Tonight, for the first time in three years, the talented and underappreciated females of MMA will headline a prominent fight card on Showtime. Unfortunately, it seems the athlete who is mostly responsible for this fight receiving the top billing on this card, undefeated challenger Ronda Rousey, is not nearly getting enough respect heading into the match-up.

Her opponent, Strikeforce bantamweight champ Miesha Tate, has made it known on numerous occasions \she doesn’t feel that Rousey is worthy of challenging her for the title. Rousey has only been competing professionally in MMA for a year, and, while she has finished all four of her opponents with an Armbar in the first round, she hasn’t tested herself against the elite of the division.

It took Tate thirteen fights to get what Rousey received in four – a shot at the Strikeforce title, and thus Tate feels Rousey has essentially talked her way into their bout, disrespecting women’s MMA with her mouth along the way.

It is undeniable Rousey’s brash behavior in addition to her good looks is what has put her in this position faster than the norm but that doesn’t mean she is not a worthy challenger. An Olympic bronze medalist in Judo, Rousey poses many difficult challenges to the champion, and, despite her relative lack of MMA experience, could upset Tate when it is all said and done.

Tate is a phenomenal competitor and a fantastic role model for the sport but deep down inside she should be thankful of Rousey. Without Rousey, this fight would not be in the main event and would not be getting the tremendous amount of press that it has. Just imagine if Tate were fighting Sarah Kaufman instead. It would still be a very compelling collision but would also be positioned much lower on the card, even for a title fight, and it would not be talked about in the press very much.

Think about this – Josh Thomson and K.J Noons who are two of the most exciting lightweights that Strikeforce has to offer are competing on this card and nobody is talking about it. Everyone is mesmerized with the Tate-Rousey match-up and this is something that hasn’t been seen in the sport since Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos ended Gina Carano’s run in 2009.

If it is a good fight with the winner emerging as a star, but if it is a great fight they both could become household names meaning female fighters will be highlighted more often on the main card. It seems that Tate, many female fighters, and even fans fail to understand this concept because a majority of the female audience is against Rousey and believe she is a horrible representative of the sport.

Maybe it just boils down to the fact that certain women can be very jealous people in nature and will downgrade anyone who is accomplishing something faster than them, or maybe Rousey really is such a horrible person and I’m just not seeing it. Either way, she is helping launch women’s MMA to higher levels whether the rest of the audience wants to admit it or not.

Not taking anything away from Tate, as the champion has been a class act throughout her entire career and is truly one of the best ambassadors of the sport for both males and females, but every good girl needs a bad girl to spark the flames. We have seen many male fighters play the role of the heel or villain in their fights and fans have loved it so why is it so wrong when a woman promotes herself that way? I’ve seen people on Twitter verbally attack Rousey in Tweets and then sing the praises of fighters like Chael Sonnen. Where’s the sense in that?

If you are going to dislike someone because they talk a lot of trash but call yourself a fan of another fighter who does the exact same thing on a much higher level, you are a compulsive hypocrite and the MMA community does not need people like that.

Tate’s experience and championship pedigree might be too much for Rousey tonight, or the bronze medalist could shock the world, but regardless of the outcome women’s MMA is on the front line and this is a big moment for female fighters across the globe. “Rowdy” Ronda shouldn’t be criticized for her behavior – she should be praised for it.