Ronda Rousey hasn’t been heard from since losing to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 last December. Rousey got smashed and lost the bout in 48 seconds and quickly went into hiding like she did when she lost to Holly Holm in 2015. The former champ told fans in an open letter that she wanted to take some time off to figure out what to do next with her career since the first round TKO loss.
There have been rumblings that the WWE had interest in bringing Rousey in sometime in 2017 for Wrestlemania 33 or possibly Summerslam but nothing is in stone as of yet. UFC commentator Joe Rogan suggested “Rowdy” retire and walk away. Rousey’s mother also shared the same point of view.
But what if Rousey wants to keep fighting? She won’t get a title shot after two straight losses and how would Dana White go about rebuilding her to make her a legit threat to the champion again. The answer is easy but it also means cutting the legs off another red hot women’s star at the expense of getting Rousey back on top. The UFC makes Ronda Rousey vs Paige Van Zant in attempt to get Rousey back on top and make her a star again in the promotion.
Since buying the UFC last summer WME is eager to make money back on their $4 billion dollar investment but things seems to be falling apart for the new owners. Brock Lesnar and Jon Jones got popped by USADA for failed drug tests and can’t compete until July. Anderson Silva lost his second straight fight. Conor McGregor wanted to take some time off after winning his second title in the UFC. Former WWE champ CM Punk wasn’t even competitive in his first UFC fight. All-time great Dan Henderson retired. Heavyweight champ Stipe Miocic is complaining to the media about his contract. And most importantly Ronda Rousey got dominated in under a minute in her big return to the octagon.
There are some problems with a potential Rousey vs Van Zant fight. Van Zant fights at 125 pounds and Rousey fights at 135. But I would imagine that Dana White could come up with enough cash to get Van Zant to move up to bantamweight. She’s also coming off a bad loss to Michelle Waterson and has lost two out of three in the UFC so a change in weight classes would not be unprecedented.
The only downfall is that after several losses Van Zant isn’t as marketable as she was when she was on Dancing With the Stars last year. If she loses to Rousey that would make three losses in her last four fights and Van Zant would fade into obscurity after the UFC invested so heavily in promoting her in 2014 and 2015.
You can’t put Rousey in the main event of a pay per view but a fight against Van Zant is worthy of being a co-main on a big show that featured another big name like Jon Jones or Conor McGregor. Rousey gets a percentage of pay per view revenue so it would behoove her to want to fight on a big show with another big name as the headliner.
Coming into the fight Rousey would likely have the advantage. As the much bigger fighter Rousey would probably be able to take Van Zant down and get an armbar submission victory to put her back on the map. With a win the UFC could put her back in the title picture at 135 or 145. Or even if Holm or Nunes don’t hold the women’s featherweight or bantamweight belts there is still money to be made with potential rematches as long as Rousey beats Van Zant.
We don’t even know if Rousey is going to come back but if she does she can’t suffer a third straight loss in the octagon. A matchup with Van Zant is marketable and it’s a safe fight that sets her and the UFC up for at least one more big payday.