If there is one person who might have a right to be disappointed that new UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman will rematch Anderson Silva in December's UFC 168 main event, it's Ronda Rousey.
Rousey (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC), the women's bantamweight champion, was expected to headline the Dec. 28 pay-per-view event at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena against fellow ex-Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate (13-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a rematch of their March 2012 contest, which Rousey ended in the first round with her vaunted armbar submission.
Now, the women's contest will take second billing, as Weidman (10-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) scored a shocking second-round knockout of Silva (33-5 MMA, 16-1 UFC) on July 6 that instantly earned their second fight must-see status.
Rousey insists that's fine with her.
"I'm super stoked about being on the same card as Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman," Rousey told USA TODAY Sports and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "It'll alleviate some of the promotional stress and pressure because there'll be more of us working to promote this big card."
Rousey knows all about handling the bulk of promotional responsibilities. Ahead of her UFC debut in February, Rousey was featured so prominently that UFC President Dana White insisted it was the most attention any single fighter – male or female – had received for a bout while under his watch.
"No fighter has ever fought in the UFC that has had more attention than she has," White said in advance of that UFC 157 appearance. "It's a fact. ... I didn't think that HBO and Time magazine and all these other outlets that never cover us would. And if they did, I didn't think it was going to be positive."
But it was, and Rousey became an instant sensation with her first-round submission win against Liz Carmouche.
More recently, the Olympic judo medalist wrapped up filming for "The Ultimate Fighter 18," the latest installment of the UFC's long-running reality competition series. Tate is her opposing coach on the show, which debuts on FOX Sports 1 on Sept. 4.
The natural tension between the two rivals was expected to be the promotional base for their UFC 168 headliner, but is now the co-feature.
Rousey, who grasps the business side of MMA almost as well as she does the combat aspects, said she's thrilled to be a part of a rare championship doubleheader.
After all, the headliner features what could be the most-anticipated rematch in UFC history with new champion Weidman looking to prove his recent victory against Silva was no fluke.
"Their fight may very well be the fight of the year, maybe even in the history of the company, and I think it's an honor to be a part of that," Rousey said.