Ronda Rousey was notable in her silence during the buildup to UFC 207 on Friday night. Perhaps nothing spoke louder than her performance, or lack thereof, in her fight with Amanda Nunes that saw her pummeled in 48 seconds, wondering what had just happened. Fittingly, immediately after her powerful victory, Nunes gestured for everyone to be quiet, extending the silence a few moments longer that kept her out of the fight promotion all week.
It was very much the kind of fight Rousey was used to her entire run, up until her crushing defeat a little over a year ago that saw her become a recluse between fights, save for two appearances on “Ellen.” The fight was essentially over before it began. Much like Rousey’s past opponents would try to beat her at her own game, allowing her to execute her superior judo en route to quick, decisive victories, Rousey fought the perfect fight to lose to Amanda Nunes. She tried to go toe-to-toe with her standing, offering little in the way of striking defense and never really attempting to utilize her strengths.
After 13 months, 48 seconds is all it took to silence the myth of Ronda Rousey.
Forty-eight hours later, we don’t know much more about her future save for a short statement she gave to ESPN early on Saturday.
The statement is gracious to Rousey’s fans who helped sell out Las Vegas’s T-Mobile Arena Friday and even to Nunes, who was far from gracious in victory. The statement reads:
“I want to say thank you to all of my fans who have been there for me in not only the greatest moments but in the most difficult ones. Words cannot convey how much your love and support means to me. Returning to not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year. However, sometimes – even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly – it doesn’t work how you planned. I take pride in seeing how far the women’s division has come in the UFC and commend all the other women who have been part of making this possible, including Amanda. I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future. Thank you for believing in me and understanding.”
It doesn’t give much indication of what her fighting future holds, but one thing that appears to be certain is that we won’t be seeing Rousey in the cage any time soon.
The new Ronda Rousey takes her time.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: While nothing is for sure, the wording of this statement tells me that we’ve likely seen the end of Rousey’s fighting career. The fact that she is reflecting on her career and talking about the progression of women’s MMA and her influence on it, tells me she is putting fighting in her past. It must have been deflating for Rousey to lose the way she did as she seemingly had everything working in her favor for this fight. I had been picking Nunes to win all along. All along that is, until the day of the fight.
Everything seemed to have come together for Rousey. She had all the time off that she needed after a whirlwind two or three years for her, she was in amazing shape, and she had zero distractions the week of the fight. All she had to do was focus on the fight at hand, so I picked Rousey. Losing so badly, with no external excuses available, would make anyone question their future.
It seems more clear than ever now that coaching and fight strategy has debilitated Rousey in these last two fights. Getting into a brawl with Amanda Nunes will lead to this result every time. Rousey’s best path to victory would have been to drag Nunes into deep waters, where she’s known to fade late in fights. That would have involved being more patient and utilizing her grappling. That said, Nunes brought the fight to her and deserves all the credit for her win.
Loyalty and pride may prevent Rousey from making the changes necessary to continue to compete with UFC’s top bantamweights. That and the lure of outside offers, may be enough to keep Ronda Rousey out of fighting for good.
SUNDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Ronda Rousey’s mother, AnnMaria De Mars, put up a blog post Saturday morning defending her daughter. This comes after she was openly critical of Rousey’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan before and after the Holly Holm fight. Excerpt: “Let me suggest that someone who has been a world level athlete in two sports, written a best-seller, acted in movies, and made millions of dollars all before the age of 30 has a pretty darn good track record. On top of that, Ronda has been part of the USADA drug testing since she was 16 years old, never failed a drug test, always paid her taxes, never been arrested, never been to rehab, has zero divorces, zero DUIs, and zero children. While you might think that is to be expected, look how many celebrities (heck, look how many of your neighbors) can say that. I am very proud of my daughter.”
-At Friday’s post-fight press conference, Amanda Nunes said that she expected Ronda Rousey to try to stand with her because she felt Rousey’s team gave her a false belief that she was a superior striker. “I knew she was going to to strike with me because she thinks it because her boxing coach told her she has good striking,” Nunes said. “I knew she was going to strike a little bit with me, but when I started to connect with some punches, I knew she would want to start to clinch with me.”
-While Cody Garbrandt said he’d like a rematch with Dominick Cruz, Dana White is saying that T.J. Dillashaw will get the next Bantamweight Title shot. As for Cruz, he said he “enjoyed every second” of his losing effort in Friday’s co-main event, and first loss since 2007.
-Mike Goldberg finished his UFC tenure with little fanfare at UFC 207. Goldberg’s son, Kole, was upset at this and wrote a strongly worded post on Twitter. “My dad did so much for the UFC over the past (20) years and they can’t even give him a proper goodbye. what a joke @ufc.”
-The World Series of Fighting ran an event on Saturday in New York City that saw Marlon Moraes defend his Bantamweight Title, Jon Fitch retain his Welterweight Title over Jake Shields in a fight that our own Adam Tindal called “insanely boring,” and Justin Gaethje defend his Lightweight Title. Check out Adam Tindal’s full report HERE.
-Rizin concluded their open weight grand prix on New Year’s Eve in Japan and Mirko Cro Cop turned back the clock to win another grand prix with first round wins over Baruto Kaito and Amir Aliakbari.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS UPDATE: FRIDAY NEWS DIGEST 12/30: Miesha Tate blasts Rousey for refusal to engage in usual media obligations for UFC 207 (w/Keller’s Analysis)