Never say never, right.
It has been seven years since the last time iconic MMA fighter Ronda Rousey (12-2-0) stepped into the octagon. When asked about a possible return to MMA during the Kurt Angle Show last Sunday (June 12), Rousey revealed there’s only one fight she’d be interested in returning to competition for — Gina Carano.
“There’s only one person … there’s only one person I would come back for,” Rousey told Kurt Angle. “I mean, I’ve said it a million times. It’s not like it’s something new. (I’d come back) for Gina, man – Gina Carano. She’s the reason why I got into fighting. She’s the reason why I knew it was a possibility. I will always be forever grateful. If she ever was like, ‘Ronda, I want to fight you tomorrow at 205 pounds’ – like, whatever the hell she’d want. I’m not saying she’s 205 pounds; she’s very svelte.”
Rousey continued: “If she wanted to come into my backyard and do the ‘Rocky’ thing, you know, ‘Ding-ding,’ and we just do it in the backyard, I don’t care. I will fight Gina wherever she wants. And if she doesn’t want to, forever, I will leave that offer there. It’s a respect thing, not like a, ‘F*ck you, I’m coming to get you.’ It’s just like, ‘Hey, if you ever want to pull that card out, it’s there.’ I love her. Thank you, Gina, for everything you’ve done.”
Gina Carano, 40, retired from MMA in 2009 after her first loss against current Bellator MMA champ Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino at Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg in August 2009. Transitioning to acting shortly after defeat, Carano is recognized as the pioneer of women’s MMA.
Rousey has had no interest in returning to MMA for a “final” bout since her loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016. In her prime, Rousey was the face of the women’s UFC division. A reigning champion from 2013 to 2015, she headlined five UFC events with her first against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in February 2013.
In 2019, Carano shared with ESPN that a potential “super fight” with Rousey was presented to her — a fight Rousey always wanted — with a million-dollar offer to fight a then-undefeated Rousey; however, didn’t materialize because of Dana White — according to Carano.
Carano told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani: “When Ronda Rousey became popular, I remember they (Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta) had finally called for a meeting, and I walked in this restaurant, and they looked like these two big muscly guys at the table in like the middle of Hollywood. I remember thinking, ‘What took you guys so long? I’ve been … what took you so long?’ So they were like, ‘OK, we’d love to offer you a million dollars. We’d love to have that fight.’ And I was like, ‘Well, that sounds great, but I’m going to need you to do me a favor, then, because I’ve been acting, I’m not active in any gym. So it’s going to take me, you know, you’re going to have to give me some time to build a team or join a team.”
It’s no secret that the idea of Rousey versus Carano would easily be one of the biggest fights in MMA history and draw record-breaking Pay-Per-Views buy. Unfortunately in combat sports, super fights often fall through due to a variety of reasons, ranging from money to politics to proper preparation.
“And it’s not an easy thing, as I’m sure all the fighters know,” Carano continued. “You have to find a team or build one that’s going to be into what you’re doing, and if you haven’t actively been a part of anything, you can walk in as Gina Carano or whoever, but you’re still going to have to find the people who are really going to be there for you, and that takes time. So I told them, ‘You got to be able to just sit on this for about six months, Dana. You can’t say anything and let me get situated with that, because that sounds great and I’d love to do it.’ So it was a nice dinner, and we all left positive. I left stoked, and I was like, ‘OK, well this makes sense. This is my moment to come and be back in there.”
Fans of the two icons have created dream fight simulations that showcased possible outcomes in support of the UFC’s UFC 2 video game. You may watch the full women’s bantamweight dream bout above via EA Sports.
Since the UFC, Rousey has become a WWE Superstar and the current Smackdown Women’s Champion, alongside a flourishing acting career with roles in blockbuster film franchises Fast and Furious and Expandables.
Gina Carano has established herself as an action star with high-profile roles in blockbuster franchises like Fast and Furious also, Marvel’s Deadpool and Star Wars.
Watch the full Kurt Angle Show interview above.