Rumors have been swirling for the past two weeks about an announcement that would impact women’s mixed martial arts fueled by UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan’s comments on KROQ’s Kevin and Bean Show earlier this month.
“I wish I could tell you what I know. I wish I could tell you. I know some secret stuff. I know some secret stuff, but I can't tell you. You might actually know, but I can't tell you. I can say no more than I've already said. I will tell you this, within the next probably week or so a huge announcement will come about women's fighting. It's going to be crazy. Madness,” said Rogan.
“I know people are speculating and there’s a lot of rumors going around, but I don’t believe anything until it’s signed, and I haven’t signed anything yet,” said Rousey about the rumors prior to the UFC 171 weigh-ins in Dallas on Friday.
UFC president Dana White revealed on Thursday that he’ll be meeting with former boxing standout and undefeated mixed martial artist Holly Holm this weekend. Holm has publicly stated that she’d like a fight with Rousey. Former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg announced that she plans to drop to the 135-pound weight class in hopes of securing a bout with Rousey.
None of the three women are currently competing in the UFC and Rousey emphasized that there’s already a top contender.
“I still feel that Cat Zingano is next. I feel like she is the number one contender,” said Rousey. “I saw a statement from her management saying she’ll be ready in June, so I don’t see why you didn’t add Cat to that list.”
Zingano earned a title shot by defeating Miesha Tate in April of last year. She was originally supposed to coach The Ultimate Fighter opposite Rousey, but was forced off the show and out of the title fight due to a knee injury.
While Rousey made it clear that Zingano is the top contender, she was enthusiastic about the possibility of facing Carano.
“I would love that. I’ve always said that,” said the bantamweight champion. “I never would have thought women’s MMA existed if I hadn’t seen her fight. I never knew there was such a thing until her. And to fight her would be a real honor, and I think it would be a milestone for the sport.”
Through all the speculation, Carano has remained silent. She hasn’t fought since August 2009 and hasn’t competed in the bantamweight division since her MMA debut in 2006.
“You can’t fight for anyone but yourself. I wouldn’t want her to fight for any other reason than she wants to fight, and it’s a personal decision for every athlete,” said Rousey.
If Carano wanted to come back to fighting, Rousey would be willing to give her an immediate title shot despite having not fought in five years.
“I think given everything that she’s done for the sport and the pioneer that she is, I think she deserves a title shot any time,” she said.
To fight Carano, Rousey said she’d be willing to make an exception and possibly do a catchweight fight. Although, White on Thursday said he wouldn’t do a catchweight fight.
“That would be more up to Dana and Lorenzo (Fertitta), all the big-name decision makers,” said Rousey. “There are exceptions that I would make for Gina that I wouldn’t for anyone else.
“I’m excited and hopeful for something like that (a fight with Carano). It would be huge for women’s MMA. But like I said earlier, I don’t believe it until I sign it,” added Rousey. “Gina was going to come back before and it didn’t work out. My hopes are up, but they are also not. We’ll see. Any decision she makes I will respect.”
Asked if she had to choose between fighting Zingano or Carano, Rousey said, “That would be a hard one. I think I'd have to take the wuss answer and leave it up to Dana. Either or, I would be ecstatic to fight either one of them.”