It’s official: Ronda Rousey is back.
“Rowdy” will fight current UFC bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in Las Vegas on December 30, 2016, the company announced on Wednesday.
— UFC (@ufc) October 12, 2016
Both Nunes and Rousey took to Twitter to confirm the bout, with Rousey tweeting “#FeartheReturn.” Nunes simply captioned her tweet “BOOM.”
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) October 12, 2016
— Amanda Nunes (@Amanda_Leoa) October 12, 2016
Rousey, arguably the first crossover UFC superstar, has not been in the Octagon since losing to Holly Holm at UFC 193 on November 15, 2015—a stunning knockout that took away her UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship. Since that devastating loss, which left her battered and broken, she’s slowly climbed back into the public spotlight.
But it will not be an easy climb. In her first fight back, Rousey will try to reclaim her title against Nunes, a Brazilian with a 13–4 record who is coming off four straight wins. “The Lioness,” as she is known, is coming off her first-round defeat of Meisha Tate at UFC 200 in July, when she claimed the UFC bantamweight title. Nunes’ last loss came to Cat Zingano at UFC 178, way back in September 2014.
Originally, Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com hinted on Tuesday that Rousey could be making her return “very soon.”
A nug before I sign off for Yom Kippur: looking more + more like Rousey's return will be finalized this wk. Perhaps v. soon. 12/30 x Nunes.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 11, 2016
Conor McGregor will take on Eddie Alvarez in the headliner fight at UFC 205, which is set for Madison Square Garden—and based on his press conference, the Irish fighter is very confident about his chances—while Tyron Woodley, Chris Weidman, Miesha Tate, and Stephen Thompson will also be on the fight card.
Eddie Alvarez and Conor McGregor is your UFC 205 main event and it can't come soon enough.pic.twitter.com/eICWizeXD0
— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) September 27, 2016
UFC president Dana White hinted at Rousey’s return, saying: “Yes, there’s a big chance that Ronda Rousey will fight Amanda Nunes, and I’m very confident that Ronda will probably fight before the end of the year,” White said, according to Fox Sports.
Fans have been anticipating Rousey’s return for nearly a year. A matchup with Nunes—and a shot at reclaiming her bantamweight title—could be another major event for the sport.