After a year’s hiatus from the sport that made her famous, the UFC’s Ronda Rousey is returning to the fight game in the organization’s final event of the year.
Rousey, despite losing her last bout and not having fought since November 14, 2015, is being given a title shot against bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes on December 30 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas at UFC 207.
Rousey lost her bantamweight title to Holly Holm at UFC 193. Since then, the belt has changed hands two more times, eventually winding up around Nunes’ waist. No women’s bantamweight titlist has successfully defended the belt since Rousey did it six times from Feb. 23, 2013, until last year.
“Ronda Rousey has been the biggest, baddest female fighter on the planet now since we got into women’s fighting,” UFC president Dana White said on “The Herd,” Colin Cowherd’s radio show, where White announced Rousey’s return.
“She’s still Ronda Rousey at the end of the day,” White said.
There had been speculation that Rousey might never return. Others said she should be made to fight a tuneup bout to show she deserved a title fight. And because it took Rousey so long to get back to the Octagon, there was a feeling that the loss had devastated her.
“It was never really about a psychological problem with Ronda,” White said. “The thing with Ronda is she said she wanted time off. She said I want to go away, I want to relax.”
She did go away—from fighting at least. Rousey appeared in movies. She did commercials and talk shows—probably her most popular appearance coming when she broke down in tears on Ellen DeGeneres’ show.
She’ll get a chance to restake her claim to the belt and show she’s over the loss. And odds makers think she can do it, already making her a more than 2-to-1 favorite over the champ.
No other fights have been announced for the card.