On Reflection: Ronda Rousey
By Jack Rainbow
Time can be a cruel mistress when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts, and over time since her official retirement in 2018, Ronda Rousey has not been given the respect she deserves.
Is she the woman to beat Floyd Mayweather, “once in a generation talent” commentators like Joe Rogan bigged her up to be?
No, but she is still easily top 5 in the conversation for the best female fighter of all time. Watching back fights such as her lightning-fast submission win over Cat Zingano, or her two wins over future bantamweight champion Miesha Tate proves this.
PHer ability to throw people and submit them in seconds was brilliant, and her armbar may have been one of the most effective weapons in MMA history.
The two losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, removed her invincibility, and that has unfortunately left her wins discredited by many, her opponents downgraded to “bums.”
But this is a myth. Miesha Tate beat Holm in her first title defense, proving her ability as a top-quality opponent, and Rousey’s only losses came to all-time greats, with Nunes especially manging to transcend herself to be the undisputed greatest female fighter of all time.
So why is it when you go onto Twitter or read YouTube comments about Rousey, she is often remarked to as a hype-train?
Expectation can be the destroyer of many careers, and it is true Rousey was often described as undefeatable, and this clearly was not true. Her striking had clear holes defensively which were exposed, but her grappling was sensational. Her Judo-style takedowns combined with her aggressive clinch-work and aforementioned armbar meant that only one opponent pre- Holly Holm got out of round one, and it is unfair to her legacy, that her failure to reach people’s ridiculous expectation means she is somehow described as a failure.
People have short memories, and unfortunately for Rousey, many will look back at her getting destroyed by Nunes and Holm and forget her incredible 6 title defenses, in which she finished all emphatically.
So, it is apt, in a time of mass boredom and isolation that her successes are revisited, and her legacy is given the brush up it deserves.
She is often described as a one-trick pony and that is used as a weapon to downplay her. But, this discredits her technique in her elite level Judo to complete the takedowns and to lock in the Armbar.
The same fans who say this equally call Conor McGregor just a “left-hand” or call fighters like Kamaru Usman ‘crotch-sniffers.’
It immediately makes one of the most deadly weapons ever seem mundane, just because Rousey did not have elite kick-boxing to match it. It is disrespectful to the opponents who succumbed to it, and equally takes away from the multiple set-up’s Rousey utilised to get it, and does not make sense as a critique.
Many fans use their hatred of her perceived arrogance as fuel to downplay her multiple accolades. Even without being remembered as the greatest of all time, she certainly deserves to be remembered as a true pioneer of women MMA, who transcended the glass ceiling to become one of the biggest stars the UFC has ever seen.
It seems however, that this is all she is given credit for now, not her ludicrously good ability to ragdoll top-level martial-artists.
Rousey will forever be a polarising figure, for her aggressive personality, but this should not take away from her brilliant career, nor her incredible achievements.