Former "Ultimate Fighter" semifinalist Randa Markos hasn't been in action since April, but she has an idea in mind for her next opponent, and it involves the woman who just leapfrogged her in the most recent UFC rankings.
Markos defeated Aisling Daly at UFC 186 to earn her spot at No. 6 overall in the world, but a recent win by Paige VanZant over Alex Chambers had voters putting the 21-year-old prospect in that spot this week, instead.
Markos isn't too concerned about rankings nor is she upset that VanZant jumped over her, but she also believes that since voters believe the two fighters are neck and neck for the same position, why not fight to find out who is better?
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"I think she's getting really good. I watched her fight with Tecia (Torres) and she's come a long way since her fight with Tecia. We'll have to see. She fought a few girls who weren't ranked, and that doesn't mean anything, but we'll see if she should be up there that quickly," Markos told FOX Sports on Thursday.
"I've fought some pretty good girls. I fought Tecia, I fought Aisling Daly and she was ranked pretty high before the show. We just need to see how she does against the top girls. I really think me moving down in rankings and her moving ahead of me, that only made me want to fight her even more."
The rankings situation doesn't really bother Markos outside of the fact that VanZant has fought twice this year while she's been sitting idly by just waiting for an opportunity to compete again. Markos hoped to face former "Ultimate Fighter" housemate Bec Rawlings in November, but the Aussie strawweight had surgery recently and wouldn't be ready to fight that early.
Following VanZant's recent submission win over Alex Chambers at UFC 191, Markos believes it just makes perfect sense that they face off either later this year or in early 2016.
"I have nothing against her and I think she's a great fighter. I think that's why I really want to fight her," Markos said. "I think it will be a good match for everybody, a good match of skills. She rushes in a lot and I'm used to that fighting guys at my gym all day, so it's not up to her where she is in the rankings. I just think it would be a good match and I hope they make it happen."
VanZant has climbed the rankings while facing a mixed bag of opponents since joining the UFC. Her first win came over Kailin Curran, who is now 0-2 in the UFC, but her second fight was against veteran competitor Felice Herrig, who was ranked No. 8 overall at the time when they fought in April. Her latest victory came over Chambers, who was 1-1 in the UFC at the time of their fight last weekend.
Markos won't insult any of the fighters VanZant has faced, but she also knows she defeated Herrig on "The Ultimate Fighter" and also holds a win over Tecia Torres from the reality show despite the fact that neither win shows up on her official record. Torres is currently the only fighter to hand VanZant a loss during her career.
In the hype versus reality debate, Markos admits VanZant might be a little more style over substance right now, but she's ready to test her in the Octagon to find out.
"Obviously, it's a lot more hype right now I think because she's sponsored by Reebok and she's got the looks and she's got a lot of followers. I don't think they've given her the right fights to make her move up in the rankings, but it wasn't up to her to move up to No. 6 in the rankings," Markos said. "I think we should give her a bit of a challenge and I think I'm the person who should give her that challenge."
Markos has actually wanted the fight with VanZant for quite some time, but she never vocalized her request because the Iranian born fighter didn't want it to be perceived that she was calling out an opponent ranked lower than her.
Now with VanZant actually occupying the spot just above her, Markos believes now is the time to finally make the fight happen.
"I've waited this long and I really want to fight Paige VanZant. I'll wait for that fight, I have no problem waiting for her. I've actually wanted this fight for a long time, but I didn't want to ask for it earlier because I thought people would say 'oh you're trying to take an easier fight' but now she's proven that she's getting better, she's doing really well. Everybody wants to see it, everybody is going crazy on Twitter and I think it will be the right move to put us together," Markos said.
"I'm not trying to disrespect her in anyway, but we've just got to see if she can step it up."