“We’d have to figure out at what weight to fight,” White added. “But Ronda wants that fight.”
Weight has been a sticking point, with Rousey insisting in the past that Justino come down from 145 pounds, at which she fights as the Invicta featherweight champion, to 135 pounds, the heavier of the two divisions the UFC has for women. At that weight, Rousey had an undefeated run and became an MMA superstar before Holly Holm scored a stunning knockout last November and took her bantamweight crown (only to lose it to Miesha Tate, who lost it to Amanda Nunes).
Justino made her UFC debut this year and has fought twice at a catch weight of 140 pounds, scoring technical knockouts of Leslie Smith and, on Saturday, Lina Lansberg, both times in her native country of Brazil. On Tuesday, White made it sound like a Rousey fight under those parameters could also happen.
“Ronda could do ,” he said on the podcast.
If so, that would be a change from Rousey’s oft-stated position, in which she has jabbed at Justino by claiming that the latter could make 135 pounds if she stopped using steroids. In 2012, the Brazilian star was given a one-year suspension for a post-fight positive test for an anabolic steroid.
Of course, one big change has already occurred with Rousey, and that is the formerly brash athlete keeping mostly silent for the past few months. She hasn’t fought since November, and there is still no clear timetable for her return to the Octagon, although White has made other recent comments indicating that Rousey intends to make one, as has her trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan.
Not keeping at all quiet is Justino, who maintains a busy social-media presence and, pouncing on White’s remarks, posted numerous tweets calling out Rousey for a fight in early 2017. Justino even posted video of Rousey saying, at a previous time, that she would take on the fight at 140 pounds if White asked her to do so.
Assuming Rousey returns to MMA at all, her first fight or two may well not be against Justino. White has also indicated that Rousey would get an immediate shot at her old bantamweight title, currently held by Nunes.
But Rousey-Cyborg is a fight all MMA fans want to see, and it’s clearly one Justino herself strongly desires. So now it’s just a matter of seeing if Rousey will back up White’s words.