Each week, our ESPN.com panel tackles hot topics in the world of mixed martial arts.
This week, UFC bantamweight Cat Zingano joins our expert panel.
1. Where does Bethe Correia rank in terms of toughest opponents for Ronda Rousey thus far?
Cat Zingano: To be honest, I haven't really followed Bethe a lot. I don't know. I think she's good. I think she's strong -- all of us at this level are. But I think Rousey is better. She's evolving as the sport goes, and she keeps a good bag of tricks in her back pocket. Whatever the fight brings, Rousey will be able to handle it.
Brett Okamoto: Relatively speaking, Correia is very, very low on Rousey's list. You have to consider that when Rousey turned pro, she wasn't nearly as good or complete as she is now. I would probably argue that Ediane Gomes was a bigger threat to Rousey in her pro debut in 2011 than Correia is now in 2015. Judging her UFC career, I would say the order of her toughest challenges (going into the fight) would rank: Sara McMann, Zingano, Miesha Tate, Liz Carmouche, Correia, Alexis Davis.
Michael Huang: Considering the ease and swiftness with which Rousey has dispatched all of her opponents, it's difficult to make a case for any of them as being "tough." Hell, you'd have to go back to Liz Carmouche to recall a situation where Rousey looked like she was in danger (when Carmouche had her in a neck crank). So, do you evaluate toughness by how long they lasted against her or whether they actually made it a fight? If you're forcing me to name someone, I'd probably say our esteemed guest, Cat Zingano. She matched up well against Rousey, strategic mistake aside, and I think most would say Rousey likely viewed Zingano as her toughest matchup, too.
2. Will the Rousey vs. Correia fight end in less than one minute?
Zingano: I imagine if Correia is going to have a strategy, it's not rushing in and doing something crazy that will make history and get her finished in under 14 seconds. I feel like she's probably going to try to strike, and that can take up a little more time. The clock will be running. Who knows? If she plays defensively, it could go long. If she's offensive, it will be shorter.
Okamoto: Yes, I agree with Zingano that Correia won't rush Rousey -- but that won't really matter. Rousey never feels opponents out. She's not someone who keeps space between herself and whom she's fighting. What she does best is predicated on her closing distance and engaging, and I don't see her changing her style drastically for this fight. Why in the world would she? It might go over one minute if Correia is determined to disengage and slow the fight down, but even then, she can't defend Rousey's takedowns and she sure as heck can't defend her armbars once the fight hits the floor. More than half of Rousey's pro fights have ended in less than 60 seconds.
Huang: I think that will depend completely on Rousey. Correia should have no business going to the ground with Rousey, so to have any shot, she'll have to keep it standing. This means making Rousey come after her, possibly throwing more counterpunches instead of standing toe-to-toe. That might help her avoid grappling, but Correia is not a counterpuncher. Expect her to go after Rousey and try to box her; good, crisp combos could keep Rousey off-balance. There have been signs that kind of strategy can work. Miesha Tate did it to some effect in their second fight. But ultimately, if Rousey gets her hands on Correia, it will definitely be over in under a minute.
3. Besides the main event, which UFC 190 fight are you most looking forward to?
Zingano: My teammate, welterweight Neil Magny, is fighting. He's on a seven-fight winning streak, and he's fighting Demian Maia, who is one of my favorite jiu-jitsu guys ever. I'm just a huge supporter of Brazil in general. I'm always cheering for Brazilians. In this fight, it's actually pretty sentimental to me because Magny is one of my main training partners. We push each other. We're each other's pace car when we don't have a fight ourselves. Him fighting Demian is like a win-win for me because they are both incredibly talented people with integrity. I'm excited for this fight. They are just good people.
Okamoto: Yeah, I'd say it's the Maia-Magny fight. Magny has surprised just about everyone with this win streak. He wasn't looked at as that kind of force when he came off "The Ultimate Fighter." Within the past two years, it's hard to find any UFC fighter who has improved as much as Magny has working with Leister Bowling, Eliot Marshall and Christian Allen. This is a big step up in competition for him. Maia figures to test Magny on the ground, while Magny is capable of such a high work rate that I could easily see him giving Maia fits on the feet. It might not be a fight of the night in terms of action, but it will be a telling fight at 170 pounds.
Huang: Well, I'm looking forward to the Antonio Silva-Soa Palelei heavyweight fight, but it sure won't be because of skill. Between these two behemoths, someone is getting knocked out, and it will be quick.
4. Who is a bigger star right now: Ronda Rousey or Conor McGregor?
Zingano: Man. I feel like they might have shared a womb at some point. They're both very, very talented athletes. They're very good at "the game." Not just the physical game; they know how to run the show, keep everyone interested and put butts in the seats. I'm very grateful to them for that. I think they are entertaining as heck, and I like to see both of them win -- unless I'm fighting them, of course.
Okamoto: To me, it's pretty clear that Rousey is the bigger star, but McGregor might be the bigger pay-per-view draw. There's a difference. I think when your national U.S. talk show is looking to lock down a guest, Rousey over McGregor is an easy pick. But McGregor is getting that crossover, mainstream appeal as well, and while he doesn't have the Hollywood presence of Rousey, his fights will continue to grow in magnitude if he keeps winning. I believe that McGregor will draw more PPV revenue by the end of his career, but Rousey will be the considered the bigger overall star at the end of her career.
Huang: I am a convert to McGregor's camp and jumped on his bandwagon with both feet. But Rousey, as an entertainment icon as well as an athlete, has to be the bigger star. McGregor seemingly has all of Ireland behind him, but Rousey is seemingly everywhere. But make no mistake, McGregor can be that, too, especially with the UFC's international thrust.
5. If TJ Dillashaw and Dominick Cruz fight next for the UFC bantamweight title, who wins?
Zingano: It's a rough one, because I'm kind of an emotional person, if anyone hadn't noticed. I train up in Denver with Dillashaw often. He does conditioning with me, and I go to work with him and Duane Ludwig sometimes in Broomfield, Colorado. Dominick has always been super nice, though, and he has always been very motivating to me as a human and a fighter. We've fought on the same card before. I like them both. It will be an excellent fight. I'm staying neutral on it. You can be sure I'll be watching it.
Okamoto: [Stares at computer screen, deep in thought for 10 minutes.] I have no idea. On one hand, how can you pick against Dillashaw right now? The guy looks like he's playing a completely different sport than anyone else. And, of course, he has been fighting halfway regularly, whereas we all know about Cruz's inactivity thanks to injury. But on the other hand, how do you pick against Cruz, whose mental toughness in the sport, in my opinion, is easily top-five? He really did look better than ever at UFC 178 in September after a three-year layoff. I expect him to look fine when he comes back this time around. Impossible fight to pick. My head says coin toss, take the more active fighter in Dillashaw. My gut says ... it actually says Cruz. My own gut is surprising me.
Huang: Now that would be a fascinating fight. I've said multiple times that Dillashaw's style is very similar to Cruz's -- darting, constantly changing stances and levels, unorthodox angles and movement, with elite speed and quickness. However, Dillashaw has to be seen as the favorite because of Cruz's two long-term injuries. What toll has that taken? He looked fabulous in his return at UFC 178 against Takeya Mizugaki. But has he lost any of his quickness because of two ACL injuries? He'd better "eat ACL injuries for breakfast," because Dillashaw will devour Cruz if he has lost anything.