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Your Call: Who should be Rousey's next opponent?

Andrew Robichaud, TSN.ca
4/7/2014 10:05:10 PM
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Ronda Rousey needed just one minute and six seconds to dispose of her last opponent, Sara McMann, at UFC 170 on February 23, 2014.

Before that, Rousey needed a total 23 minutes and 26 seconds to take care of her last eight opponents - and one of those fights lasted 10 minutes and 58 seconds.

So, who is the next worthy contender to take a shot at dethroning the first and only UFC women's bantamweight champion.

There are a few names that have floated around as possible opponents but nothing is set in stone.

Let's take a closer look at the potential combatants:

Cat Zingano

The No. 1 contender for the women's title is likely the best female fighter in the UFC not named Rousey. The Broomfield, Colorado native has a perfect 8-0 record with her one fight with the organization being her biggest, a third-round TKO over division stalwart Miesha Tate at "The Ultimate Fighter 17" finale on April 13, 2013.

Zingano was scheduled to appear as a coach opposite Rousey on the 18th edition of the reality show and later fight for the women's title at the show's culminating event, but she was forced to withdraw with a knee injury. She underwent stem cell therapy on her left knee last October and has been sidelined since.

When she is ready to return UFC president Dana White says Zingano will be the No. 1 contender.

Gina Carano

These days the public is likely to know Carano more for her starring roles in action films "Haywire" and "Fast and Furious 6" than for her mixed martial arts past, but there was a time when Carano was untouchable.

Carano (7-1) spent two years undefeated before a loss in 2009 at the hands of Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos for the Strikeforce women's featherweight championship.

She hasn't fought since, however, her contract with four fights remaining on it was absorbed by the UFC when parent company Zuffa, LLC purchased Strikeforce in 2011. In an appearance last week on "The Arsenio Hall Show," Carano said she was meeting with White this week to discuss a potential return.

"There's not a workout that I go through that I'm not fighting somebody in my mind," said Carano. "And it's never gone away."

Holly Holm

Holm is the newest name in the hat for a shot at Rousey and her credentials give her every right to be there.

She is a former 18-time boxing champion and Legacy's first women's bantamweight champion. Holm (7-0 in MMA) captured the inaugural title in decisive fashion on Friday, defeating Juliana Werner via fifth-round TKO at Legacy 30 despite breaking her arm in the first round.

Holm's management met with the UFC in March, but White told UFC Tonight's Ariel Helwani the meeting did not go well and the he was "not interested whatsoever" in the fighter's service.

If Holm does find a way into White's good books, it could lead straight to Rousey.

Cristiane Justino

"Cyborg" is coming off a loss in a Muay Thai fight against champion Jorina Baars in March, but her dominant history puts her near the top of the list for a superfight with Rousey.

She is the former Strikeforce featherweight champion and inaugural Invicta FC featherweight champion. She is also a two-time jiu-jitsu world champion.

Justino also fears no one. This we are sure. After Rousey's win over McMann at UFC 170, Justino (12-1, 1 NC in MMA) was quick to request a meeting in the octagon with the undefeated champ.

"I'm glad @rondarousey  won- now I can kick her ass in December - make it happen daddy @danawhite," she posted on her Twitter account on Feb. 23.

It would likely be the biggest fight in women's MMA history, however, White and Justino's camp have never seen eye to eye. White certainly didn't mince words a few days after UFC 170 and Justino's tweet.

"First of all, she does not fight here. Everybody realizes that, right? See weighs 145 pounds and her genius manager, Tito Ortiz, said that she would die if she went to 135 pounds," White told U.K. television station BT Sports. "She's also coming off a steroid suspension last time she was here. I can't even, it drives me nuts. She [Rousey] will not fight Cyborg. I don't know who she's going to fight."

Alexis Davis (Honourable mention)

One of the more seasoned fighters in the division, the Canadian has won five fights in a row and all three of her bouts in the UFC. While she is not a favourite to challenge for the belt just yet, Davis (16-5) has forced her way into the conversation with her most recent wins coming over Jessica Eye and former title contender Liz Carmouche.

Injuries and contract disputes aside, each of these fighters has an argument when it comes to Rousey's next title defence. If all of these women could agree to a fight tomorrow, who should be the one to step inside the octagon?

As always, it's Your! Call

Ronda Rousey (Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)


(Photo: Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
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