Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey is quickly becoming one of the top superstars in the sport. She has mowed through the bulk of the women’s division with ease, and her 14-second tap-out victory over Cat Zingano at UFC 184 had some mixed martial arts observers and analysts believing that Rousey now legitimately has no real competition left to defeat. The outcome of a Rousey fight is as predictable as is the time of a sunrise: She will enter the case, she will get the opponent’s arm eventually, and her victim will quickly submit to avoid suffering a serious injury. Wash, rinse, repeat.
During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show following her electric victory over Zingano, Rousey stated that she believes that she could hang with and defeat male opponents. Whether or not she is correct will likely never be known. The UFC has no interest in broadcasting a match that involves a woman potentially getting punched, kicked and thrown around by a male for obvious reasons, and even a fight that carried a stipulation which banned strikes would still not be sanctioned. Rousey fighting a man under the umbrella of the UFC isn’t happening.
This is the Internet and not real life, though, so we can speculate and dream up of battles that would be interesting. Rousey is a once-in-a-generation talent who should not be wasted so long as she is in her fighting prime, and thus having the rowdy one take on just any male fighter would be a waste of her skills and her drawing power. It is the interest that she draws whenever her name is on a UFC card that makes the top dream fight in this list that much more appealing. Truth be told, she would probably have a decent chance of winning that imaginary battle.
15. Mitch Gagnon
Those who are not UFC diehards likely do not know who Gagnon is. He currently sits at No. 15 in the UFC Bantamweight division, and Gagnon lost via submission to Renan Barao in his last fight. With any fight involving Rousey and a male, her reputation as this unbeatable wonder will be on the line even though she is attempting to make history. Putting her up against Gagnon would, no disrespect meant, be an act of the UFC protecting her and not putting her up against one of the top male fighters in the world. It would make business sense for the promotion to book this fight.
14. Clay Guida
Guida would, if booked to fight Rousey, bring with him pieces of what the UFC would want from such a historic match. He has built his reputation across multiple promotions, most notably in Strikeforce. Guida has a history of stealing the show and winning “Fight of the Night” honors. He is in the Featherweight division, meaning that Rousey would not have to worry about dropping a significant amount of weight at the final hour. These two could put on quite a spectacle if they were to meet up in the cage.
13. Eddie Alvarez
The Lightweight would have to drop a few pounds to be eligible to fight Rousey, but the money that he would make to do so would make that cut well worth it. Alvarez is a two-time Bellator Lightweight champion, and he is well known for his talent in the cage and also for his appearances on MTV program Bully Beatdown, a show that featured fighters (allegedly) beating up supposed bullies and getting revenge for victims of those bullies. Somebody should bring that TV show back and just have Rousey do the beating every episode. That’d be fun.
12. Nate Diaz
Diaz would be a true heel in a fight against Rousey. He has a history of putting his foot in his mouth and making a fool of himself via the Internet. He has missed weight. He has walked away from the UFC due to not being happy with the contract offers he has received. Diaz is also a talented fighter, one who would be asked to lose weight before stepping into the cage to fight Rousey. Rousey, who has played the roles of babyface and of heel in the UFC, would be a fan favorite against most males. She would be beloved if she tapped Diaz out.
11. Joseph Benavidez
The reality of the situation is that this fight would mean much more to Benavidez than it would mean to Rousey. While Rousey is quickly emerging as a household name worthy of being featured on ESPN shows such as SportsCenter, Benavidez is largely an anonymous figure to those who do not actively follow the UFC. Any fight involving Rousey and a male counterpart should be beneficial to all parties. Being the first person to defeat Rousey would put Benavidez on the map, and it could even make him a bigger draw.
10. Dominick Cruz
This is a fight that is currently impossible for reasons that have nothing to do with Rousey’s sex. Cruz, a fighter who has had a long issue of knee problems, suffered yet another torn ACL in December of 2014. That latest setback could have Cruz sidelined for all of 2015 before he returns to the Octagon. Cruz, who made his name in the WEC at Featherweight and then at Bantamweight, had held multiple championships during his illustrious career, and a comeback bout with Rousey would probably do big business for the fighters and for the company.
