With a co-headlining fight on the horizon versus Cat Zingano at UFC 184, Olympic medalist turned UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey joined AXS TV’s INSIDE MMA for an interview with correspondent Ron Kruck.

Zingano (9-0) was originally scheduled to face Rousey some time in late 2013 after coaching opposite one another on the 18th season of The Ultimate Fighter. But after suffering a knee injury in training camp, ‘Alpha’ was forced to pull out. While she was expected to make her return sometime last summer, the death of her husband, Mauricio Zingano, in January put those plans on hold.

Eventually, after more than a year and a half on the sidelines, Zingano returned with a violent TKO victory over Amanda Nunes at UFC 178 in September. This marked her second straight third-round stoppage victory, with her previous coming against former title contender Miesha Tate in their number one contenders bout at the TUF 17 Finale. In both fights, fans witnessed Zingano weather an early storm from her opponent before turning the corner and plastering their face with a barrage of knees and elbows late in the final round.

Rousey  (10-0), a notoriously fast starter when it comes to finishing her opponents, points to this ability to withstand such punishment displayed by Zingano as the single biggest weapon that was lacking in all of her previous opponents.

“Cat has the most heart out of anybody that I have fought before,” revealed Rousey. “She’s the one person, in a lot of her fights, it hasn’t gone perfectly her way and she’s always weathered it and came back. I think what makes fighters is their personality and I think Cat has the most dangerous personality of anybody I have ever faced.

“There doesn’t need to be personal beef between me and Cat because our own personal stories are compelling in their own way. She’s gone through so much and overcome so much that you can’t help but be interested.”

But if Rousey gets past Zingano, who else is out there for her to face? If it were up to the champion, her next opponent would most certainly be Gina Carano, the woman she labels as the reason she got into the sport of mixed martial arts in the first place.

A title fight with against Carano (7-1) would draw massive PPV buys. Carano was essentially face of women’s MMA between 2007-2008 during her run in EliteXC and Strikeforce. But after a suffering the first loss of her career in 2009, she decided enough was enough and went on to establish a successful career in Hollywood.

This left women’s MMA without the crossover superstar it so desperately needed. Then the brash talking Rousey came along and not only replaced Carano as the face of WMMA but also surpassed her in terms of popularity amongst the fans and marketability outside of the cage. But with Carano’s career as a movie star still in full swing, any talk of a potential return to the ring is all but irrelevant.

“Well, Gina is not in the UFC right now. She’s off making a movie,” said Rousey when asked if she was still looking for a fight with the Carano.

So with a matchup with her hero out of the picture for the foreseeable future, the two names most frequently brought as future opponents would most certainly be Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino, the very woman who sent Carano into retirement, and Holly Holm, a former world champion boxer turned mixed martial artist.

Cyborg (12-1), who is currently on the mend with a severe knee injury in camp, is currently riding a 13-fight unbeaten streak. In her most recent outing, fans saw the Brazilian successfully defend her Invicta title against Marloes Coenen in July 2013. Prior to this win, she defeated Fiona Muxlow for the inaugural Invicta FC featherweight championship. This came after serving a one-year suspension for testing positive for the anabolic steroid stanozolol, a subject Rousey has not shied away from when asked about a potential fight with the polarizing fighter.

“Cyborg, I was looking forward to fighting her,” revealed Rousey “But if by injured you mean she took too many steroids and can’t make-weight, yeah she’s extremely injured right now and is unavailable.”

Holm (7-0), who amassed a record of 33-2-3 as a boxer, has yet to taste defeat since making the switch to mixed martial arts in 2011. Since then she has laid waste to almost every single opponent thrown her way, securing violent knockouts in several different promotions. In her most recent outing, she earned the inaugural Legacy FC Women’s Bantamweight Championship with a violent headkick knockout over Juliana Werner in the main event of Legacy FC 30 in April.

“Holly Holm is a world champion boxer who is undefeated and has very many knockouts under her belt and I think is an extremely worthy opponent,” said Rousey.

Rousey was last seen scoring a 16 second knockout over Alexis Davis at UFC 175 in July. Prior to this win, fans saw her walk away with a TKO victory over fellow Olympian turned mixed martial artist Sara McMann a little over a minute into their title fight at UFC 170 in February. She currently holds stoppage victories in all 10 of her professional bouts, including seven by way of first round submission.

Her fight against Zingano in currently scheduled to take place at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles at UFC 184 in February, meaning she will have stepped into the octagon four times in the span of 14 months, all while maintaining a budding career as a Hollywood actress.

“Ideally, I would like to fight three a year,” said Rousey. “I think one of the reasons why the MMA fans have been so tolerant of me having parallel careers is I still remain the most active champion and I take a lot of pride in that.”

About The Author

News Manager

José began his career as a mixed martial arts journalist while still enrolled at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications at Arizona State University. Since graduating in May 2013, he has attended dozens of high profile UFC fight cards as a credentialed member of the media, providing live cage side coverage through his articles and videos. His work has appeared on UFC.com, ArizonaSports.com and AZCentral. He is also currently one of the main contributors on Power MMA Show at Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, one of the first all MMA radio shows on a major radio station.