The Miesha Tate / Ronda Rousey bantamweight title fight in March hasn’t even been officially confirmed yet and people are already spazzing out over it. No, not just in fanboy anticipation – this is after all one of the biggest WMMA fights that can be booked right now. Miesha Tate was quite vocal leading up to all this that she didn’t think Ronda was ‘worthy’, and now replaced #1 contender Sarah Kaufman is telling the press how bullshit the whole thing is:
“I’ve earned the title shot,” she said today. “I’ve had the Strikeforce title; I’ve had two good wins coming off my only loss in 15 fights, and I’ve earned and deserve the right to fight for that title.
“Having Ronda have the option of coming in and fighting at 145 pounds, having two fights with Strikeforce, and all of a sudden, she gets a title shot at a division she doesn’t fight in, it’s a slap in the face.”
“Ronda talks a lot,” Kaufman said. “She’s really told everyone that she’s attractive, and for that reason, she is marketable and should get a title fight. Definitely, dislocating Julia Budd’s arm opened people’s eyes. But what doesn’t make sense is that she hasn’t done anything at 135 pounds; she hasn’t even proven that she can make 135 pounds.
“I just don’t understand how she can be given a title shot that she hasn’t competed in when there’s someone at her weight, (Cristiane) ‘Cyborg’ (Santos), who’s waiting and looking for opponents, and Ronda’s the only one in that division that’s done well.”
Oh, call the Waaaaaambulance, someone’s got their panties in a twist. Sarah Kaufman doesn’t exactly have the world’s most compelling case for a title shot either. She’s only had two fights since she lost the belt and they weren’t much to write home about. Certainly not Gone in 60 Seconds amazing like Ronda’s fights. Everyone sighed when Coker started talking about rolling Kaufman back into the title spot because it represented everything wrong with the way they book women: it’s the same thee / four women involved in everything. Now someone new is getting a shot and that’s a bad thing?
And while Rousey’s cage time is lacking because she keeps wrecking opponents too quickly, those fights are still the proof in the pudding that her Olympic judo skills (the ones she used to win a bronze medal) are transferring just fine and should be accounted for whenever we bring up her relative worth in the division. Growing up and training amongst a who’s who of Armenian UFC fighters also tells you something about how ready she is. You have to ignore a metric butt-ton of facts to pretend Ronda Rousey is as green as some people pretend she is.
Rousey is positioning herself as the next big thing in WMMA, something the scene needs right now as Zombie Strikeforce limps on trying to find some meaning for itself. Zuffa would be stupid not to make this fight and make it now. Kaufman’s had two and a half years in the spotlight (a spotlight she didn’t always appreciate or shine under). Now it’s Ronda’s turn. The great thing is if she doesn’t deserve it she’ll get her ass kicked. MMA is fun like that.