Rousey v Holm II could smash UFC records

Ronda Rousey (L) and Holly Holm (R). © Paul Crock
When Holly Holm delivered her stunning knockout kick to Ronda Rousey in November, questions were raised about the impact it would have on Rousey’s future and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) series.

Retirement for Rousey and a likely dip in the popularity of the UFC were hinted at, yet one word has put those thoughts to bed: rematch.

UFC president Dana White’s proposed July 9 date for Rousey v Holm II has the potential to be the biggest the sport has even seen. 

While Rousey recovers from their first encounter, Holm has said she would rather fight again before the rematch – a risk the UFC are unlikely to take. 

“Eight months is a long time between fights, and I don’t want to wait that long,” Holm said at UFC 194. “But if that’s what it is, I’ll do it and I’ll be ready.”

Having dominated Rousey in the first fight, Holm expects her opponent to change tactics when they meet again.

She said: “I think she might try a little harder to take the fight to the ground. I do expect a completely different fight. Nothing ever happens the same, and she’ll be coming twice as aggressive.

“She’s going to come back with a vengeance. I know that, and I just have to be ready.”

Shortly after UFC 193 White said the event had “broke every record we’ve ever had, from the venue, to merchandise, to commercial pay-per-view, everything.”

Although UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said he expected it to be the second-biggest event ever once the numbers were confirmed - behind only UFC 100 featuring Brock Lesnar versus Frank Mir, which had 1.6 million orders - the possibilities for the rematch appear gilt-edged.

The event set in-person attendance records for both UFC and the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia, and meant big money for the two competitors, with Rousey pocketing more than $5 million while the new champion collected over $300,000.

Interest in the UFC has never been higher, with the MMA Fighting website reporting the company’s eight UFC pay-per-view events between January and July averaged 65% more orders than in the same period in 2014. The Rousey v Holm rematch could take that to a whole other level.

The July 9 event will be the UFC’s 200th, something the marketing experts will be keen to exploit, while the fact White has been promised the privilege of hosting the first sporting event at the brand new Las Vegas Arena is another angle the money-men can tap into.

UFC 194’s eagerly anticipated clash between Jose Aldo and Conor McGregor kept the momentum rolling, with the Irishman expected to pocket the biggest single-fight paycheck in UFC history if the estimated one million plus pay-per-view buys are accurate.

READ MORE: UFC 194: McGregor stuns Aldo in 13 seconds to claim UFC crown

That would propel the event into elite company – only 10 including the Rousey-Holm card have ever reached the one million-mark – giving McGregor possible earnings between $4.5 and $7.5 million (combining his reported fight purse and PPV share).

White’s projected gate figure of $9 million would also be the highest figure for an event on US soil, with a Georges St-Pierre-headlined event at the Rogers Centre in Toronto (with a 55,000 seat capacity) still holding the overall record at $12 million.

While topping UFC 100’s numbers is possible, orders between 1.3 and 1.5 million are more likely, which would set the company up nicely for 2016 – particularly in Europe following McGregor’s win.

If everything falls into place, UFC 200 could break every record in the book, but for Rousey personally, the rematch will be a must-win.

She told ESPN The Magazine that if she faces Holm again and loses, “I’ll be done with everything.”

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