After a couple of days to take in Ronda Rousey’s loss at UFC 193, the narrative going around the MMA world and social media is that Rousey has no chance of beating Holly Holm to regain her women’s bantamweight title. On the heels of an unprecedented rise to stardom over the last 12 months — which included two successful title defenses — this surely wasn’t the way “Rowdy” intended to close out 2015.
But consider what Rousey had going on outside the cage to add the weight of promoting the fight. A public spat between her mother Dr. AnnMaria De Mars and trainer Edmond Tarverdyan could have played a bigger role in the fight’s outcome than previously expected.
Add in what pressures exist for a fighter to sell out a 70,000-person Etihad Stadium – which was the third stadium venue to host a UFC event — and you’ve got a recipe for potential disaster, regardless of the fighter.
Assuming it wasn’t all for promotion, the former champion started showing cracks in her armor at the weigh-ins by getting into it with Holm and becoming overly emotional — something she didn’t do leading up to her showdown with Bethe Correia despite the hostile verbal attacks the Brazilian fighter sent Rousey’s way.
With that being said, Rousey’s strategy to exchange punches with Holm — one of the most decorated women in boxing history — played a major role in losing her first professional fight. The “Rowdy” one’s confidence and belief in her abilities is a big reason why she got knocked out. But it’s also why she has been a dominant champion and is poised to turn this minor setback into a major comeback when an expected rematch comes around.
Expect the two-time Olympian, who has proven to be a consistent winner to learn from her mistakes, to return with a different game plan and better mindset next time she’s in the Octagon with Holm. You don’t get to two Olympics and almost clean out an entire weight division in the UFC by pulling a Gina Carano and riding into the sunset when facing major adversity.
Prior to the fight, Rousey had plans to take some time off from fighting and come back at UFC 200 in July. Assuming she sticks to her guns, that’ll give Rousey some much-needed time to regroup and come up with another strategy to regain her belt.
Based on Holm’s one-sided beat down, many feel there isn’t enough time for Rousey to close the major striking gap between the two. But that’s assuming Tarverdyan and Rousey entertain the idea of another striking match with Holm. It’s important for them to find a way to get this fight to the ground. Rousey was seemingly only a few steps away from securing her signature arm bar on Holm in the late stages of the first round with the game plan she had. Chances are she’ll find herself with a similar opportunity in a rematch.
I’ll put some of my money down to say the “Rowdy” one will turn this loss into a positive and will give Holm all she can handle in a rematch next year. Because the stubborn trait which turned her into an Olympian, a dominant UFC champion and eventually got her knocked out, is going to be the same trait which picks her off the canvas and turns her into the UFC’s first two-time women’s champion.
It’ll be fun to see what Ronda Rousey 2.0 will look like and how much better it should be than version 1.0, which nearly cleaned out the woman’s bantamweight division until Holm’s highlight-reel head kick.