Ronda Rousey: Gone, For Now, But Certainly Should Not Be Forgotten
On Saturday night the first UFC woman’s bantamweight title fight in history not to feature Ronda Rousey will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas at UFC 196. Two former foes of Ronda will face off in a co-main event to Conor McGregor vs Nate Diaz. But both women are coming from vastly contrasting experiences from sharing the octagon with Rousey.
The challenger on Saturday Miesha Tate is a long time fierce rival of Rousey and has tasted defeat at the hands of the former champion twice already in her career. Most recently in the conclusion to a fiery season of The Ultimate Fighter which sparked confrontational scenes almost on a weekly basis.
Holly Holm, on the other hand, has spent very little time in the company of Ronda. And the significant six minutes she spent inside the octagon with her will probably go down in the history books as the greatest UFC upset to date.
It wasn’t quite the result of the contest that was so surprising to many, but the style in which it happened. Holm’s performance that night was simply a work of art, a lesson in the art of striking from a true master of her trade.
Mixed Martial Arts is a sport like no other because of exactly what it is, a unity of all the forms of the arts ‘mixed’ into one platform of competition. This is why the element of upset is as alive as it is in any other sport.
You could have a long time champion in the sport, undefeated, on the most impressive of winning streaks. But match them with a fighter that’s proficient in an area that they are not, and all of a sudden anything is possible.
Ronda Rousey Entering The Fight As The Favourite
Take the main event on Saturday night for example. Conor McGregor is a heavy favourite heading into this fight, and rightly so. But that’s not to say Diaz has no chance. In fact, I would say every time the fight hits the mat Diaz goes from underdog to favourite, given the history and credentials of both men on a grappling basis.
For me what happened to Ronda Rousey in Melbourne in November last year is a culmination of three things. Firstly it was a relatively pressure-free situation for Holm. And secondly, all the hype surrounding the invincibility of Rousey surely led to some complacency on her behalf.
But last but not least the game plan on the night was completely absurd, a recipe for disaster, and borderline disrespectful to the ability of the challenger. Holly Holm is a former world champion boxer and experienced kickboxer. And to try and beat her at her own game is a mistake I fear Rousey will struggle to live with for the rest of her fighting career.
But fortunately for Ronda, all is not lost. The UFC has already announced that an immediate title shot awaits Rousey upon her return. And the general consensus is that that will be at UFC 200 against whoever should emerge victorious on Saturday night. Should that winner be Holly Holm and we are all looking forward to Rousey Holm 2. It’s not the physical side of the challenge I feel will be the most difficult to conquer for Ronda, it’s the psychological one.
Rousey took a very bad beating that vibrated around the world via the power of social media even quicker than most of us had time to close our mouths, still gasping in shock to the one-sided massacre we had just witnessed.
From Unbeatable to Beaten, How the Tables Turn
That’s a lot for someone to take, especially being in the superstar spotlight like Rousey was. And there’s no doubt that when she inevitably comes face to face with Holm again. The demons will be dancing a merry dance somewhere in the back of her mind. But it’s how she manages to deal with them that will be crucial to how she copes with the physical challenges awaiting her.
For me, Ronda Rousey is a living legend, and an inspiration to all young men and woman out there. I for one am totally convinced that she has the mental strength and martial arts skillset to go in there and put straight the only blemish in her otherwise perfect mixed martial arts record.
It may go without saying that the key to victory against Holm second time around will be the complete opposite of what she did first time out. Be patient, circle Holm and force her to be the aggressor, and only engage in close quarters where a scramble can be forced. Then we’re playing Rousey’s game, and everything changes when you’re fighting in a style of which your opponent is world-class in, as Ronda found out the hard way.
Finding Positives In A Loss
It’s not too many times Rousey would have exchanged blows with someone as decorated in boxing as Holm. And it’s just as unlikely Holm would have found herself in a scramble with someone of Rousey’s Olympic calibre Judo game. Despite the pain of watching such a likeable character in Rousey suffer in such humiliating circumstances. It was an interesting watch to see how difficult it was for her to adjust to being on the significantly lower level of striking.
I wonder how Holly Holm would react if Rousey got a hold of her and landed one of her famous Judo flips. I guess we’re going to have to wait to see. There is an old saying that applies to Rousey and her current situation. The form is temporary, Class is permanent. And Ronda Rousey is class!
By Neál Martin
Follow on Twitter: @NealKnows
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