Ronda Rousey needed just 54 seconds to defeat the No. 2 women’s bantamweight in the world, tapping out Sarah Kaufman via armbar on Aug. 18 at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, CA.
The target is clearly on Rousey’s back now that she has firmly established herself as the face of women’s MMA.
Here’s a look at five potential opponents for the champ:
1) Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos: Santos (10-1) is the odds-on favorite to be next in line for a crack at Rousey. The former Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion was a beast of a competitor before testing positive for an anabolic steroid in January, and a victory over Rousey is the only way she can clean up her tarnished image.
The only problem is that Rousey wants to fight “Cyborg” at 135 pounds, and that may be a major issue. Santos has had trouble in past fights getting down to 145, so making weight at 135 might be a true deal breaker. You’d have to guess this fight will happen eventually – likely at a catchweight of 140 pounds – sometime in early-2013.
2) Miesha Tate: Most fight fans remember the first Tate-Rousey fight for the gruesome finish that left Miesha Tate’s left arm severely mangled, but the reality of it all is that the first three minutes of the scrap was highly competitive. Some would even say that Tate (13-3) was winning the first 190 seconds of the bout, as she staggered Rousey with jabs and worked out of an early armbar attempt.
Tate would love to get another shot at Rousey, and her fight of the night performance against Julie Kedzie on Aug. 18, put her right back in the mix.
3) Liz Carmouche: Carmouche (7-2) has a great backstory that instantly makes her one of the most marketable fighters in the female ranks. She is the first openly gay fighter in the Zuffa ranks, and also a former U.S. Marine.
Carmouche is a winner of three of her last five bouts, including victories over standout strikers like Kaitlin Young and Ashleigh Curry.
4) Alexis Davis: Davis (12-5) is the No. 3 women’s bantamweight in the world, and she’s coming off a convincing victory over Hitomi Akano, a notable submission expert.
While Davis has five losses on her resume, none came by way of armbar. Davis does her best work when she’s up against submission experts and grapplers, so a bout with Rousey would be perfectly fitting of her style.
5) Sara McMann: Much like Rousey, McMann (6-0) is a former Olympian who also happen to be undefeated in the cage. Victories over legit contenders like Hitomi Akano, Shayna Baszler and Tonya Evinger raised some eyebrows, and she’s just now coming into her fighting prime at age 31.