UFC 207 may have written the final chapter in the legacy of the once invincible Ronda Rousey.
Rousey returned the octagon on December 30, 2016 to fight Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 for the Women’s Bantamweight title.
Rousey’s previous appearance was all of 13 months prior at UFC 193 in November 2015 in which she lost her Bantamweight title to Holly Holm by way of knockout. Up to this point in her career, Rousey had compiled an 11-0 record and defended her belt six times.
Rousey showed her true colours after that fight proving to the world that she was not fit to be a champion. The former Women’s Bantamweight champion revealed, in an appearance on Ellen, the thoughts floating around her head whilst in the medical room after the Holm fight. “Honestly, my thought in the medical room, I was sitting in the corner and was like, what am I anymore if I’m not this? Literally sitting there thinking about killing myself. In that exact second, I’m like, I’m nothing. What do I do anymore? No one gives a sh*t about me anymore without this”.
When Rousey was at the top, she had a workman like approach in dispatching her opponents. Ronda was all the more loveable because outside of the Octagon she could be a real softy, enjoying a laugh with many a talk show host as well as the infectiously bubbly personality she possessed. She was a marketing dream when it came to the UFC as she was so dominant and so appealing, which was her most lethal combination.
In reality, Rousey’s revelation of her suicidal thoughts cast a shadow on her earnest demeanor, which had become legend during her reign as champion. Rousey had proven that she did not have the mental fortitude necessary to stay at the peak as a fighter. As a figure who is revered by many fighters both male and female, as well as serving as a role model to countless children, her lack of self confidence and the onset of depression once she took her first loss showed how brittle Ronda really was.
Legends such as Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao or even Connor McGregor wouldn’t have acted as such. McGregor as a more recent example had lost his first fight in the UFC in March 2016 against Nate Diaz. You know what Connor did next? He applauded Diaz’s resolve to take such punishment and win the fight. He credited Diaz’s camp for preparing him the way they did. He spoke highly of his fellow competitor and recognized that a real fighter had beaten him legitimately. McGregor went on to beat Diaz in a rematch, which was a spectacle in itself. The way McGregor handled his defeat is indicative of a true champion.
Rousey’s time at the top in the UFC’s circle of women has been partially helped by the infancy of the division. Her opponents weren’t ready for her class of Judo, which inherently made Ronda so successful. Rousey failed to evolve and develop a striking game. Holm and Nunes showed that Rousey was susceptible to being rocked by strikes which invariably caused her losses against these two ladies. In 10 years, we will see at least 5 fighters in the Women’s Bantamweight division who could’ve beaten Rousey at her prime.
Ronda Rousey has no doubt catapulted the UFC’s female divisions from obscurity. The UFC will always be heavily indebted to Rousey for putting female fighting on the map. Unfortunately, Rousey didn’t possess the never say never approach needed to overcome adversity. Her tumble from the heights of the sport to the doldrums have painted a very stark image.
Rousey hasn’t got much left in the tank, and her next move should be to step out of the spotlight and into retirement. It’s clear that her heart isn’t in this any more. Rousey’s admission to thinking of retirement before the Nunes fight was as much warning as we needed.
She has built up an extraordinary legacy. However, she wont be fighting for the belt in her next bout and therefore she would need at least a couple of fights to get back to that number one contender role. For someone who openly stated she was contemplating retirement before UFC 207 she wont be able to go through a minimum of two training camps and two fights and a possible rematch against Nunes at the end of it in order to reclaim her belt.
The book on Rousey has been written, the question is how long will this disappointing final chapter drag on for?Written by Nik Hatzi