Has the MMA world seen the last of Ronda Rousey?
words by: Milan Ordoñez
It has been almost a year since the mixed martial arts world saw Ronda Rousey inside the UFC Octagon.
And much to the disappointment of her most ardent fans, “Rowdy’s” last showing at UFC 193 was far less than the spectacular, fearsome fighter that everyone was accustomed to witnessing during her run as the UFC bantamweight champion.
During that November 15th night at the Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, the woman once deemed by Sports Illustrated as the “most dominant athlete in the world” instead showed immense vulnerability. She was walking into Holm’s line of fire, bull-rushing and attacking carelessly.
Much to the chagrin of those anticipating for another highlight reel finish from the former Olympic judoka, the final scene that instead transpired was Rousey lying on her back after being hit by a single left kick to the jaw from Holm.
Since that fateful night, Rousey had kept herself from the public eye. While she did make some sporadic appearances, such as the late-January episode of Saturday Night Live, the only time she emerged back to mainstream attention was during a February interview with Ellen Degeneres where she made a shocking revelation.
“I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself, and that exact second I’m like, ‘I’m nothing,’” a tearful Rousey told Ellen. “What do I do anymore? And no one gives a sh*t about me anymore without this.”
Fortunately, she came back to her senses upon seeing her boyfriend, fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne.
“To be honest, I looked up and I saw my man Travis was standing up there and I looked up at him and I was like, I need to have his babies. I need to stay alive.”
Rousey was slated to make her ceremonious return at UFC 200 in July, for a supposed rematch against Holm. However, her other obligation as a film actress got in the way, when the production of the remake of the 80’s cult classic “Road House” experienced some delays. Rousey holds the starring role of the said film.
UFC president Dana White then rescheduled Rousey’s comeback fight for UFC 205, the company’s debut event in New York City. Rousey was one of the key players that helped legalize mixed martial arts in the state of New York, after decades of back-and-forth failed discussions.
But apparently, these plans are not yet set in stone. In his recent appearance at the Michael Kay Show, Dana White appears to be unsure about when his once top draw would be making her much-awaited return.
“She has as much time off as she wants or needs. Obviously, I would love her to come back sooner than later so we’ll see how that plays out but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to roll into New York with Ronda but I just don’t know if she’s going to be ready.”
Could it be that Rousey was completely broken by her loss to Holm that her fighting future is now in limbo? Is it possible that making films has turned from being a mere extra-curricular activity to her new passion in life? After all, she can earn as much money doing so, without the risk of breaking her jaw from eating a well-timed kick.
As current champion Miesha Tate pointed out during her recent appearance that the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the biggest question right now would be how Rousey picks herself up from the most crushing loss of her professional career.
“The question mark is how’s Ronda gonna come back from this? I know what I’ve been hearing from Ronda in the media and in the press… she’s been quiet lately, but before that. It wasn’t what I would’ve expected to hear from someone who really wants to come back, who’s really, really a fighter at the core.”
“When someone has a devastating loss, they want to get back in there right now and face that person right now, or someone else. Just get that loss of the record. Erase it.”
In a nutshell Tate says Ronda’s current emotional and mental state based on her recent interviews is coming from someone “doesn’t really wants this anymore.”
The UFC has seemingly created a set-up primed for an explosive comeback for Ronda Rousey. Miesha Tate holds the belt, while Cris Cyborg was recently signed and has been making huge waves, so far. Both of her most bitter rivals are ready to take her on.
Whether making a return to prizefighting or sticking to filmmaking would be her call to make. But for any long-time fight fan, the mixed martial arts realm just would not be the same without Ronda Rousey.