This Saturday, March 3rd in Columbus, Ohio (one of my favorite cities) will be host to the first ever Strikeforce main event headlined by the women’s championship belt. The champ, Miesha Tate (12-2) in her first title defense against 4-0 ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey. Women’s MMA has existed in the cage since the mid-90’s but it’s only now starting to get some traction in the media spotlight and even the participants aren’t shying away from the fact that it’s because two attractive women are involved. To the ladies credit, they have been waging a war of words via twitter and Facebook. It’s not quite Mike Tyson’s declaration that he wants to kill Lennox Lewis and eat his children, but I find it just as entertaining: “If you weren’t pretty, it wouldn’t matter what you said or didn’t say,” Miesha says. “If we push the ‘hot chicks’ to fight each other for a title, we’re going to get a lot of attention,” Ronda said at the time. “That’s why I’d rather fight Miesha for a title instead of Sarah Kaufman. Because she’s good-looking and marketable.” Tate’s ‘gimmie respect’ attitude is the perfect foil to Rousey, trash-talking upstart akin to what Brock Lesnar did to get a title shot (and victory) with a 4-2 record.

Ronda Rousey

Now there are some folks, male and female, who don’t like the idea of two women, pretty or not, pounding each other to a bloody mess. Truthfully, I think the same can be sad for the guys. Sure, they don’t say it, but universally everyone groaned when they saw last weekend, Frankie Edgar’s nose getting busted and bleeding everywhere. I think if people can watch the fight with the idea that this is an athletic competition, they’ll find themselves enjoying the match.

The thing is that there’s no telling if the media attention is going to stay on women’s MMA after this fight. If the fight is an exciting fight, maybe. I don’t expect the Rousey or Tate are going to sandbag this fight with Tate defending her belt and Rousey putting opponents away in 60 seconds or less but the division certainly could use some lasting star power. Maybe this is the start of that?

Miesha Tate-Champion

To break down the fight a little bit, Miesha has an impressive record and is a solid wrestler. Ronda is an Olympic bronze medalist who’s 4 wins have come fast and furious. I think wrestling wins out over judo, but it’s hard to argue with undefeated success. With that in mind, I think the champ keeps the belt even if Vegas currently has Ronda as a 4-1 favorite. I’m a fan of Ronda’s (as if her ‘Rowdy’ nickname, after Roddy Piper couldn’t have told you) but it all stacks up that Miesha has more experience in general, but also in striking, which we haven’t seen from Ronda. Plus, if the match goes longer than 60 seconds, who knows how well Ronda will hold up? Sure her conditioning is superb but when you win your fights at sub-atomic speeds, that lack of cage-time can hurt you. I’m thinking of Kody MacKenzie.

In any case, the spotlight is on them right now. It’s up to them to make it stick around for their own futures and the future of the division.