LOS ANGELES (AP) — Ronda Rousey won a fight in 16 seconds last summer, falling a second short of the quickest victory in UFC history. At the time, the bantamweight champion figured the speed with which she pummeled Alexis Davis was a fluke.
“It’s something everybody on my team was teasing me about, but I wasn’t taking seriously,” Rousey said. “I didn’t seriously think I could top it.”
Just about anything seems possible these days for mixed martial arts’ most dominant champion.
Rousey (11-0) needed just 14 electrifying seconds to finish off Cat Zingano at UFC 184 on Saturday night in her hometown. Not only was it the fastest finish ever in a UFC title bout, it was the quickest submission victory in the promotion’s several thousand bouts of history.
The search for a worthy opponent will take much longer.
Rousey is a bona fide superstar after selling out Staples Center and attracting what’s expected to be a solid pay-per-view audience, but the UFC is facing a problem finding opponents who can be sold to the world as having a chance to contend with her otherworldly skills.
“Yeah, we’re going to move her to the men’s division and see the odds,” UFC President Dana White said with a laugh. “I don’t know what to do with this lady.”
Zingano (9-1) was considered the most daunting threat to Rousey’s title reign, with more skill, toughness and pertinent experience than most of Rousey’s previous victims. But her curious decision to charge right into the grasp of an Olympic medal-winning judoka doomed her before many fans had even sat down.
When the wonder finally subsided, Rousey and White speculated on what’s next for one of the promotion’s biggest stars.
White faced a barrage of questions at the post-fight news conference about Cris “Cyborg” Justino, the Brazilian veteran and former Strikeforce champ currently dominating the all-women Invicta promotion at 145 pounds. Justino was widely considered the world’s best female fighter before she failed a doping test and Rousey rose to the pinnacle.
Both fighters have said they’re eager to face off, but Justino — a target of Rousey’s ridicule for that doping failure — fights at 145 pounds, and has been inconsistent about whether she could make the 135-pound bantamweight limit.