Of course, the reason everyone seems to be looking past Tate, is because Rousey has defeated her twice before. The fact “Rowdy” is widely considered to be the most dominant champ in the sport, is another reason why folks don’t expect Rousey’s reign to end when she faces Tate for a third time. In addition, because Justino hasn’t lost a MMA bout in 10 years, and is Invicta FC’s featherweight champion, the consensus is she’s the biggest (only) challenge out there for Rousey.
Well, Rousey’s mentor, the legendary “Judo” Gene LeBell recently appeared on “The MMA Hour”. Not surprisingly, the martial arts icon was asked about Rousey-Justino, and here is some of what he had to say (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“Cyborg is extremely physically strong. She’s a good fighter,” LeBell said. “I might sound prejudiced, but if it took [Rousey] three rounds, that’s okay. I think she would dominate her entirely. That isn’t taking her away from her.”
It seems like a lot of people agree with LeBell, although, not everyone thinks Rousey will necessarily dominate “Cyborg.” Since we haven’t seen Justino make the drop to 135, and compete at that weight again, making a call right now is somewhat tricky. Although, if the fight goes down at 135, as the UFC is insisting, that likely hands Rousey a huge, huge advantage.
LeBell also had this to say about Tate and Justino:
“Cyborg is a great, great fighter, probably the third-best in the world in women’s fighters,” Lebell said. Ronda of course is the best, Miesha Tate is the second best. I’d like to see Miesha Tate fight Cyborg without steroids. Cyborg is a great fighter, but she’s not in Ronda’s class.”
Interestingly enough, Tate has said she’d be willing to fight “Cyborg” at 140…At the end of day, all the Justino talk is a wee bit premature. It’s the end of August now and there’s no word on when / if she’ll compete at 135.
Rousey-Tate III seems to be the plan, but no date has been set for the fight. Tate is coming off a unanimous decision win over Jessica Eye in July. Rousey, meanwhile, quickly stopped Bethe Correia at UFC 190 on August 1st.