TOPIC: Does Ronda Rousey deserve an immediate title shot if she agrees to return at UFC 207? If so, why? If not, why not and who should get shot before her and who should she fight first to earn a title shot?
The following is the second of three batches of MMATorch writers responding to this topic…
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATorch contributor
My instant reaction to this question upon first reading it was no, Ronda Rousey does not deserve an immediate title shot. But, after allowing myself time to think it through, I’ve done a 180 and think she should get the title shot. It’s the only fight that makes sense. Between Amada Nunes and Ronda Rousey combined, they’ve fought and beat the best that the Women’s Bantamweight Division has to offer… except each other. One can make the argument that Ronda’s return fight, regardless of foe, will do huge numbers for the UFC. While that’s true, it doesn’t help Nunes and her lack of drawing power. If not Rousey, whom else will people be willing to pay to see Nunes fight? Miesha Tate or Valentina Shevchenko again? No. How about Holly Holm, who lost her last two fights and did not look particularly good in either one. The answer is no again. Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes is the fight to make.
ROBERT VALLEJOS, MMATorch contributor
The Women’s Bantamweight division has diversified itself in Rousey’s absence. Valentina Shevchenko and Julianna Peña have a legitimate claim at Amanda Nunes’s title. Rousey’s stardom puts her in a strata much higher than any title. The biggest fight left for Rousey would be a return to the scene of the crime. Rousey taking on Nunes is nowhere near as compelling as Rousey-Holm II. Avenging her only loss is much more interesting than being heavily favored in a title match with little backstory.
FRANK GONZALES, MMATorch contributor
I don’t think the word “deserve” belongs in the matchmaking lexicon at this juncture. Of course Ronda gets her title shot. How many other stories in MMA will draw as much mainstream attention as Rousey’s return for redemption? Celebrity aside, it’s funny how some forget how crazy Ronda’s run was. A dominant champ like that gets a fast pass.
ADAM TINDAL, MMATorch contributor
As they say, “time heals all wounds.” Therefore I say give her the title shot. Due to the number of times that title has changed hands this year, it makes sense to me for her to fight for the belt. She was so dominant in her run that there comes a point where you just earn it. We’ve all seen the UFC grant these opportunities to far less deserving fighters and, if she had wanted to make a quick turn around after the Holm loss, I would most assuredly have felt different. Although right here and now I feel like watching her reclaim the gold.
MATTHEW PETERSON, MMATorch contributor
In my opinion, Ronda Rousey does not deserve an immediate title shot upon her return. She was thoroughly thrashed by Holly Holm in their title fight and the title has since changed hands twice more. The current champion Amanda Nunes has proven herself as a dangerous opponent for anyone and Rousey needs to show she can still hang with anyone in the division. Upon her return, Rousey should have a rematch with Holly Holm who is currently on a two fight losing streak. If Rousey can avenge her loss against Holm, she deserves a shot at the title. Miesha Tate is scheduled to fight Raquel Pennington and, if Pennington can gain the win, she deserves the title shot against Nunes.
(MMATorch features the Roundtable feature providing a variety of opinions and perspectives on hot topics in the world MMA.)