Tomorrow night, UFC 193 will be the first UFC event to feature two women’s title fights: Ronda Rousey vs. Holly Holm for the Women’s Bantamweight Championship and Joanna Jedrzejczyk vs. Valerie Letourneau for the Women’s Strawweight Championship. The co-main events were a strategic move by the UFC, which says women make up nearly one-third of its fan base.
When the UFC says its a leader for female athletes, it’s not just lip service. And the co-main event for the UFC’s first event in Australia isn’t a PR stunt or an experiment. It’s a calculated move meant to leverage Rousey’s popularity to cultivate the next Ronda Rousey.
“Eventually UFC will go beyond whatever Ronda’s career plan is,” says Lorenzo Fertitta, CEO of UFC, “so it’s important we continue to cultivate athletes.”