Let’s utilize Ronda Rousey’s drawing power to help bring her audience to showcase some of UFC’s best women fighters.
I had this idea before Dave Meltzer reported that UFC 190, which featured Ronda Rousey’s title defense against Bethe Correia and very little else, did over 900,000 in PPV buys. But after hearing that number, I’m more than convinced that the UFC should utilize Ronda’s drawing power and new-found audience to try and help the rest of the higher profile women on their roster.
(By the way, check out Ronda’s new Carl’s Jr. ad.)
Many people will say that it screams gimmick, but they’ve had all-heavyweight shows before and at TUF 20, seven out of the ten fights featured women. What’s gimmick to some is smart marketing to others. And while I think it would be fun to feature a women’s fight in every prelim too, that doesn’t have to be the case. I’d just make sure the main card and the main event of the prelims were women’s fights.
It’s already been announced that Ronda will kick-off 2016 with a title defense against Holly Holm. It’s rumored that Joanna Jedrzejczyk would defend her strawweight title, possibly against Claudia Gadelha if she’s able to return from injury in time.
It’s also been rumored that Miesha Tate could fight Amanda Nunes in a battle of top contenders to Rousey’s bantamweight title. And we haven’t even talked about Cris Cyborg yet.
If you can convince Cris Cyborg to get down to 135 to fight any number of women such as Cat Zingano, Raquel Pennington, or even Liz Carmouche who headlined the first UFC women’s main event against Ronda Rousey, that would add to the mystique of the event. And if she were to win, she could fight Rousey at UFC 200.
I’d also add Julianna Pena to the event. Pena, best-remembered from the TUF season that pitted Rousey against Tate, is on the comeback trail after suffering a brutal knee injury. But before the injury, there was some thought that with more experience, she could be a future Ronda Rousey opponent.
Lastly, I’d make sure two more women were added to the card. If Paige VanZant beats Alex Chambers on September 5, I’d hope to quickly turn her around to have her open up the main card for UFC 195. The UFC is putting marketing dollars behind her because of her look and it’d be great to get her in front of a Rousey audience. The second woman would be the Karate Hottie, Michelle Waterson. Waterson made her UFC debut in July, beating Angela Magana fairly easily. I’d put them in separate bouts, not against each other.
That’s six fights right there. My guess is that since it’s the first time they’ve ever done something like this, there would be quite a bit of mainstream media that doesn’t usually cover the UFC who would be interested in covering the event.
What I don’t know is what you’d be able to do with the possibly new audience who might simply be watching because of it being an all-women event. You’d give more eyeballs to fighters like VanZant and Jedrzejczyk who may be able to have higher profile fights down the line. Or, you could make it an annual event.