LOS ANGELES -- A potential Ronda Rousey vs. Gina Carano fight just got a whole lot more real.
At a Wednesday downtown media event, both Rousey, the UFC women's bantamweight champion, and UFC president Dana White indicated that they're not just interested in a fight between the two biggest names in women's MMA history, but also that Carano would get an immediate title shot if she returns to the sport.
"I think it would be the best thing for women's MMA," said Rousey, who wasn't scheduled to be part of the event pushing UFC 173, but showed up midway through. "I think it would be the highest profile fight that could be done. I don't think it would make sense for her to come back and fight somebody else and take the risk of maybe losing and not being able to capitalize on the fight between me and her. I think it would make more sense to go straight to a title fight."
White, who was scheduled to meet with Carano to discuss her contract status on Wednesday night, let fly with an accidental double entendre when asked about the potential bout. "I'd do Ronda and Gina," White said. After the explosion of laughter in the room subsided and White turned a deep shade of red, he said "I'd do that fight."
The biggest point of contention in making the fight is the fact that Carano has not competed since 2009 and has not won a fight since 2008.
Rousey says that a fight with Carano is a matter of paying respect to a legend of the game.
"She's one of the pioneers on the sport," Rousey said. "She's the reason I fight at all. You can't say she's just coming in off the street. How can you say no to the woman that I owe everything to? I would bend over backwards to fight her. I'm not going to make her run through the gauntlet to fight me. I would show up at her house if that's where she wanted to fight."
White made it clear that if such a fight would happen, it would have to occur at 135 pounds. Carano only made 135 once in her career and missed 140 pounds on multiple occasions.
"Last time I've seen her, have you seen her recently?" White says. "She's smaller, she said she's walking around way lighter than she used to."
White shot down the idea that the bout could be contested at a catchweight, which was the route the company took the last time a champion vs. legend opportunity presented itself, with then-welterweight champ Matt Hughes vs. pioneer Royce Gracie in 2006.
"Royce doesn't give a s--- about titles and stuff like that," White said. "He didn't want time limits, rounds, or rules, completely different way of thinking. Royce didn't give a s--- about belts or anything like that. Royce just wanted to fight Matt Hughes. Big difference.
The UFC inherited Carano's contract from Strikeforce when the latter company was purchased.
"She's going to come back when she wants to sign," White said. "She's the type of person like this one here (pointing at Rousey), she's not coming back just because. She's coming back because she wants the title."