It's kind of unthinkable to think that here we are on the eve of UFC 200 and the greatest women's mma fighter of all-time Ronda Rousey is nowhere near the card. Just a 18 months ago, that would have seemed impossible.
But this is the fight business, more topsy turvy than politics. Anything can happen. Rousey got KO'd and we have not seen her since. Her conqueror got submitted and she's not on the card either. Instead we have the pugnacious Miesha Tate defending her UFC bantamweight championship against Amanda Nunes, in the main event of one of the biggest cards in UFC history.
Think about this: Two women, one of them relatively unknown, will headline the show, above bigger, more highly drawing names such as Brock Lesnar, Anderson Silva, Cain Velasquez and Frankie Edgar.
The UFC didn't even have a women's division four years ago. But now, standing atop the card are Nunes are Tate for the championship. Who is Nunes and why is she here?
Nunes has won three fights in a row, bringing her record to 12-4. She beat Shayna Baszler, Sara McMann and Valentina Shevchenko, three good fighters.
Still Nunes has struggled against top fighters. Her most recent loss came against Cat Zingano, a fighter who also KNOCKED OUT Miesha Tate. Why isn't Zingano getting the title shot? Good question. Nunes has lost to Zingano, Sarah D'Alelio and Alexis Davis.
When she steps inside the cage she will look to pressure Tate. Of her 12 victories, she has 10 first-round finishes. Tate may just need to survive the hurricane. Nunes, however, holds a 14-second knockout over the tough Julia Budd.
Nunes statistically has more advantages than Tate. Nunes is two inches taller, a year younger and has a four-inch reach advantage over the champion.
Nunes somehow got the title shot over Cat Zingano, who holds a victory over Tate. Zingano's problem? Even though she stopped Tate, Zingano lost in 14 seconds to Ronda Rousey, hurting her chances of a quick title shot.
Even though Nunes stopped Budd in 14 seconds, the TKO was not her quickest knockout. Nunes TKO'd Paty Barbosa in just 11 seconds.
Nunes is in a perfect spot at UFC 200. She's the betting underdog, yet she clearly has the knockout power to win the title. Rousey has proved to be the only dominant fighter in women's MMA, so it's possible to see the title change hands for the third time in as many fights on Saturday. If Nunes can stop Tate, she will have made history that even Ronda Rousey can't claim. She would have won the title in the main event of what could be the biggest card in UFC history.
Can she do it? Anything can happen in a fight. Just ask Rousey and Holly Holm, two fighters who were almost destined to be on the card, but are not.
(Image via MMAWeekly.com)