It’s time for another edition of Something Old, Something New where we get you up to speed concerning those making their UFC debuts this week and reintroduce you to those coming back from long spells on the sidelines.
This week we look at UFC 207 taking place this Friday night at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event is headlined by the return of Women’s Bantamweight star Ronda Rousey who will take on current champion Amanda Nunes and the card will also feature Dominick Cruz who defends his Bantamweight title against hot prospect Cody Garbrandt.
First we take a look this week at the fighters who return to the octagon after a lengthy spells of inactivity and have been out of action for over 12 months.
“Rowdy” Ronda Rousey (12-1) – Women’s Bantamweight
One of the UFC’s biggest stars and first ever Women’s Bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey makes her return following a one year break from the sport after a devastating knockout defeat to Holly Holm at UFC 193 which saw the loss of her title, undefeated record and invincible reputation.
Trained in Judo from an early age, Rousey became the first American to win a medal in Woman’s Judo when she claimed the bronze at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Retiring shortly after at the age of 21, she would join up with Hayastan MMA and the Glendale Fighting Club before making her pro MMA debut in 2011.
Quickly signing with the Strikeforce promotion, her rivalry with then Bantamweight champion Miesha Tate started to revolutionise Women’s MMA. After defeating Tate for the title via a vicious first round armbar submission which dislocated the champion’s elbow, Rousey would defend her belt in 54 seconds against Sarah Kaufman and get into a war of words with Featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Justino before the promotion was purchased by the UFC.
With this purchase, Dana White would go back on his word of never having Women’s MMA in promotion when he made Rousey the first women to be signed to the UFC and crowned her the first UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. Her first defence would come against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 where she would win by first round submission despite suffering a dislocated jaw.
She would rise to stardom with roles in Hollywood films such as The Expendables 3 and Furious 7 as the mainstream took notice she would go on a winning streak of six title defences and gained a reputation for finishing opponents in seconds. Gaining a fearsome and untouchable moniker within the sport, Rousey attracted spotlight from the media in all walks of life.
Then came the defeat and loss of her title in Australia last November to Holm. Rousey would disappear and refuse to talk to media amid questions surrounding her mental state and capability of rebounding from such an impactful loss.
Since her return, “Rowdy” has refused to do all press in the lead up to the fight and questions remain over exactly where her head is at heading into this weekend’s return against Amanda Nunes which will see her attempt to silence her critics and regain the belt she believes to be rightfully hers.
Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim (21-3-1 1NC) – Welterweight
South Korean veteran Dong Hyun Kim will return to the octagon at UFC 207 for the first time since November 2015 and will make his 17th appearance in the UFC this week when he faces Tarec Saffiedine in the Welterweight division.
Signed to the UFC after a successful undefeated run with Japanese promotion DEEP, where he narrowly missed out on winning the Welterweight title in a draw with Hidehiko Hasegawa, “Stun Gun” has been incredibly popular in his native country since his 2008 UFC debut.
Since then the 35-year-old has fought some of the biggest names in the Welterweight division with notable wins Matt Brown and Nate Diaz on his way to a 12-3 UFC record with one no contest. His only three defeats have come at the hands of the top fighters in the division including TKO losses to current champion Tyrone Woodley and number one contender Demian Maia.
With six wins in his last seven fights, a win over rising contender Tarec Saffiedine could see “Stun Gun” granted another chance to become a legitimate contender with a future bout with a Top-5 opponent in the crowded Welterweight title picture.
Although this week focuses more on names from the past, there is still a lone debutant on the card who will make their first walk to the octagon at UFC 207
Niko “The Hybrid” Price (8-0) – Welterweight
Undefeated Welterweight Niko Price will make his promotional debut at UFC 207 as he replaces the injured Sabah Homasi on short notice to face the experienced Brandon Thatch at UFC 207.
The Floridian fighter, who fights out of American Top Team Cape Coral, has been on a tear under the Fight Time Promotions banner in his home state and has finished seven of his eight wins inside the distance with six KO/TKO victories and one submission.
Price, 27, last victory came by way of a rare unanimous decision over Willie Hosch and he will look to return to his regular finishing ways under the bright lights of Las Vegas on his first shot at the big time.