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Nursing a back injury, Cat Zingano wouldn't have been ready for Jan. 3

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Though there's been much speculation as to why Ronda Rousey's next bantamweight title defense against Cat Zingano was moved from Jan. 3 to Feb. 28, most of it has been off base.

According to a report on UFC Tonight, the switch in date had less to do with Rousey's marketability as a headliner than it did a timetable for recovery. Zingano's management team told Ariel Helwani that the challenger has been dealing with a back injury, and wouldn't have been ready for UFC 182 in Las Vegas on Jan. 3.

Though the back issue pushed the date back, her team says she's feeling better and hoping for a full recovery in order to be ready for UFC 184 in Los Angeles on Feb. 28.

After defeated Miesha Tate in April 2013, the 32-year old Zingano was slated to coach opposite Rousey on The Ultimate Fighter 18 and then fight for the 135-pound title afterwards. In May Zingano suffered a knee injury that forced her from the show and out of the title shot (all of which went to Tate). Zingano returned at UFC 178 in September, scoring a third-round TKO over Amanda Nunes to once again solidify herself as the No. 1 contender.

As for Rousey, she is coming off a 16-second destruction of Alexis Davis at UFC 175. In drawing Zingano in Los Angeles, Rousey -- who lives in Venice and trains in Glendale, Calfornia -- will have the home cage advantage.