UFC bantamweight champion Holly Holm wants to fight Miesha Tate before facing Ronda Rousey in a rematch at UFC 200 in July.
It was expected Holm's next fight would be against Rousey after she knocked out the previously undefeated UFC superstar with a brutal head kick in Melbourne last month.
UFC officials are believed to have pitched the Rousey fight for UFC 200 in Las Vegas to Holm's camp but the unbeaten champion wants an earlier bout with the No.2 contender Tate.
The development comes as No.1 contender Rousey, who has beaten Tate twice, serves a mandatory six-month medical ban as doubts remain over her future.
"It could be three to six months before I can eat an apple, let alone take an impact," Rousey told ESPN this week.
Holm's manager Jim Fresquez cast further doubt over Rousey's health in an interview with the LA Times.
"I'm not sure Ronda will be ready for a July fight," Fresquez said.
"She took a severe beating, and I don't think it's in her best interest to take the next fight so fast.
"Holly's used to staying active and we believe the No.1 contender is there for a reason. (Tate) deserves a shot, but it's not for me to decide.
"We'd like to fight Miesha. We understand there are risks, but Holly's a dominant champion, and she wants to fight the best. Right now, Miesha is the best."
For her part Tate, who is on a four-fight winning streak is letting everyone know she wants a title fight, tweeting: "I'm ready to go that's all I'm saying."
Despite the wishes of Holm's management a fight with Tate appears unlikely with the UFC informing them there are no dates for Holm to fight before July.