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Ronda Rousey wants a piece of Bethe Correia; Dana White wants to wait and see

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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Let's get one thing clear from the top: If Bethe Correia gets a shot at Ronda Rousey's UFC bantamweight title, it's because she earned her spot.

The fact she's picking off Rousey's Four Horsewomen teammates one by one? Sure, that's certainly not going to hurt the potential fight's sales figures, either.

But if the virtuoso striking performance the undefeated Correia displayed against crafty veteran Shayna Baszler on Saturday night is any indication, then Rousey could have herself a real challenge.

"I don't think Bethe moves up because of the rivalry; I think Bethe moves up because of what she did tonight," UFC president Dana White said the post-fight press conference at Sleep Train Arena. "That was crazy. The punches she hit (Baszler) with, I haven't seen anything like that since (Phil) Baroni (against) (Dave) Menne. She looked good tonight. That's what's going to get her a fight with Rousey."

Of course, there are all sorts of variables that need to be figured out before we know who Rousey will next face. A bout with Gina Carano would still be the biggest money fight among the casual fans who make the difference between solid box office numbers and blockbusters (Saturday, White once again said they're "close" on a deal with Carano). And if that doesn't pan out, there's another unbeaten fighter lurking in Cat Zingano, who returns after more than a year's absence to face Amana Nunes at UFC 178.

But Correia, who knew she had been criticized going into the fight for going the distance in the bulk of her fights, did exactly what she had to do Saturday to push herself into the conversation.

"A lot of people was saying that I fight for points," Correia said through an interpreter. "But I wanted to go in there and I wanted to show that I can finish fights and I can't leave it all in the hands of the judges. ... "I'd love to have a chance at the title, I'd love to be champion, I have three fights in the UFC I'm undefeated right now. I feel like if I would have the chance at the title I would go in there and I would make the most of it."

Rousey, for her part, appears to want the opportunity to avenge fellow Horsewomen Baszler and Jessamyn Duke ASAP.

"As soon as (Correia) started talking, she texted me and said, ‘I want that fight; I want it now,'" White said. "‘I want it before someone else beats her,' and I said, ‘Calm down, lady. You've got other people to fight. We'll figure it out.'"