Ronda Rousey will return to the UFC on December 30 in Las Vegas, fighting Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title. UFC President Dana White confirmed Wednesday that Rousey will be in the main event of UFC 207 at T-Mobile Arena.
Rousey (12-1) hasn’t fought since November 2015, when Holly Holm stunned the previously unbeaten champion with a second-round knockout at UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia.
Rousey became one of the world’s most popular female athletes and the UFC’s biggest mainstream star during her meteoric rise through mixed martial arts. The former Olympic judo competitor became the first UFC women’s champion in late 2012, with her talent compelling White to create a women’s bantamweight division in his promotion.
Rousey kept the 135-pound belt through six defenses before Holm’s dominant victory, which was punctuated by a dramatic head kick.
Before losing to Holm, Rousey had beaten four contenders for her belt in a combined 130 seconds, including a 14-second stoppage of Cat Zingano and a 16-second victory over Alexis Davis. Rousey had finished every opponent of her MMA career, beating 10 of those 11 opponents in the first round, before her defeat.
The bantamweight title has changed hands two more times since Rousey’s loss, with Miesha Tate beating Holm and Nunes stopping Tate in the first round at UFC 200 on July 9. Holm has lost both of her fights since beating Rousey.
Nunes (13-4), a Brazilian fighting out of Florida, has won four straight fights. After she took the title away from Tate, Nunes made it clear she would prefer to defend her belt against Rousey.
While Rousey apparently kept training after her loss, she took an extended break from competition, working as a model and appearing in a handful of films as an actor.
Rousey was arguably the UFC’s biggest star when she began her break, and she acknowledged having suicidal thoughts after her loss. White always assumed Rousey would resume her fighting career when ready.