There has never been a combat athlete like Ronda Rousey since the beginning of time, according to Dana White.
Like the rest of the world, the UFC President was absolutely stunned by Rousey’s 16-second knockout win over Alexis Davis at UFC 175. In a post-fight interview with ESPN, White called Rousey a “game-changer.”
There’s women who can play basketball. They play in the WNBA, people [shrug it off]. In women’s golf, [people shrug it off], every sport. Ronda Rousey is a woman who can walk down the Las Vegas strip tonight and clean it out of any man that’s standing in the middle of the street. She’s a game-changer for women. She’s a game-changer for women’s sports, and there’s never been a human being like her or a combat athlete like her since the beginning of time.
The UFC women’s bantamweight champ has led the charge for mainstream acceptance of women’s MMA. Boasting a 10-0 professional record, she has successfully defended the UFC belt four consecutive times and completely dominated every woman to ever stand across from her.
There is no taking away from White being in complete awe of Rousey’s brilliance. Davis was ranked as the No. 2 bantamweight fighter in the entire world, and she was finished in 16 seconds.
But what’s next?
That is the problematic question the UFC has to deal with in regards to Rousey’s continued dominance. She is a big fish in a small pond, and it does little for her legacy and overall fan excitement to see her constantly thrashing overmatched opposition.
People love seeing champions rise up to the threat of a legitimate challenge, and the UFC will undoubtedly have its work cut out finding Rousey a possible suitor. Cat Zingano is the only in-house name that holds up as a worthy contender. Unfortunately, the undefeated women’s bantamweight fighter is coming off a serious knee injury, and it has been over a year since she last competed.
Women’s boxing legend Holly Holm is another name that comes to mind, but she could still be a bit too green to take on the challenge of Rousey at this point in her MMA career.
Invicta featherweight champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino is without question the biggest threat to Rousey’s title. Justino, who has knocked out her last seven opponents, is still considered by many in the MMA community as the top female fighter in the world.
During the post-fight media scrum, White seemed interested in signing the Brazilian to a UFC contract. There have been contractual stalemates in the past due to concern over Justino making the 135-pound weight limit, but in a released statement to Axs.TV’s Inside MMA, she vowed to make bantamweight and “retire” Rousey.
Overcoming a fighter of Justino’s caliber would go a long way in solidifying Rousey as an all-time great, let alone White’s praise.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for Rocktagon.