After a surreal streak of superiority, defeating her opponents within seconds, Ronda Rousey became an icon. However, some shooting stars fade; sadly for Rousey, she crashed and burned.
After twelve undefeated fights, being unchallenged in almost all of them, Rousey’s ruthlessness was met with resistance. Holly Holm danced around the champion, leaving her senseless on the canvas from a cold-blooded high kick to the head. Rousey vanished without a trace for over a year before she returned to fight Amanda Nunes, only to lose in an arguably more devastating fashion, via TKO inside the first minute of the fight.
Before her only two losses, Rousey was eyeing the entertainment industry. She was being cast due to her marketability and status as the baddest person on the planet. After the losses, Hollywood became Hollywon’t, and her different roles from film projects began to disappear (though this may not have been due to her losses). With the odds stacked against her, the easiest option would be to live comfortably with what she still has.
She may also need to consider switching training camps as her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, has been under public scrutiny, being labeled as the root of Rousey’s demise.
Analyzing her most previous loss against Nunes, Rousey was not necessarily worse compared to her fight with Holm. The former champion was in the best shape of her fighting career and trained with an emphasis on her striking. In the fight with Nunes, Rousey was quite stiff but, her hands were high. She was light on her feet, bouncing up and down, however, she failed to move side-to-side. Without lateral movement, her head stayed in one place. Keeping your head in the center line is never good, especially against a savage striker like Nunes. As a result, Rousey’s head jerked like a PEZ dispenser from Nunes’ punches. This may have happened simply because Rousey is not used to getting struck with power. In her previous fights, she usually left unscathed. Although she was stunned, when Rousey threw her teep/front kicks, they had no forward push, and she failed to move effectively after her kicks. Of course, all of this is easier said than done but, Rousey must train her striking differently if she plans on returning.
Another factor to consider is after losing two fights in the same fashion, Rousey’s weakness may be common knowledge to her competitors. The new breed of fighters have most likely been training specifically for Rousey and exposing a weakness of this magnitude does not bode well for the former champion. She has not evolved at the same speed other fighters in her division have and because of this, Rousey may never be able to catch up. This being said, the female icon has received encouragement from Bas Rutten and Jon Jones, among others.
Her resilience and heart certainly shined, as she refused to leave consciousness and remained standing until the bitter end.
Unlike her loss against Holm, in which Rousey avoided virtually all media, she broke her silence only days after her loss to Nunes, posting on Instagram.
Considering the context of Rousey’s last two fights, many would argue she will retire but, I beg to differ. Rousey has a desire to dominate and prove people wrong. We may only see her fight once to leave on a win but, I do suspect she will return to serve as an inspiration. It would be the ultimate comeback story; a star who had it all and let their success blind them, only to be humbled and comeback to show success is still possible, even from the lowest of lows. Only time will tell to see if she returns but, I would not be surprised to see Rousey return to fight for a final victory before retiring and ending her legendary rise and fall on a positive note.