Nunes vs Rousey: The End Of One Era, The Start Of Another
By James Lee
As mixed martial arts fans come across the name Ronda Rousey, a cloud of negative connotations spell a sad state of affairs.
As Rousey once captured the rare mantra of not if, but when, the illusion of her stardom has completely capitulated as her present circumstance is uniquely derisive.
The mystery at one stage in her career was how long would her opponent last and not whether she would win. A notion as such is reserved only for the most dangerous in combat sport, and Rousey was, in fact, the most dangerous in the sport at one point, so the lack of acknowledgement for that years later is disappointing.
However, as she has gone on to find further success outside of the octagon since, it is worth remembering her last octagon outing four years ago when she suffered the final defeat of her career, as Amanda Nunes took a significant step in her journey of establishing herself as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
As her 2015 loss to Holly Holm shook the combat world, many anticipated the return of the former long-reigning champion, as her Brazilian counterpart was largely neglected in the pre-fight build-up. Nunes ensured that was not the case as Bruce Buffer reiterated her championship status at the end of the night, however.
Surprisingly, Rousey entered the contest as the betting favourite, likely due to the combination of many thinking the Holm loss was a blip alongside the unknown nature of Nunes. However, those feelings were immediately relinquished as a looming combat demolition became evident within the first few seconds of the contest.
As ‘Rowdy’ once looked like she was from another planet, she experienced that feeling against Nunes, who flipped that sentiment in the opposite sense. Repetitive right hands met little resistance as the contest was over before anybody could grasp the fight had begun. Quickly, Rousey was on the opposite end of her once infamous beatings, and it was as if the Holly Holm fight had continued, but with a more ruthless tenacity.
Forty-eight seconds later and a silent shock cast over Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena and Ronda Rousey was to never be seen again in the UFC’s octagon.
Since the contest, both have taken dramatically different paths, albeit both successful.
Nunes used the first title defence as the platform for her to cement herself in the conversation as one of, if not, the greatest mixed martial arts fighters of all time. For a long time, just four names were bandied around for the coveted decoration, but ‘The Lioness’ has rightfully put herself amongst that list in the past four years, with zero blemishes on her record since attaining UFC gold.
Crucially, she has become so dominant that her title defences are almost a formality, as she has sidestepped every female great, with little left to achieve consequently. More than that, she regularly finishes contests categorically, regardless of the quality of opposition.
The first-round finish over Cris Cyborg was specifically legacy-defining and largely unimaginable prior. The dispatching of her fellow Brazilian fighter ensured she became the first-ever female two-division UFC champion. Wins over Valentina Shevchenko, Holly Holm, Miesha Tate, Germaine de Randamie, Raquel Pennington and Felicia Spencer since have maintained her double championship status, which looks secure until she retires.
At one time, it was Rousey who everybody thought would stay unbeaten and continue to garner legendary status. Though, she has instead found combat success elsewhere in professional wrestling, with a return to the mixed martial arts realm seemingly impossible, as she has become an entirely forgotten memory in combat history, sadly.
Ultimately, UFC 207 presented a crossroads for both Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey. As Nunes has become what everybody thought was destined for Rousey, the impact of the American should never be forgotten in mixed martial arts, as without her, the heights that Nunes has reached may not have been possible.
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