an empty division. I think the smartest idea for her would be to be like, ‘Look, I'm off steroids. I proved that I'm off and I can cut down to a lower division. I'm going to have to cut down to a lower division anyways cause who the hell am I going to fight at 145?"
Additionally, there's potential for a rematch with Miesha Tate - the woman from whom Rousey took the belt earlier this month - down the line, but it's not something Rousey's going to go out of her way to accomodate.
"I just do whatever I've got to do. If people want to see it, then I'll do it, but I wouldn't feel bad about beating her up again,” Rousey said. "I'm not going to go out of my way if it's not in the best interest of my career at that moment."
Penick's Analysis: It really depends upon how many fighters they try to bring into the fold in Strikeforce, and whether Fertitta legitimately wants to give the reins to Joe Silva and Sean Shelby for the women's division for the UFC, but there could be a future for Rousey and the women's division for sure. Rousey is immensely exciting to watch, and her vicious submission skills may keep her on top for some time to come, but it's incumbent upon those in charge bringing in more fighters and making a concerted effort to build up the division, otherwise White's long held belief is a self-serving prophecy.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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