According to various reports, UFC 190 is expected to reach one million PPV buys, opening up the gateway to one of sport’s biggest ever showdowns between Ronda Rousey and Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino.
The official figures should be released in the coming weeks, but claims are that UFC 190 is already trending above precursor 189; supposedly the biggest MMA PPV since UFC 100.
On Saturday, August 1, in Rio De Janeiro Brazil, Rousey beat overwhelming underdog Bethe Correia in just 34 seconds.
A card filled with Brazilian legends, although far from top drawers. The likes of the Nogueira brothers, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Antonio Silva were overshadowed by the presence of ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey in the main event.
So here is why it is so impressive. Correia was arguably Ronda’s weakest ever opponent, with the champion alarmingly expected to finish the fight just as emphatically as she did.
Despite that, one million buys, and possibly a lot more, showed that a Rousey fight isn’t about the level of her opponent, it is about the occasion.
The Horsewoman’s next challenge will be a trilogy match against Miesha Tate, the only person to escape the first round against Rousey.
She submitted Tate in 2012, but would face a much tougher challenge at UFC 168 in 2013. Tate gave her all, surviving three rounds before being caught in a notorious armbar.
Meanwhile, Cyborg has dominated the Invicta FC Featherweight division, with three first round finishes out of four fights. There is no question that outside of Rousey, Cyborg is the number two pound-for-pound in Women’s MMA.
But, there has been recent hiccup, during the UFC 190 post-fight presser, when asked about fighting Cyborg at 135lbs, Rousey responded:
“I’m prepared to deal with anything, that’s why I’m the champ. I fight in the UFC’s 135-pound division. And, she can fight at 145 (pounds) pumped full of steroids and she can make weight just like everybody else without them.”
Although, this prompted a severe response from Cybrog, who threatened legal action against the UFC champion for slander.
UFC President Dana White did however follow up with a prediction that a bout between Rousey and Cyborg would reach 2.5 million pay-per-view buys. An unprecedented feat for anyone in combat sports not named Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
“She hasn’t made the weight yet. The day she makes the weight and does what she is supposed to do, that fight is on. She wants that fight, everybody, you don’t think I want that fight to happen? That fight, now I’m changing my mind on that fight, I think that fight does 2.5 million buys. I think that fight is massive.”
It shows the unrivalled popularity that Ronda Rousey has, which clearly transcends just sports. She is an integrated part of pop culture.
However, Cyborg has made history in her own accord. In 2009 alongside Gina Carano, the pair became the first ever Women’s MMA bout to main event a major primetime show.
Strikeforce: Cyborg vs. Carano averaged 576,000 viewers on Showtime, with a peak audience of 856,000 for the Featherweight title main event.
A potential fight between two of MMA’s most polarising figures in 2016 is definitely a huge possibility. Money talks, and Rousey’s inevitable clash with Cyborg is screaming green.