It’s official. former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is set to make her long-awaited and glorious return to MMA later this year. Rousey will be fighting for the title again in her first fight back, as she’s scheduled to face new champion Amanda Nunes. Ever since Rousey lost the belt to Holly Holm, it’s been a hot potato in the division. Holm lost the title earlier this year to Rousey’s longtime rival, Miesha Tate. Then Tate lost the belt a few months later to Amanda Nunes at UFC 200. UFC 207 is no doubt going to be a huge event, and it’s one I can’t wait to see.
This will be Rousey’s first fight in over a year, since she lost the belt to Holm last November. However, this is also the first fight for Rousey after suffering a career defeat. So there are all these question marks over her return. At the time of her loss, Rousey was one of the top superstars in sports. She reached a level of popularity and exposure that even few male athletes can reach. However, fame and fortune does come with a price. For Rousey, who already competes in a very dangerous and high-stress occupation, it was having her life under a microscope. Her personal life was no longer private. Not to mention her mother was publicly throwing her longtime coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. Additionally, she had begun a romantic relationship with fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne. The two had gotten together when Browne was going through a tumultuous break-up with his estranged, and now ex, wife. I’m not here to pass judgment on Ronda Rousey, who she dates, or her coaches. My point is this. No matter what anyone says, no matter how much money you are making, or how much things you can have to help you, having this much of your life on display to the public can’t be easy. Rousey’s media obligations constantly increased. However, now she’s having to answer questions about her mother and why her mother is insulting her coach, or why she is dating a UFC fighter, who his ex-wife accused of beating her.
However, after she lost, the worst thing is how people suddenly turned on her. One of the drawbacks to MMA fandom in the US, besides how fans can be very overly entitled and spoiled at times, is how fans will turn on a fighter after a loss. In many ways that’s what happened to Ronda Rousey. And this is more than just some random idiots on social media and Twitter trying to deride her and her accomplishments. It was people in the MMA community as well. It was celebrities. Even Lady Gaga took the time to lay into Ronda Rousey after her loss on Instagram.
The point is, Rousey was going through all the stress of having her private life made public and constantly questioned and put under a microscope. On top of that, she was knocked out, a defeat that must’ve been humiliating for her. The loss put Rousey under a great deal of depression. However, the benefit is this. In terms of her career, the worst thing that could’ve happened to her happened to her. It happened, and now it’s over. Now she can move on from and get even better. I truly believe that sometimes a loss is the best thing that can happen to a fighter because the loss can define their career for the better. A loss can teach a fighter things, and it can light a fire under them. As Conor McGregor says, “You either win, or you learn.” For Rousey, we shall see if that’s the case.
Rousey’s loss also doesn’t lessen or take away her accomplishments. No matter what anyone says. Yes, she lost to a tough opponent. But that doesn’t make her an awful fighter. It doesn’t mean the people she beat are suddenly awful. Rousey is a great fighter, and she’s also beaten great, tough opponents. However, on that night, Rousey made bad decisions and chased a lengthy, rangy striker, who was ready for such an attack. But then, in her next fight, Holly Holm got submitted by Miesha Tate. You know, Miesha Tate. The woman that Rousey submitted not just once, but twice. So Holly Holm must be garbage, and Tate must be hot garbage? No, all of that is BS. MMA is about styles and match-ups. MMA Math is not real. Rankings, even if you have the best and most comprehensive rankings, do not take into account how complex and unpredictable this game can be. There’s been many times this sport has seen un-ranked underdogs come in and defeat top five opponents. Going by the rankings, that should never happen, but in MMA it’s possible. And that’s because in MMA there are many ways to win, and there are many ways to lose. It’s a one-on-one fight, so it’s not surprising that the slightest mistake or margin of error could mean a trip to the canvas and being roused away by the cage-side officials.
I think some fans and reporters especially want to believe there is that one perfect fighter and athlete that has this game all figured out. Maybe there’s that one mystical Yoda who is one with the Force of MMA and knows all the right moves in order to win and will be unbeatable. Some thought it might’ve been Fedor Emelianenko. Others thought it could’ve been Anderson Silva or Georges St-Pierre. But all of them lost at some point. All of them got finished at some point. No fighter is unbeatable, no matter how good they look. With Rousey, she was simply so dominant it got to a point where one simply couldn’t imagine her losing to anyone. It was the same way with Fedor and Anderson. However, they are still human beings. They aren’t immortal. They aren’t superheroes
On November 15, 2015, the entire world was awoken to the fact that Ronda Rousey is in fact human. Some people simply couldn’t come to terms and understand that. And maybe Rousey, to a supposed degree, had to come to terms with that as well. But that’s not so bad. Losing in a fight isn’t the end of the world. Even if Rousey lost fake friends, those people are better left out of her life, and she hopefully knows she can trust and rely on.
I have no idea what depends when she faces Amanda Nunes. Nunes is a deadly knockout artist, who is dangerous on the ground as well. However, she tends to fade when the fight gets out of the first round. I think we’ve seen enough fights to know that Rousey’s stand-up, while it has made some improvements, is probably one of her weaker areas. She does have knockout power, but she’s not the cleanest, smoothest striker. Her defense isn’t great, and we saw what happened when she opted to chase around Holly Holm. Additionally, Nunes will have a slight height and reach advantage over her. There’s also the factor of Rousey’s long layoff and coming off from such a crushing defeat. However, not knowing what will happen in a fight is not necessarily a bad thing. This is one I can’t wait to see.