UFC 207 was centered around the return of Ronda Rousey as she looked to recapture the women’s bantamweight title from Amanda Nunes in the main event of the show.
But things don’t go always as planned, and Nunes blasted Rousey in 48 seconds to retain the belt. Rousey proved to be no match for Nunes, whose powerful punches from the outset were too much for the former champion in front of standing-room only crowd of 18,533 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
MORE: UFC 207 full results and analysis
Watching the fight numerous times since it ended, something became evident. It is time for Ronda Rousey to hang up the gloves.
Before her knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193, Rousey was the biggest star in mixed martial arts and one of the biggest in all of sports. She had won 12 consecutive fights in devastating fashion with each win looking more impressive than the previous one. The 29 year old had defeated Alexis Davis, Cat Zingano and Bethe Correia in 64 seconds combined.
She was the end-all-be-all, a great interview allowing access to both the fans and media — which was something a mainstream star had rarely done. She acted in movies, wrote a book and appeared in commercials selling a variety of products. It was a breath of fresh air to see.
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Then, the Holm fight happened, and everything came crashing down. The 2008 Olympian went into hiding and, except for carefully selected appearances, she avoided anyone and everyone.
When Rousey was approached with the Nunes fight, one of the stipulations she had was that she would do no media appearances since she felt they turned their backs on her after the Holm loss. The thought seemed to be if Rousey blocked all the media commitments and focused on her training, she would correct the wrongs that took place 13 months ago and regain the belt she felt was hers.
But the fight happened and it was clear — Rousey didn’t evolve in her standup and got blasted out for it.
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What was she doing for 13 months? Why didn’t she leave her coach Edmond Tarverdyan and go to a fight team that would help her evolve as a mixed martial artist? Why didn’t she use what got her to the dance, her judo?
Mere moments into the fight, Nunes landed a powerful right and left, stunning Rousey and putting her on her heels. The champion tore her to shreds the rest of the fight, blasting her continuously with those powerful shots until referee Herb Dean had seen enough and stopped the fight.
The big knock on Rousey after the loss to Holm was not speaking after the fight. So instead of accepting defeat, Rousey once again refused to speak. This makes her look weak. She had no problem accepting the glory we all heaped upon her after each victory, but she continues to act like a sore loser when she doesn’t get the desired result. You have to accept the good with the bad.
But she didn’t evolve. Her stubborness did her in. MMA is an ever-growing sport. You have to grow. Rousey became predictable, and watching UFC 207 made it evident she has no reason to still be fighting.
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If this is the end — and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be — it’s been an amazing career.
After only a year in the sport, in 2012, she became the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion. She had a charisma which the sport had never seen. She forced Dana White to do something he kept saying he would never do, put on women’s fights in the UFC.
She became the first UFC women’s champion in Feb. 2013. Her first six UFC title defenses ended by stoppage, five of those in the first round.
Rousey is a pioneer for MMA. Without her, women wouldn’t have the platform to compete on the sport’s biggest stage.
Ronda Rousey, thank you for everything you have done for MMA. We will miss you, and there will never another fighter like you.
Steven Muehlhausen is an MMA and boxing writer and contributor for Sporting News. You can find his podcast, “The Fight Club Chicago,” and subscribe on iTunes. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and can find him on Twitter @SMuehlhausenMMA.