Ronda Rousey is currently in a very unfamiliar position. For the first time in a long time she is not universally considered the top fighter in the UFC. In fact, many are no longer interested in what used to be the biggest draw in all of the UFC. What happened?
The simple answer is: Rousey lost. Yes, it’s just one loss, but it was a combination of things that happened before, during, and after that loss that has caused Rousey to lose the mystique that she once had.
The way she acted before the fight with Holly Holm
Ronda had always been a fan favorite and even a role model for many that watched the UFC. She even was becoming an icon outside of the fighting fan base. But, during the build up to her fight at UFC 193 against Holly Holm, Rousey showed a side of her that was not at all pleasant.
She lost her mind. She began going crazy on Holly Holm as if Holm had talked bad about her mother or something. The first sign of this total mental collapse was during the weigh-ins. Rousey was clearly on edge and was trying to portray Holm as a person with zero class, which to anyone that is paying attention knows is not at all the case. In fact, Holm might be one of the most respectful fighters in all of the UFC.
Then, to make matters worse, Rousey went to Facebook, the night before that fight, and posted a hateful message about Holm and how she was going to crush her (clearly not the mindset a fighter needs to be in). Many found the message repulsive and disrespectful.
The way she lost
When the fight began, Rousey wanted to be great. She wanted to show the world that she could out strike arguably the best female striker in the world. Well… she couldn’t.
The fight was dominated by Holm. Throughout the first round Holm made Rousey look like an amateur. She looked foolish to put it nicely. Then, when she began to slow down and gas out in the second round, Holm put her away with a vicious kick that put Rousey into another galaxy.
Holly Holm isn’t great
So, considering Rousey was such a dominant fighter for so long, the person that finally beats her must be amazing right? Well, no. In fact, she hasn’t won since. Holm was submitted by Miesha Tate in her next fight and was then dominated by Valentina Shevchenko. This did not make Rousey’s loss to Holm look good.
Doubt creeps in
The first thought that would come to most people’s mind is: “Rousey lost to someone who isn’t even that good. Maybe Rousey isn’t that good”.
That thought would certainly be valid at this point. However, I’m not ready to jump ship yet, but many people are. For instance, did anyone check out the stare down between Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey at the UFC 205 weigh-ins? Well, if you did, you would’ve seen that no one in the audience even seemed to care. Also, the stare down did not make many waves in the social media world as well.
In the past, this would have been a huge occurrence and would’ve been front page news. Instead, Rousey has become just another great fighter in the UFC, rather than the star she used to be.
Can she get it all back?
Yes and no. Rousey will never look like that unbeatable fighter that she once was. She will never live down the way she was obliterated by Holm and the way she looked after it. But, she can be a whole new kind of great.
Instead of being that almost bigger than life type of fighter, she should just win, win, and win some more. The problem with her loss to Holm was that her strategy was to prove to people (and maybe to herself) that she was a top-level striker and that she was great in all aspects of fighting. This just isn’t the truth.
She’s not a top-level striker. She’s not going to beat the best strikers in the world by punching and kicking. Rousey became a star because of her ability to arm bar anyone at any time. She became a star because of her judo background and her intensity.
Rousey will need to get back to the style of fighting that got her here. She will need to stay well-rounded, but she cannot get into more slug-fests. It will prolong her career and lead to many more great wins. Rousey can still be one of the greatest to ever enter the octagon, but she will need to get back to the basics, back to her old self.
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