After spending what will be more than a year on the sidelines, Ronda Rousey will finally make her return to the Octagon Friday Dec. 30 to face UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. UFC President Dana White announced the news on “The Herd” Wednesday afternoon.
Rousey was recognized as the most dominant female fighter on the planet for the majority of her run as UFC women’s bantamweight champion. Making her Octagon debut in February 2013, Rousey defeated Liz Carmouche via first-round submission. She would defend the title five more times in impressive fashion — stopping the likes of Miesha Tate, Sara McMann, Alexis Davis, Cat Zingano and Bethe Correia — before running into Holly Holm at UFC 193. Held before a record-breaking crowd at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, Holm stunned Rousey with a second-round knockout to become the second woman to hold the UFC women’s bantamweight title.
“Rowdy” has since been on a hiatus, focusing on her acting career and recovering from injuries and surgery. She was originally expected to return to face Holm in an immediate rematch at UFC 200 before admitting she would not have enough time to recover from her loss, fulfill her movie commitments and prepare for the championship rematch.
Nunes, meanwhile, went on to win the gold at UFC 200 by defeating Tate via first-round submission in the main event. Tate defeated Holm via fifth-round submission to win the gold at UFC 196 in March — just five months after “The Preacher’s Daughter” netted the biggest win of her career over Rousey.
Rousey is largely credited with being the sole reason the UFC brought women’s MMA into the Octagon, a concept that now famously didn’t seem plausible to White when asked years prior.