Move over gentlemen, the UFC has its first lady. UFC president Dana White made it official at the UFC on FOX 5 press conference in Seattle, announcing that Strikeforce bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will become the first female fighter in UFC history, awarding her a UFC championship belt that she will defend in the main event of UFC 157 on February 23 against fellow pioneer Liz Carmouche.
“It means a lot,” said Rousey. “I feel like we have a lot to prove at this event and no one’s going to be disappointed. The women are here to stay and we’re gonna prove it.”
A two-time US Olympian in judo who won a Bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Games, Rousey took the MMA world by storm as soon as she made her pro debut in 2011, with her no nonsense attitude and deadly armbar putting female MMA on the map like never before. In March of 2012, Rousey won the Strikeforce bantamweight crown by submitting Miesha Tate, and she successfully defended her title with a first round finish of Sarah Kaufman in August. Now 6-0 with six submissions, all in the opening round and all by armbar, the 25-year-old star will make history in 2013 with her bout against the 28-year-old Carmouche.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for Liz,” said Rousey. “She’s the only one that really stepped up and said she wanted this fight right now, and it speaks a lot to her. When the other girls come around and want to come to the big show, they know where I’m at.”
Hailing from San Diego, Carmouche (7-2) is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps who brings a powerful ground and pound attack and a two fight winning streak into her first UFC title fight, and after calling for a shot at Rousey, she will get her opportunity on February 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
“That’s who wanted to fight her,” said White when asked why Carmouche was selected as Rousey’s first challenger in the UFC. “Believe me, people aren’t kicking the doors down at Zuffa to fight her.”