Certainly not the most jovial figure, UFC president Dana White more resembled a giddy schoolboy than a ruthless and cunning businessman following just the second women's bantamweight bout in the company's history Saturday inThe Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale.
Less than two months after Rousey broke ground and armbarred Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in the promotion's first-ever women's bout, Cat Zingano locked horns with Miesha Tate in a barn-burner that garnered "Fight of the Night" honors.
Zingano, ranked fourth at 135, and Tate, the division's top contender, put on a back-and-forth show that arguably offered fans more entertainment value than epic women's clashes like Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos vs. Gina Carano and Rousey vs. Carmouche.
Zingano's aesthetically pleasing win will set the stage for what's expected to be an even more anticipated fight against Rousey, who will coach opposite the 30-year-old Colorado native on The Ultimate Fighter 18.
In an interview with Fuel TV's Heidi Androl, a visibly enthralled White sounded off on his lofty expectations regarding the direction of women's MMA.
I don't know if it's because the women feel like they have more to prove. The one thing that I believe it is, is women are way meaner than men, anyway. So when they go out there they honestly all put on a show. It's awesome. People were telling me that they were either in bars or in a restaurant watching it. They said places were going crazy. People were going crazy over that fight.Zingano earned every penny of her $50,000 bonus, weathering an early storm and surviving several precarious situations before gracefully storming back to score a thrilling TKO win over the favored Tate.
With a win under her belt in a bout that's being considered an early candidate for "Fight of the Year," Zingano will surely build a much larger fan following before her tilt with Rousey than Carmouche managed to.
A winner of just eight fights heading into her monumental scrap with the unbeaten "Rowdy," Carmouche had not only already lost via triangle choke to Marloes Coenen, she had also dropped a unanimous decision to one of Rousey's armbar victims, Sarah Kaufman.
The 30-year-old Zingano, who displayed impressive submission defense and extraordinary resilience against Tate, should also enjoy a more favorable blessing from the oddsmakers against Rousey than Carmouche did.
Deemed a 6.5-to-1 underdog by Bodog.net before UFC 157, Carmouche flirted with a neck-crank submission early against the champ, only to succumb to Rousey's superior grappling chops and her seventh-straight armbar just 4:49 into the fight.
Most fans wouldn't bet on Zingano surviving the first round with the champ, but during an interview with MMA Heat, Rousey made the claim that she always thinks of herself as the underdog.
Technically, Cat has a better record than I do right now. She's 8-0 (and) I'm 7-0. Who is it? It was like Rashad (Evans) and Lyoto (Machida) that were the only two undefeated people fighting for a championship before, so this is something very uncommon and very special and I'm happy to be a part of it and I always think of myself as the underdog regardless of what other people think.