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Here's what you need to know ahead of UFC 207

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UFC 207 goes down in Las Vegas on Friday night. While there are loads of great fights scheduled, we here at Circa are under no illusions that a majority of those tuning in will be doing so to see none other than Ronda "Rowdy" Rousey try and reclaim that belt that was literally created for her. 

We're excited too, but there are a few other things you should be watching out for when the main card comes on around 10 p.m. EST. Friday's fights will be a great way to cap off what's been a watershed year for the world's largest MMA promotion. 


Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes

Let's get the big one out of the way. The reason women are now such an integral part of the UFC, at least in part, is thanks to Rousey, and UFC President Dana White has said as much in interviews.

A year ago, she was one of the highest-profile athletes on the planet. She was the only women's bantamweight champion the UFC had seen. Her dominance was unquestioned. She was invincible. 

Until THAT kick landed. 

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FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015 file photo, Ronda Rousey, left, and Holly Holm fight during their UFC 193 bantamweight title bout in Melbourne, Australia, Holm pulled off a stunning upset victory over Rousey in the fight, knocking out the women's bantamweight champion in the second round with a powerful kick to the head Sunday. Ronda Rousey finally got beat. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill, File)

Rousey's dominance in the sport seemed to seep right out of her as she took a kick to the neck in her Nov. 2015 fight against Holly Holm. The champion flopped right to the floor and Holm hopped on top of her, landing some brutal punches. 

No one had expected it, least of all probably Rousey, who took a year off from MMA. 

In that time, three other women have held the title, but none of them ever successfully defended it. After beating Rousey, Holm dropped the belt at UFC 195 to Miesha Tate, who subsequently lost the belt at UFC 200 via submission against current champion Amanda Nunes. 

Now, Rousey is coming back after more than a year off, looking to win back what everyone, at one point or another, considered to be hers by right. 

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Amanda Nunes, left, fights Miesha Tate during their women's bantamweight championship mixed martial arts bout at UFC 200, Saturday, July 9, 2016, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Everyone, that is, except maybe Amanda Nunes. "The Lioness" is the current women's bantamweight champion and is more than ready for a returning Rousey. 

Nunes's story is pretty incredible, but has largely been overlooked by the UFC's marketing department. 

Nunes grew up fighting, sleeping in a gym far away from her home in a town called Pojuca and training with all men. She eventually moved to New Jersey, and then to Miami, initially making her name in an MMA promotion called Strikeforce by mauling Julia Budd in a meager 14 seconds. 

During her time in the states, Nunes also learned English and met her current girlfriend (who was her training partner). 

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Amanda Nunes poses for photographers during an event for UFC 207, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, in Las Vegas. Nunes is scheduled to fight Ronda Rousey in a mixed martial arts women's bantamweight championship bout Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Nunes, incidentally, is also the first openly gay champion the UFC has ever seen. 

WATCH | Amanda Nunes challenges former women's bantamweight champion Miesha Tate for the belt. 

Dominick Cruz vs. Cody Garbrandt

Just because Rousey's on the card doesn't mean any of the other fights aren't worth watching. Enter Dominick Cruz, arguably the greatest men's bantamweight of all time, and the rivalry of a decade. Except this rivalry isn't between two men, this is a rivalry between a man, and an entire team. 

When Cruz's career was just beginning, he suffered his one an only loss to this day. That loss came against a man named Urijah Faber, a legendary bantamweight fighter. 

Faber went on to form his very own team of fighters, that he still manages and trains with to this day, called Team Alpha Male. Dominick never lost to Faber again, fighting him two more times. Cruz then went on to defeat one of Faber's proteges in bantamweight fighter and Alpha Male member TJ Dillashaw. 

Now it's Team Alpha Male fighter and Faber disciple Cody Garbrandt's turn to try and defeat Cruz, the man who has haunted Faber's squad for years. 

UFC 207: Dominick Cruz - My Fight at UFC 199

WATCH | Dominick Cruz outlines his relationship with Team Alpha Male and recounts his final fight against Faber. 

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Cody Garbrandt poses for photographers during an event for UFC 207, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2016, in Las Vegas. Garbrandt is scheduled to fight Dominick Cruz in a mixed martial arts bantamweight championship bout Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Garbrandt is an absolute monster. At only 25 years of age, he has yet to lose any of his 10 professional fights. An amateur boxer, he's known for his fists of stone and bombastic attitude. 

In fact, it was Garbrandt who repeatedly sought Cruz out after his fights, when Cruz was working with FOX in the studio, and called him out.

Cruz was only too happy to oblige. Garbrandt, after all, to him seemed like "another win on [his] record." And another chance to embarrass the stable of his longtime foe, Faber.  

So now it's the upstart, undefeated boxer, versus the kinetic and unpredictable veteran.  

The fights on the maincard of UFC 207 will begin at 10 p.m. EST. 

The event can be ordered on pay-per-view. 

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