After being out of the spotlight for nearly one year, MMA superstar Ronda Rousey will finally return to the Octagon action this December.
Rousey (12-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will attempt to regain the UFC belt she lost to Holly Holm in unforgettable fashion last November when she challenges current UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes (13-4, 6-1) for the title in the main event of UFC 207, which takes place Dec. 30 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (10 p.m. ET, pay-per-view).
UFC President Dana White today announced the matchup on “The Herd” on FS1.
Many doubted whether or not Rousey would ever compete again after she was brutally knocked out with a Holm head kick at UFC 193 in Australia last year. After being the face of the UFC for much of 2013-2015, Rousey, the former Olympian in judo, quickly faded away into the shadows.
Leading up to the contest Rousey was everywhere. Movies, commercials, posters and beyond made her arguably the most famous name to ever come out of the fight world and transition into Hollywood. She was handed her first defeat in highlight-reel fashion, though, and even 11 months after the loss Rousey has only made limited media appearances and only discussed the loss to Holm in very basic terms.
In Rousey’s absence, however, the UFC’s 135-pound weight class has evolved tremendously.
After Rousey lost the belt, Holm quickly turned around and lost it to Miesha Tate at UFC 196 in March. It seemed Tate had the attributes for a strong title reign, but in her first defense against Nunes at UFC 200 in July, was utterly smashed for a first-round submission, once again causing the championship to change hands.
Nunes’ combination is striking, wrestling and submissions makes her perhaps the most well rounded fighters in the division, though, and most certainly the most complete opponent Rousey has been matched against. Taking on that task after more than one year away from competition will make for a difficult challenge.
Major questions exist about where Rousey stands from both a physical and mental perspective, but White, who said he’s kept in close communication with the fighter during her time off, is positive Rousey will come back better than ever.
“The thing is Ronda Rousey has been the biggest, baddest female fighter on the planet now since we got into women’s fighting,” White said. “Ronda had a bad loss, obviously, and lost her title, but she’s still Ronda Rousey at the end of the day. When you talk about bad matchups for Ronda, it’s just about Ronda coming back. Everybody wins or loses. It happens.”