Women’s MMA or, more accurately, women in the UFC, has been a hot topic for many years. Dana White has been outspoken in the past about his disinterest of seeing a women’s division in the UFC, but as of late he seems to be doing a one-eighty on those thoughts.
Jarrah Loh, editor of Inside MMA Magazine
Even Gina Carano’s mega thrust into the limelight wasn’t really enough to edge White over the line and urge him to think seriously about getting the ladies in the Octagon. But as we have all seen, a new challenger has arrived.
While Gina Carano managed to get her face and body in the pages of every second men’s magazine in America, her fighting prowess always had a question mark dangling over it. As clean as her record was, there was always something that made you suspect if she was the real deal. So, even though Carano did a spectacular job in bringing women’s MMA to the forefront, an Olympic judo bronze medallist has taken the baton and is running a completely different race.
The Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey not only has the kind of face and body that gets you on the front cover of ESPN The Magazine body issue, but she brings with her a fighting category to rival any upcoming male fighter.
Aside from the Olympic medal, she has finished all of her opponents by arm-bar in the first round and has managed to captivate the general public at large in doing so.
Even Dana White pointed to the fact that she managed to break through the mainstream and recently appeared on Conan.
“How many [of our] guys have you seen on that show?” White said. “She’s the only [fighter] who has been on there. That’s how big she is.”
And it was obviously enough to get White thinking about a future women’s division.
“Ronda Rousey could be in the UFC, but I don’t know if it will be in the next year or in 10 years,” White told the press following UFC 150. “She’s a Strikeforce fighter, but we could see her in the UFC someday.”
Women’s MMA is starting to get big support and even Showtime Sports General Manager Stephen Espinoza was backing their Strikeforce fighter recently.
“Showtime has been a big supporter of women’s MMA,” Espinoza said. “Without exception, they always give us great fights and that’s what we’re after here; exciting fights.”
Though many thought women’s MMA would fade away, or perhaps Strikeforce would be out there promoting as a women’s-only promotion some time in the future, but if we can somehow produce half a dozen more Ronda Rousey’s for Dana White, then I’m sure there would be a UFC division before the end of the year. Because, as White has said, Rousey really is “the whole package”.
But that’s where the problem lies. If there’s no competition, there will be no follow up and eventually interest will die.
But if some depth begins to flood women’s MMA anytime soon, and with Rousey’s success inspiring legions, we just may, and then we could be looking at the girls in UFC very, very soon.