On Wednesday, Chris Weidman and Ronda Rousey traveled to Albany, New York to accompany UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta to visit the state legislature, where the power trio lobbied for state sanctioned mixed martial arts.
In the process, both of them may have learned the fate of their own immediate fighting futures. First, Fertitta told Weidman that Anderson Silva had agreed to fight him on July 4th weekend, and now, he has confirmed that women's bantamweight champion Rousey's next opponent is likely to be determined on April 13. That is the date of The Ultimater Fighter finale in Las Vegas, and, he told MMA Fighting that Rousey will be in attendance as an interested observer when Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano pair off.
"We're going to see who wins that fight, and more than likely, she’ll face the winner," Fertitta said. "So I think she’s got a lot of interest in seeing that outcome."
Rousey is less than two weeks removed from her historic win over Liz Carmouche, marking the first time a woman won in the UFC's octagon. The event was by all accounts a success, drawing a sellout crowd of 15,525 to the Honda Center in Anaheim, California. That was good for a $1.4 million gate. Rousey also drew attention from major media outlets including The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and HBO, among others.
Her second fight, though, might be a truer gauge of her drawing powers. A Tate win would likely set up the most lucrative scenario, as it would result in a rematch of a March 2012 Strikeforce fight which saw Rousey win via first-round armbar in 4:27. That was Rousey's longest career fight until Carmouche extended her to 4:49 at UFC 157.
If Zingano wins, it would be a breakthrough victory for the 30-year-old Colorado-based fighter who is currently unbeaten at 7-0. Zingano has finished six of her victories.
Fertitta didn't offer a timetable for Rousey's first title defense, but a late summer/early fall date would seem a match for the promotion's scheduling needs.