November 09, 2012

The manager for top female MMA star Ronda Rousey disputes a report claiming Rousey has officially joined the UFC.

"Right now, nothing has changed," says Darin Harvey of Fight Tribe, noting that Rousey is in Las Vegas to fly with the Thunderbirds, the Air Force demonstration squadron, and not to sign a UFC contract.

While the deal with the UFC isn't official, it seems inevitable.

Late last month, UFC president Dana White told SI, "Ronda Rousey will be the first UFC women's champion." White, who had repeatedly rejected the idea of women fighting in the UFC, said he'd changed his thinking and a women's UFC division was "absolutely" going to happen. White credited Rousey with his about face on women fighters. "She's a real fighter down to the core."

Since making her professional debut in March 2011, Rousey has emerged as the sport's most popular athlete -- a rare mix of dominance in the cage and a verbosity and charisma outside of it. She's obliterated each of her six pro opponents in the first round, winning each match via her trademark armbar. Only one opponent, wrestling specialist Miesha Tate, has survived longer than a minute in the cage against Rousey.

No immediate plans for another Rousey fight are finalized, though rumored potential opponents include ex-Strikeforce middleweight champ Cris "Cyborg" Santos, 2004 Olympic wrestling silver medalist, Sara McMann, or a rematch with former Strikeforce bantamweight champion, Tate, from whom Rousey claimed the belt in one of the most gruesome submissions in MMA history.

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