After a brutal, one-sided loss to Brazilian destroyer Amanda Nunes, the fighting future of Ronda Rousey is anything but certain.
“I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future,” Rousey said in a statement released to ESPN following her second-straight embarrassing loss.
The fighter who was once considered so unstoppable that she topped Serena Williams in a fan-determined poll of the greatest female athletes ever was simply no match for Nunes, who blew Rousey’s doors off in just 48 seconds.
The iron-fisted puncher and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt stunned the UFC’s most popular fighter within seconds and continued to pour on the punishment until referee Herb Dean rescued Rousey early in the first round.
The American Top Team-trained UFC queen – who became the first fighter other than Rousey to defend the women’s 135-pound crown – believes this is the final chapter in the former champion’s career.
“Yeah that’s it for her,” Nunes said after the fight. “She can’t take it anymore. If she wanted a rematch, it would be the same thing. She can’t take my punches.”
It’s a sentiment that has been echoed by most industry experts in the wake of the former Olympian’s second defeat as a prizefighter, but I have a hard time believing that UFC 207 was Rousey’s last stand.
Granted, since getting her brain rattled by American boxer Holly Holm, Rousey has done nothing to disprove the widely-believed theory that she is a mentally fragile – perhaps even broken – fighter.
Not to mention, she has a healthy bank account – having pocketed US$3 million in show money, and likely a few more in pay-per-view revenue after Saturday – and an irrefutable legacy as one of the most important fighters in combat sports history.
Rousey only has one reason to go back: her own fiercely competitive nature – something her mother Dr AnnMaria DeMars detailed on her blog.
DeMars wrote: “All of those who have criticized Ronda for taking a loss so to heart, for not just ‘shrugging it off’ don’t understand that what made Ronda so successful is that she cares DEEPLY about winning to an extent that I don’t believe the average person can wrap his/her head around.”
Most of us see a person with untold riches and nothing left to prove as a fighter get their brains beaten in, and think they should retire because that’s what we would do in their shoes.
Pro fighters don’t operate like that.
Chuck Liddell – a fighter Dana White gave a desk job so he wouldn’t continue to fight and risk full-blown brain damage in 2010 – still thinks he can whoop Jon Jones.
Roy Nelson copped 130 significant strikes from Brazilian bomber Junior dos Santos – with 95 percent of those to the head – during their three-rounder at UFC 117. His conclusion? He didn’t lose, he just ran out of time.
“If I’d had two extra rounds, it could have been a different fight.” He said, and he actually meant it.
Rousey may be wealthier than your average fighter and have offers to play fight in the WWE or action flicks, but she isn’t any less ambitious (or delusional).
The 29-year-old former champ is “taking some time to reflect and think about the future” right now. After a few weeks, she might even announce a retirement, but I doubt Rousey will stay away forever.