According to a March 3 tweet from MMA Fighting reporter David St. Martin, UFC President Dana White laughed off the rumor that Ronda Rousey would be defending her bantamweight title this summer against Gina Carano.
"@arielhelwani says Dana lol'd regarding rumors of Rousey vs. Carano," St. Martin tweeted.
Rumors began to swirl of a Rousey vs Carano UFC title fight on July 4th weekend, after UFC color commentator Joe Rogan mentioned on KROQ's "Kevin and Bean Show" that a crazy announcement would be made regarding women's MMA in the weeks ahead.
"Oh, you're so incorrect," said Rogan when the show host hinted that he believed there are no great challengers out there for Rousey. "I wish I could tell you what I know. I wish I could tell you. I know some secret stuff. I know some secret stuff, but I can't tell you."
Since an announcement of Rousey vs Alexis Davis or Cat Zingano was expected, Rogan's comments seemed to hint that the star judoka would be matched up with "Cyborg" Santos or Gina Carano.
You might actually know, but I can't tell you. I can say no more than I've already said. I will tell you this, and this is a KROQ exclusive, within the next probably week or so a huge announcement will come about women's fighting and I'll be back in [the studio] and we'll talk some more. It's going to be crazy. Madness. I wish I could [talk about it now], but I would betray the confidence of my friend and employer.
As of the afternoon of March 4, the UFC hadn't officially shot down rumors that Rousey would be fighting Carano or Santos next.
Analysis: While Carano hasn't competed in MMA since 2009, she never formally announced her retirement from the sport.
She's still just 31 years old, young enough to compete at a high level. Carano has also maintained a high profile over the years, having appeared in several movies and at award shows.
Carano is still so popular that she was one of the most-searched athletes on Yahoo! last year.
Also, Carano insisted in an interview in 2012 that its still her dream to compete in the UFC.
There are certain things that I always dreamed of, like fighting in the UFC. That was a big one I don't know. There's just certain things that I feel like haven't been accomplished there. There's such great women coming up in the sport; seems like a wonderful time to be in women's MMA. So I'm not sure.
Carano essentially put her MMA career on the shelf until the opportunity opened for females to enter the UFC. Now that the UFC has a female division, it seems clear that the time is right for Carano to return to the MMA ranks.