It is now official as of 12th October when Dana White announced that Ronda Rousey will be returning on Dec 30th to fight Amanda Nunes for the UFC Bantamweight title.
This of course coming after her last performance in November 2015, when she was knocked out by Holly Holm in Australia, ending an unbeaten streak of 4 years and 6 UFC title defences.
Everyone in the MMA media world saw how devastating that first career loss was for Ronda Rousey, particularly in the fashion that it happened – a video was released shortly after the fight of Ronda covering her face from the media clearly very distressed. Then it was after losing that fight that she basically went into a form of exile from the sport for over a year, and even refused a lot of media opportunities for a while.
There have been none stop questions about if Ronda Rousey will be coming and when for over a year now, and finally MMA fans have their answer.
Will she be the same?
This of course now opens up a whirlwind of questions – how will Ronda look as a martial artist when she steps foot in the octagon? After such a devastating loss and such a long time away from the sport, will her confidence and ability to express herself be there in the cage? Will she be able to display the same level of dominance that she established in the division before her first professional loss?
Many martial artists have stopped competing professionally after suffering the kind of loss that Ronda Rousey did in November 2015 to Holly Holm. But anyone can be knocked out, and Ronda is a larger then life character, as well as one of the biggest stars to ever come out of MMA in history, being the first female UFC womens champion, when Dana White himself had said years before that there would never be female fighters in the UFC, so don’t be surprised if she comes back and looks every bit as good as her dominant reign as champion.
Her story attracts to so many people that are not even interested in MMA, but she has been able to attract many new fans to MMA – But, and this is a big but, It has been noted by many people that if you look in comparison to how Conor Mcgregor handled his loss to Nate Diaz, and how Ronda handled her loss to Holly Holm, you can see a massive disparity.
Conor Mcgregor the UFCs Featherweight champion and current biggest pay-per-view draw, was seen minutes after his first UFC career defeat to Nate Diaz, smiling and graciously accepting defeat at the hands of a better opponent, all while wearing a very expensive suit as well.
But Ronda in comparison literally fell into a blackhole of sorrow after her loss, and i have to agree with what many have said psychologically regarding this, because i do have genuine concerns about whether or not Ronda has yet developed the veteran understanding of combat of a true martial artist.
I say this because a true martial artist understands that loss is as much a part of unarmed combat, as winning is, it is a part of life in general, in the word of Conor Mcgregors head coach John Kavanagh –
“We are either winning or we are learning”
Its clear that Conor Mcgregor knows how to psychologically handle loss as martial artist, but Ronda has not learnt this yet, so she may have lost her confidence as a martial artist altogether, and if that has happened, then stepping into the cage for your first match back against a seriously tough opponent in Amanda Nunes could be a very bad idea.
This is no easy return against Nunes:
Now it is clear that there were some personal issues Rousey was dealing with before the Holm fight, and doing too much media which possibly factored into her losing.
However, going up against current Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes now is very risky, because It is clear to me that Nunes will have a definitive advantage in the stand up areas of this bout, as she is known for her solid striking techniques and power in her hands, which she displayed very well against Miesha Tate, as well as her BJJ skill, finishing Tate with a rear naked choke in round 1 after dropping her with strikes on the feet.
We have seen that Ronda is not a natural striker on her feet, her flow, her movements, attack/defence and balance as a striker is not as developed as Amanda Nunes.
So i strongly suggest to Ronda and her camp to attempt to close the distance early, feint, keep good head movement, and then time the moment as Nunes comes forward to get to the clinch within the first few minutes of the round, then attempt to establish Rondas world class Judo to take the fight to the matt and look for submissions.
Staying at range, or in the pocket on the feet could spell bad news for Rousey in this bout, and even in the ground department im not so sure Ronda will be able to dominate Nunes either. Submitting Miesha Tate and Sara Mcmann shows that Nunes has a serious BJJ game, she is a Black belt, and a Brown belt in Judo, so it is highly likely that she will be able to reverse, negate or escape any of Rondas submission attempts, and you can bet that Nunes will be well versed for any patented Ronda Rousey armbar attempts.
However in MMA, as we know it is so explosively surprising at times, when two experts in various martial arts fields collide in an unarmed contest, its a part of why we all enjoy the sport so much. So anything can happen when Rousey and Tate have their bout, but one thing for sure is that this will be an excellent contest to see, and a very telling one for the future of Ronda Rouseys MMA career.
Is the lure of Hollywood too much?
If Ronda Rousey can come back and defeat Amanda Nunes, then all of our questions will be answered, and we will be able to say that Ronda is back, she released the pressure of taking her first loss, and will hopefully continue to have more great fights etc.
But many have speculated that Ronda will retire if she loses this fight, and i have to say that if she does lose to Nunes, and she takes it mentally anything like her first loss to Holm, then retirement from MMA and focusing on other ventures in her life like Hollywood movies, TV appearances, WWE and possibly motherhood could all be better ideas for her.
Ronda is known for enjoying the celebrity lifestyle, and it has to be said its a shit lot easier to pose around everywhere like Paris Hilton, then it is to step into the Colosseum of the UFC octagon, then bleed, sweat and cry in front of millions of people.
But December 30th is now booked on our calendar, so as long as there is no injuries or anyone pulls out for any reason, then this fight will happen, and i sincerely hope that it will not be Rouseys last contest, as she has done so much to elevate the sport globally.
So lets just watch this space, and of course you can be sure to get the full story here at the MMA Gateway.