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Ronda Rousey-Gina Carano title fight looks closer than ever

Mixed martial arts: Glendale-trained fighter said it would be an 'honor' to fight fellow women's MMA pioneer.

April 09, 2014|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Ronda Rousey believes a fight with MMA icon Gina Carano is in the works. (Tim Berger/File Art)
Ronda Rousey believes a fight with MMA icon Gina Carano…

LOS ANGELES — When “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey began her mixed martial arts career, it came to be in part due to the inspiration of Gina “Conviction” Carano.

“Thank God for Gina Carano,” Rousey told the Glendale News-Press in August of 2011. “I have so much respect for her. I'm grateful for what she's done.”

Rousey, the current and first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champion, has long said that it would be an honor to fight Carano, though the latter has been absent from competition since the summer of 2009.

Now, however, following weeks of speculation on the Internet and among the mixed martial arts media, after a UFC media luncheon in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday afternoon, it appears more likely than ever that a Rousey-Carano showdown for the UFC title is imminent.

“She’s the reason I knew what women’s MMA was,” said Rousey, who trains under Edmond Tarverdyan at the Glendale Fighting Club. “It would be an honor to fight her.

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“She’s the fight I’ve always wanted.”

And the feel Wednesday afternoon was that it might well be the fight the undefeated Rousey (9-0) will get.

“I think it would be the best thing for women's MMA,” Rousey said. “I think it would be the highest profile fight that could be done.”

UFC President Dana White was on hand for the media event along with Jake Ellengberger, who recently began training at Glendale Fighting Club, Ellenberger’s UFC 173 opponent Robbie Lawler and UFC 173 headliner TJ Dillashaw, who will challenge Renan Barao for the men’s bantamweight title on May 24 in Las Vegas.

Rousey wasn’t scheduled to appear and made an impromptu appearance shortly after the midway part of the event.

Talk eventually moved to the potential Rousey-Carano bout that first gained traction when UFC color commentator Joe Rogan told KROQ’s Kevin & Bean Show in early March that a “huge announcement” was coming up regarding Rousey’s next opponent.

“That thing got built on its own,” said White of the hype and speculation of the bout.

But not long after, White said, “I’d do that fight.”

White also confirmed he was meeting later Wednesday night to talk with Carano, 31, and, as the interview went along, indicated that a possible bout was close to coming to fruition.

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