UFC 175 highlighted the UFC’s “Red, White & Fight” week in what’s become a tradition for the promotion to have a big fight for the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Although much of the main card didn’t deliver the fireworks display many were hoping for, the two main-event bouts more than delivered the goods.

In the evening’s co-main event, Ronda Rousey absolutely wrecked Alexis Davis. The UFC women’s bantamweight champ defeated Davis in a mere 16 seconds. There’s really not much to break down outside of saying Rousey did what Rousey does. She came out, initiated the clinch and flung Davis to the mat with ease. Only this time, instead of looking for her vaunted armbar, the champ unleashed a flurry of punches that removed Davis from her senses. Touted as being Rousey’s toughest test to date, Davis lost the fight before the bell even rang because she was going up against one the greatest competitors in MMA history. Say what you want about the talent pool in the UFC women’s bantamweight division, but Rousey has dispatched everyone put in front of her and has made it look easy.

Following the fight, Rousey was asked if she’d be willing to save UFC 176, which is currently without a main event due to an injury to headliner Jose Aldo. Put on the spot, Rousey made the most of a bad situation and left the door open while aiming to not disappoint the crowd in attendance. It appears as though Rousey won’t be able to get cleared for UFC 176, though, which means we likely won’t see “Rowdy” until the end of the year.

Although we know when we might see her again, who she faces is a real coin toss. On one hand, you have Cat Zingano, who already earned her title shot after defeating Miesha Tate last year. But she’s been on the sidelines with a knee injury and has had plenty of personal issues going on. Given the circumstances, it might not be in her best interest to come back and face Rousey in her first contest.

Outside of Zingano, the UFC doesn’t have any viable contenders to throw at Rousey. Tate is the division’s other major star, but she already has two submission losses to the champ. Sara McMann and Sarah Kaufman already have losses to Rousey as well, and Jessica Eye is coming off a loss to the aforementioned Davis. Some people have suggested Bethe Correia as an option, but that’s an incredibly hard sell for the UFC. Correia is relatively unknown and hasn’t exactly become “must-see TV.” What she does have is at least some semblance of a background with Rousey and her “Four Horsewomen” stable of teammates. If Correia can get past Shayna Baszler, she will no doubt make it a point to call out the champion.

No matter who it is that faces Rousey at the end of the year, it’s going to be tough for fans to become invested in the match-up, outside of seeing Rousey dominate the opposition much like she’s done her entire career.

The same cannot be said of UFC 175’s main-event winner, Chris Weidman. The UFC middleweight champion finally silenced his critics and proved his title reign is legit by defeating former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida. Weidman controlled the action for the first three rounds, but ran into major trouble in the fourth frame. He found more success in the fifth round, but had to survive the final moments as Machida made a late surge. If you’re to believe Weidman’s claim that he had a terrible camp full of injuries, it does bode well for his future that he was able to take out one of the best in the sport despite the struggles he encountered. He’ll need all the confidence he can get, as a slew of challengers are hungry and awaiting their shot at the champion.

On the outside looking in are a trio of former Strikeforce stars that have proven to be worthy challengers. Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is among the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in combat sports and has continued to evolve his striking throughout his MMA career. Luke Rockhold bounced back in a big way from his defeat in his UFC debut and presents a very diverse, well-rounded attack. And Tim Kennedy beat perennial top-five middleweight Michael Bisping in their grudge match and, as anyone on Twitter will tell you, the man has no issues with speaking his mind.

These three men will all likely have to wait their turn, however, as Weidman’s original UFC 176 opponent will likely get the next crack at trying to dethrone the champ. That man is the face of the “TRT era,” Vitor Belfort. The Brazilian ran through contenders like it was sparring practice in 2013, and he was originally scheduled to face Weidman until the TRT program got nixed from combat sports. Although Belfort’s drug history isn’t the cleanest, there’s no bigger fight for Weidman than a bout against Belfort. Weidman can be billed as the man who defeated Anderson Silva—twice—and solved the Machida puzzle, and the UFC has a bevy of highlight-reel knockouts from Belfort to showcase in establishing the Brazilian as a threat to Weidman’s title reign.

It’s very likely we won’t see Weidman fight again until later this year after he mends his injuries. You can bet the back-and-forth banter between Weidman’s camp and Belfort will make this a complicated affair. It may even be Rousey and Weidman who co-headline the end-of-the-year card for the UFC. It certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing.

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.