Mixed Martial Arts - Rousey to spearhead UFC female league

Ronda Rousey will be the first female fighter to compete in the UFC after her success in 2012 inspired Dana White to add a women's division to UFC.

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Mixed Martial Arts - Rousey taking a cash course in UFC
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Ronda Rousey

The burgeoning superstar remains under contract to Strikeforce, but Rousey's performance in 2012 has convinced UFC president Dana White to add a women's division to the sport's flagship brand.

Rousey still has three fights on her Strikeforce contract, White told Yahoo! Sports on Tuesday, and will fulfil that deal before she moves to the UFC. Sports Illustrated first reported Tuesday that the UFC would add women.

"This isn't breaking news," White said. "I've been saying for months that this was absolutely going to happen. I don't know when it's going to be, because [Rousey] is under contract. We don't have the timing figured out yet. It could be a year, year-and-a-half, but I'm [in support of it]. It's going to happen."

For years, White had been a vocal opponent of women's MMA. But when he saw Rousey defeat Miesha Tate in March, he began to warm to the idea of women in the UFC.

His objection in the past was the dearth of quality women, but on Tuesday, he told Yahoo! Sports that he considers Tate, former Olympic silver medalist wrestler Sara McMann and Cris "Cyborg" Santos as first-rate fighters.

Rousey, though, is the biggest name and by far the top attraction. She's the only woman ever to receive votes in the Yahoo! Sports MMA rankings.

White said he wants Rousey in the UFC because he considers her "the real deal."

"Look, I know a lot of people are going to say we're doing this because she's pretty," White said. "But [ex-Strikeforce star] Gina [Carano] was pretty, too.

"Ronda is a whole other story. She's nasty. She's a real fighter. She not only likes to win, she likes to finish.

"Think about this: Everyone she fights knows what is coming, that armbar of hers, and no one can stop it. They have a whole training camp to prepare for that one move and nobody has been able to stop it yet.

"People who are nasty and technically sound and have that attitude, I love them. She's an Olympic medallist and she's got a great history, but she's in the gym all the time. She's a dude in a girl's body.

"She loves to beat the [expletive] out of people and she's serious about getting better. She's not saying, 'I'm the champ and I've beaten everyone in the first round,' and taking a victory tour. She's up there in Stockton working with the Diaz brothers, trying to get better."

Rousey is expected to fight in January, though nothing has been announced. Two Strikeforce cards in a row have been canceled, leading to speculation about its future, though White declined to speak about it. White typically refuses to speak about Strikeforce to reporters.

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