Joe Rogan Knows 'Secret Stuff' About Ronda Rousey's Next Opponent

Fightland Blog

By Aurora Ford

“I wish I could, but I would be betraying the confidence of my friend and employer,” Joe Rogan apologized yesterday on the Kevin and Bean radio show when pressed to clarify what he meant about a "big announcement" coming in a week or so concerning Ronda Rousey’s next fight in the UFC. Rogan was on the show talking about MMA when either Kevin or Bean said that after Rousey's one-minute dismantling of Sara McMann last week, there's no one left to challenge the woman's bantamweight champion. This is where Joe jumped in to tease us, arouse our collective interest, and then bail. The problem with this kind of statement is that the wild speculation that follows pretty much always causes the actual announcement to sound tame by comparison, and wild speculation has indeed been running circles around the Internet (an my head) since yesterday.

Some people have suggested that Cat Zingano is all healed up after her surgery and is ready for the shot at the title she had to give up last year. While I think we all feel that Cat definitely deserves this shot, it hardly seems like "big news." The media has been following her recovery and the word  is that she’ll be returning to the Octagon this summer. As an MMA fan I hope it’s true, but as a fan of huge surprises, I hope it's not what Rogan was talking about.

Others suggest that Alexis Davis will be given a chance after her win at UFC 170. The very first women’s MMA fight I ever saw was between Alexis and Sarah Kaufman and it changed my perception of what women could do in the cage forever. That fight was one of the bloodiest, most bad-ass brawls I’ve ever seen, man or woman. Despite her quiet disposition, Alexis has the skill set to give Ronda fits. Still, this seems like an obvious matchup and news hardly worthy of wing termed a "big announcement" or of Joe Rogan coyness.

More exciting speculation was centered around boxing champion Holly Holm finally making the leap from the minor leagues to UFC. I’ve seen Holly fight in person, and she's kind of terrifying. Ronda is scary in the cage because she looks so angry, like she means to rip out your still-beating heart and eat it. Holly is scary in the cage for the opposite reason. She looks like I imagine a tiger would look when cornered by aborigines with spears; wild-eyed, muscles tensed, and like she’ll do anything to stop you from hurting her. She looks like she fights  in pure survival mode. I like her for this. I don’t think I’m the only fight fan out there who secretly (or not-so-secretly) acknowledges that she’d be scared as hell if she were the one in the cage, so I find I identify with Holm (or maybe I'm just projecting). I would be so excited to see Holly matched up against a 135er she doesn’t far outclass, but even if she is headed for the UFC, I doubt they’d give her a title shot right away. Dana White has shot that notion down recently as well saying, “She’s never even fought here before, so no.”

Which leaves us with the obvious answer and really the only announcement that could make a man like Joe Rogan tight-lipped: Is Ronda finally going to fight Cyborg Santos? Dana White has said "no" to this fight more times than I can count, so it would genuinely surprise me if he’d reconsidered so quickly. I read an article recently that makes the case that Ronda needs an opponent like Cyborg in order to really shine. This argument hinges on the assertion that there isn’t anyone already in the division at the UFC or anywhere else at 135 that can do the job, which I think is a vast underestimation of the talent already available. But at the same time it's impossible not to wonder if the UFC isn't reluctant to put their biggest superstar in the cage with a woman like Cyborg.

I’ve pondered Joe Rogan’s cryptic words all day, and I just can’t think of anybody or any situation that isn’t one we’re already expecting, but what do I know? Maybe there's some other reality I'm not aware of. Either way, I'll be waiting, totally impatiently. Love her or hate her, Ronda Rousey is always news. 

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