Long considered one of the best female fighters in the world, Justino, 30, had never fought in the Octagon until this weekend's UFC 198, as the promotion does not offer a 145-pound weight division for women. Justino agreed to cut to 140 pounds to make a UFC debut possible, and she defeated Leslie Smith via TKO just 81 seconds into the first round.
Although she declined to mention Rousey immediately after the bout, a message posted to Justino's Facebook page early Sunday morning suggested she's still interested in facing Rousey.
The post, which also appeared on Twitter, stated, "Hey @rondarousey, you running all the way to New York?" and was accompanied by a photoshopped image of Rousey running away from Justino.
The UFC has plans to promote a pay-per-view event on Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden. It will be the promotion's first live event in the state of New York since 1995. There has been speculation that Rousey, who hasn't fought since she lost her UFC bantamweight title to Holly Holm in November, could headline the card.
Justino (16-1) and Rousey (12-1) have gone back and forth in headlines regarding a potential superfight for years. The biggest hurdle was always weight, as Rousey competes at 135 pounds. The UFC long maintained that any fight between them would have to take place within that weight class with the belt on the line.
With Rousey no longer a champion, the UFC turned to other options to bring Justino into the Octagon. The win against Smith was fought at a 140-pound catchweight. Justino has offered to continue accepting fights at 140 but has expressed strong reservations regarding a cut to 135 pounds. She is still the 145-pound champion in all-female promotion Invicta FC.
The rivalry between Justino and Rousey started when the two were signed to Strikeforce in 2012 and escalated from there. Rousey has repeatedly brought up Justino's failed drug test in December 2011 and has stated that Justino could make the 135-pound weight if she had never abused performance-enhancing drugs. Justino has passed multiple drug tests in recent years.
Rousey, 29, has remained relatively quiet since her knockout loss to Holm. In a recent interview on the Dan Patrick Show, UFC president Dana White said he "hopes" Rousey fights some time in 2016. White previously told ESPN that Rousey's first fight back would be to reclaim her title, which is currently held by Miesha Tate.