Former UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has been the face of women’s MMA ever since she joined the league in 2011.
Her once flawless 12-0-0 record, nine of which were wins that took less than a minute, has given her quite a reputation, and, sadly, quite an ego.
With the nickname “Rowdy,” Rousey is a confident fighter to say the least, and this confidence might have been her downfall last Sunday in her first-ever defeat. In fact, it was not a close fight. Holly Holm (10-0-0) knew exactly what it took to top the “unbeatable” Rousey, and she executed it to perfection, completely taking over in the first round and finishing it with a punishing kick to Rousey’s face in the second. It was not a fluke victory. It was well deserved, and it was bound to happen.
While it might have looked like a stunning upset, there are many factors that made this victory no surprise at all. First off, Holm is one of the greatest female welterweight boxers of all time, with an impressive 33-2-3 record. She uses these abilities in MMA to her advantage, and against Rousey she kept her space and got quick jabs in with ease. Rousey needs to grapple her opponent to win, and Holm did not let that happen.
So why is this a big deal? Sure, even the best have off games, and Holm might just be Rousey’s kryptonite. The problem is that Rousey knew what Holm was going to do exactly and thought that she was just good enough to deal with it. Last month, Rousey appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and when asked about how long it would take to beat Holm, she proclaimed that this would be a much longer fight than usual.
“This one is going to be a much longer fight. (Holm) is a 19-time world boxing champion … she’s the biggest threat to me on paper and stylistically,” Rousey said about her opponent. “(Holm) is someone you have to be patient with. I feel like she’s going to try to keep distance and get me frustrated to the point where I make a mistake and she can kick me in the head.”
Rousey ended the statement with the unsurprisingly cocky proclamation, “but it’s not gonna go like that, not the way (Holm) wants it to.”
Rousey predicted the future and gave a legitimate play-by-play of her brutal defeat a month before it actually happened: Holm kept her distance, made some big jabs at Rousey’s head, got Rousey frustrated, forced Rousey to make mistakes and kicked her in the head for a powerful knockout.
So why did she not make any changes to her game? The answer is arrogance.
Rousey has been hyped up as an untouchable god in women’s MMA that she herself even believed it, so she went into this fight as if it was just another walkover, even though in the back of her mind she knew what could happen. Rousey was too cocky, and this time it hurt her.
From her pre-fight Instagram post insulting Holm to not touching gloves with Holm at the beginning of the match, it is clear that Rousey had no respect for her opponent and thought she was going to walk all over her.
All of that talk would make Holm appear to be a bad person, but Holm has been nothing but praised for her out-of-the-ring personality, being called incredibly nice and down to earth by many. So, Rousey’s statements are most likely false, and are just a result of scorning a worthy opponent.
Rousey is one of the most talented female athletes alive, but that does not make her invincible. Her head became way overinflated with the fame, and she truly thought she could win with sheer power and ability over anyone, even when she knew deep down Holm was a different opponent.
This match should be praised for Holm’s terrific takedown of an egotistical icon, and not be shown as a small chink in Rousey’s armor. This is not one small chink; this is a gaping hole that was hidden in the shadows through Rousey’s first 12 fights, and now the whole world is very aware of it.