Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey underwent a minor procedure on her knee Wednesday, according to UFC president Dana White, but White said he is hopeful that Rousey could return to the Octagon by December.
White made his remarks during an appearance on Thursday's SportsCenter. Rousey, 29, hasn't fought since she lost the 135-pound title in stunning fashion to Holly Holm, via second-round knockout at UFC 193 in November.
"I'm hoping we're going to get Ronda back this year," White said. "She just had surgery yesterday on her knee -- nothing serious, just get in there and scope it, clean it out a little bit.
"She feels great. Her spirits are great. She's been training. If she fights, I'm hoping she fights December. If not, she would probably fight at the New Year's show at beginning of [next] year."
As White has stated previously, Rousey (12-1) is expected to fight for the title immediately when she returns. The bantamweight championship is currently held by Miesha Tate, who defeated Holm via fifth-round submission at UFC 196 in March. Tate, who has two losses to Rousey, will fight Amanda Nunes on July 9. Holm is scheduled to fight Valentina Shevchenko on July 23.
"If Miesha Tate is the champion, [Rousey] will fight Miesha Tate," White said. "Whoever has the belt is who Ronda Rousey will fight.
"You never know. Injuries happen in this sport. A fight is made and somebody falls out, somebody else slides in. I'm not even saying Holly Holm can't be champion by the time Ronda comes back."
A former Olympic bronze medalist in judo, Rousey has dealt with knee injuries in the past. Following a win against Alexis Davis in July 2014, Rousey revealed to the public she had a minor knee surgery scheduled. She trains out of Glendale Fighting Club in Southern California.