With a combat career already filled with firsts, the history in the making that is Ronda Rousey’s career now officially has an opponent to co-author the next chapter in women’s mixed-martial-arts chronicle.
With Rousey sitting cageside along with Glendale Fighting Club trainer Edmond Tarverdyan and friend and fellow GFC trainee Marina Shafir, bantamweights Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano made their Ultimate Fighting Championship debuts Saturday in Las Vegas at “The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale,” thrilling the Mandalay Bay crowd with Zingano winning the back-and-forth barnburner via third-round technical knockout.
There was plenty at stake, as Zingano earned a shot at Rousey’s UFC women’s bantamweight title “at the end of the year,” according to Tarverdyan, and a spot coaching the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter” thanks to the dramatic victory that took UFC Fight of the Night honors.
“Regardless of who I’m coaching against, it’s such a unique and historical situation — which seems to be coming up a lot these days,” said Rousey, 26 — the first-ever woman to sign a UFC fighter’s contract, the company’s first women’s champion and a winner in February against Liz Carmouche in the first-ever UFC women’s bout — on Saturday in a post-fight media scrum. “It’s gonna be awesome regardless.”