White: Rousey will fight whoever has belt

UFC president Dana White says Ronda Rousey's comeback fight back later this year will be a title bout against whoever has the belt. Ed Mulholland for ESPN

UFC president Dana White doesn't know if Ronda Rousey’s comeback fight will take place at Madison Square Garden in New York. He has guaranteed, however, that it will be a title fight.

During an appearance Sunday on ESPN's Beadle & Shelburne radio show, White confirmed that Rousey's next fight, which is expected to take place before the end of 2016, will be a bid to reclaim the bantamweight championship she lost to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November.

Rousey (12-1) opted to sit out the majority of this year after the vicious head-kick knockout. White made it clear that he wanted Holm to wait for an eventual rematch with Rousey, but Holm wanted to stay active and fought Miesha Tate at UFC 196 last month, losing a dramatic fight late in the fifth round via rear-naked choke.

Tate (18-5) has since been booked for a title defense against Amanda Nunes at UFC 200 on July 9. According to White, there is a chance Tate could squeeze two fights in before a Rousey comeback -- but regardless, Rousey will face whoever holds the belt when she returns.

"[Rousey] is definitely part of the discussion [to fight on Nov. 12 in New York] and she will fight whoever has that belt," White said. "I think Miesha, she's fighting at [UFC 200], she might fight again before that. She wants to fight. We'll see what happens. Miesha has been the No. 2 baddest woman in the world for years. For her to stay active right now makes sense.

"What's cool about that 135-pound division is that everybody is fighting right now. The only one not fighting is Holly. Miesha, depending on how she fights Nunes -- who is very, very tough -- if anything crazy happens and she comes out of that fight with a quick win, 100 percent healthy, she could turn around and fight again and then fight Ronda."

White has been critical of Holm's manager, Lenny Fresquez, since her loss to Tate, saying it was a mistake to have Holm fight rather than wait for a lucrative Rousey rematch. He was complimentary of Holm during the show.

"She hung in there [against Tate]," White said. "For people who know a lot about jiu-jitsu, she did everything right to defend that choke. Miesha just wasn't letting go of that neck, man. [Holm] went out like a gangster."