UFC president Dana White was hoping to have his biggest mainstream superstar back in action before year’s end, but former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s (pictured) return to action will have until the Holidays, if not 2017, after undergoing knee surgery on Wednesday.
“I’m hoping we’re going to get Ronda back this year,” White said on Thursday’s edition of ESPN’s SportsCenter. “She actually just had surgery on her knee [yesterday]. Nothing serious – just get in there, scope it and clean it out a little bit. She feels great, her spirits are great and she’s been training.
“So if she fights, I’m hoping that she either fights in December. Or if not, she’d probably fight on the New Year’s show or beginning of the year or something.”
White did not elaborate on Rousey’s expected recovery time following the operation.
This marks the second setback Rousey has encountered since getting knocked out cold in November by Holly Holm to lose her bantamweight belt. There was initial chatter that Rousey would get an immediate rematch against Holm at the historic UFC 200 event in July, but production for the movie “Road House,” where Rousey will play the leading role, was pushed back earlier this year.
There’s no doubt the UFC would want their golden girl to star in their long awaited return to New York in November, but it that appears to be too soon after getting her knee scoped.
Regardless of when, White is promising that Rousey won’t have to fight her way back into title contention. Whoever is sitting atop the bantamweight throne is who Rousey will face.
“If Miesha Tate is still the champion, she will fight Miesha Tate,” said White. “Whoever has the belt, Ronda Rousey will fight. You never know; injuries happen in this sport, and maybe somebody falls out and someone goes in. I’m not even saying Holly Holm couldn’t be the champion by the time Ronda comes back.”
Obviously, Rousey would prefer to have Tate in her return bout seeing as though she already holds two submission victories over her archenemy. A rematch against Holm, who made Rousey look absolutely silly at UFC 193 before rendering her unconscious on the canvas with a highlight reel head kick, would be a tough task in a comeback bout following an extended layoff.
Tate, who submitted Holm at UFC 196 to take the title, will make her first defense against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200.