9. Renan Barao
Barao is one of several fighters mentioned in this post who could potentially be holding a championship of his own going into a fight with Rousey. He already has a title reign on his resume, as Barao has possessed the UFC Bantamweight championship before he lost that to T.J. Dillashaw. Barao has since returned to championship form and he is scheduled for a rematch with the previously mentioned Dillashaw that will occur later this year. Who better to defend that title against, were he to win, than Ms. Rousey?
8. John Dodson
Dodson may sooner than later have bigger fish to fry than preparing for a fight with Rousey. The 30-year old currently sits as the No. 1 ranked (champions are not technically ranked) Featherweight fighter in the UFC, and he could be a victory away from earning himself a title fight at a pay-per-view. Dodson has spent time as a Bantamweight during his professional career, and thus it is not out of question that he could move up to 135 pounds in order to face off with Rousey. Fighting Rousey wouldn’t do much for Dodson’s career, but it would make him quite a bit of cash.
7. Frankie Edgar
Edgar is one of several fighters spotlighted in this piece who is familiar to diehard UFC fans but who is not a star on the national level as are the likes of Rousey, Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar. He spent time as a Lightweight in UFC, winning the championship in that division before ultimately moving down to Featherweight. Edgar has an upcoming “superfight” ahead of him, one that will feature the next man in this list as his opponent. It is possible that a battle with Rousey would be a bigger draw and would get both athletes worldwide attention.
6. Urijah Faber
Faber is nearing the end of his MMA career, and a fight with Rousey would likely be his final massive payday as an active fighter. The Bantamweight made a name for himself as WEC Featherweight champion, holding that title for two years. He is widely respected for helping build the popularity of lighter weight fighting, and Faber is still regarded as one of the top fighters in the Bantamweight division. Rousey and Faber would draw in a variety of fans who remember what Faber has achieved and who have also watched Rousey dominate her competitors.
5. Jose Aldo
This may, all things considered, be the most interesting fight of any listed in this piece. Aldo is the reigning UFC Featherweight champion of the world, and he is also widely regarded as one of the best overall fighters in the sport today. Aldo comes in at No. 2 in the UFC pound-for-pound rankings, while Rousey sits at No. 7. Rousey’s walk-around weight is closer to 150 pounds than to 135 pounds, meaning that she would not have to worry about cutting weight heading into the fight. Aldo versus Rousey could be one heckuva show.
4. Demetrious Johnson
“Mighty Mouse,” as the diminutive Johnson is known, is the reigning UFC Flyweight champion of the world, the top fighter in his weight class. This is a rare case where Rousey would actually have a weight advantage going into training camps, but that could be remedied via a catch fight that would allow Johnson to move up to 135 pounds. That is somewhat of a bummer for Rousey, who would still have to cut weight before the fight. She does not have a history of missing weight, and there is no reason to believe she would for this battle.
3. TJ Dillashaw
Pro wrestling and MMA both have a history of what are known as “unification bouts,” which feature two champions facing off against each other with both titles on the line. While this technically would not be a unification fight due to the fact that Dillashaw probably would not be interested in holding the women’s championship, it would be an encounter of two Bantamweight champs going one-on-one. Dillashaw is currently seen as the No. 1 overall Bantamweight fighter on the planet. Would Rousey be able to take that crown from him?
2. Conor McGregor
McGregor’s ascent up the UFC rankings has been fascinating to behold, and the former champion in the Cage Warriors Fighting Championship promotion could be the next big thing in the industry. McGregor, from Ireland, has a unique look, and he is also a talented fighter who will have an opportunity to win a championship in the summer of 2015. That he fights in the Featherweight division would not be a problem for Rousey considering her walk-around weight. Truth be told, she would probably be delighted about not having to cut weight before the fight.
1. CM Punk
The point of any UFC pay-per-view event, above anything else, is to attract attention and make money. Rousey versus Punk, a former professional wrestler who is admired by the UFC champion, would do both and then some. Punk would have a massive size advantage and would be a heavy favorite to win because of that, but he also does not possess the skills had by Rousey. World Wrestling Entertainment fans who followed the “Straight Edge Superstar” for years will, one way or another, tune in to watch Punk’s UFC debut. Why not double your money and make Rousey his opponent?
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