Since Tate choked out Holly Holm at UFC 196 earlier this month, many have speculated that her first title defense will come against Rousey. After all, the latter is her bitter rival, and is the former champ. Although Rousey has defeated Tate twice before, now that “Cupcake” has the belt, it’s a fight a lot of people want to see right?
Well, that question aside, it seems clear that just like Holm, Tate isn’t interested in sitting on the sidelines and waiting for Rousey. The star isn’t expected to return to the Octagon until late 2016. Tate appeared on the latest “UFC Tonight” on Wednesday, and the champ had this to say (quote via FOX Sports press release):
“What I’ve decided as a champ, I can have the mentality to fight anyone at any time. There are so many top contenders now – Ronda, Holly, Amanda, Julianna Pena, they’re all solid competition. It’s not my job as a champ to pick a fight, it’s to fight whoever they put in front of me. I’d like to stay active as a champion and not wait until November. I’d like to defend the belt and continue to prove why I’m the best in the world.”
It’s not surprising to hear Tate say this. As was the case with Holm, there’s no guarantee that Rousey will be ready to go this fall. Further, there are some interesting match-ups to be made against the likes of Amanda Nunes, Julianna Pena or a rematch with Holm, as Tate noted.
Since Tate has two losses to Rousey already, the UFC might be interested in having her fight again in the interim. If Tate can go out there and score a big win, then a third bout with Rousey becomes that much more of a draw.
It will be interesting to see what happens though. Tate would have to get something booked here pretty quick, if the UFC intends to have Rousey fight for the belt before the year is up.