Once upon a time not long ago, Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey reigned supreme over the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Division. Rousey looked to be an unstoppable force as she was 12-0 with eight of those twelve victories coming inside of the first minute in the first round. To add further credence to Rousey’s dominance over her foes was the fact that only one challenger, Miesha Tate, made it past the first round.
Rousey became the most talked about competitor inside of the UFC ranks for both male and female talent. After each performance spectators could only marvel at how Rousey made such quick work of her opponents and how she made it look so easy. Then on November 15th, 2015, it all came crashing down for Rousey.
Rousey suffered her first defeat at the hands of Holly Holm by way of a head kick that floored her and that was followed up by multiple punches thereafter. Holm schooled Rousey and ended Rousey’s dream of retiring undefeated. After the loss, Rousey refrained from being seen out in the public eye as often as she was when she was winning. Questions over whether Rousey would ever return began to circulate.
On December 30th, 2016, Rousey did eventually return to attempt to reclaim her UFC Bantamweight Championship. However, Rousey’s attempt would prove to be futile as Champion Amanda Nunes, made easy work of her in forty-eight seconds as referee Herb Dean called the match. Rousey’s now lost her last two bouts and the question now is, is Ronda finished?
Here, we look at eight reasons why Ronda Rousey should retire and 7 reasons why she should not.
8. The WWE Will Welcome Her With Open Arms
The seeds have already been planted for Rousey within the WWE as she appeared alongside The Rock at WrestleMania 31 when the duo took out Stephanie McMahon and Triple H. Rousey said of her appearance at WrestleMania to USA Today, “it was like a dream come true to take part in WrestleMania. It was such a special atmosphere, something I have loved since I was a kid”. WWE’s Chief Brand Officer McMahon, relayed the same sentiment saying, “Our fans love Ronda. Ronda has this cross platform appeal in terms of all forms of entertainment. We would welcome her with open arms. She is the total package”. Rousey’s stock has severely plummeted compared to where it was when she appeared at WrestleMania 31, but the WWE knows that Rousey is still marketable. Rousey could play a pivotal role at the top of either Raw or Smackdown’s Women’s Division if she plans on making the jump to the WWE.
7. She Looks Like A Shell Of Her Former Self
Regardless of what side of the fence (detractor or supporter) one is on regarding Rousey, the one thing that can be agreed on is the fact that Rousey looked unrecognizable in her bout against Amanda Nunes. Rousey was given a taste of her own medicine for a change and was defeated within the first minute of the first round. Unlike her fight against Holly Holm, Rousey failed to make it to the second round. Rousey had an abysmal and frustrating time inside the octagon with Nunes. Per MMAWeekly, Rousey only threw eighteen significant strikes and connected on eight of them. In comparison, Nunes landed thirty-one of the fifty-one she threw. There was a time where seeing Rousey knocked out seemed unfathomable; but even after her defeat to Holm, you wouldn’t have found many that would’ve bet on Rousey losing via a referee stoppage. This isn’t the Ronda Rousey the public has come to know; this isn’t the Ronda Rousey that Ronda Rousey has come to know.
6. Her Mother Wants Her To Retire
After Rousey’s loss to Nunes, TMZ caught up with Rousey’s mother, AnnMaria DeMars. While Rousey’s statement the following day echoed that she was noncommittal about her future as she said she’ll need some time to think about her future, her mother’s statement was crystal clear. DeMars told TMZ, “I would like to see her retire. I would have liked to see her retire a long time ago. Who wants to see their kid get hit? Cause she’s got a lot of talent in a lot of other things. Movies, writing, producing, she’s really, really smart. I told her that at the beginning when she started this.” DeMars isn’t just a concerned mother; she is a former and the first American World Judo Champion. As a result DeMars isn’t only speaking as a mother, but as a combat competitor who knows firsthand when it is and when it is not time to call it a career.
5. She’s Financially Secure
According to sources, Rousey is worth an estimated 12 million dollars and this is prior to her fight against Nunes. Moreover, Rousey isn’t one who’s motivated by millions. As Rousey told ESPN in December of 2016, prior to her title clash with Amanda Nunes, “if money is the motivation, then f*ck that. All these Money people. Money Mayweather, Money McGregor. I see they’re trying to do an angle or whatever. People buy it. The worship of money in our society is so deep”. Rousey would further distance herself from the forenamed Mayweather and McGregor as she said, “I’ve had no money before, and it wasn’t the end of the world. All I need is me and Travis and our little house in the woods, popping out babies and making snowmen and I’m cool, man. Really, I’m good”. Rousey’s ideal future has her living in either Alaska and Idaho (as she claims) and her lifestyle echoes a modest living and not a lavish lifestyle.
4. Hollywood Will Come Calling
Rousey has appeared in box office successes such as Entourage, The Expendables 3 and the massively successful Furious 7. Rousey is also slated to appear as the lead actress in the remake of Road House. Rousey’s been vocal about her interest in making movies as prior to her bout vs Holly Holm she said in an interview with USA Today, “starting from zero and learning a skill all over again keeps me interested and motivated and I have to prove myself. I don’t want to run out of goals. I want to have a new place where everyone doubts me and I have something new to prove”. The only thing Rousey has to prove in the ring is that she is able to redeem herself. However, she’s been at the highest pinnacle of the sport prior. But, can she parlay her success in the octagon into being a successful Hollywood actress as well?
3. She Can’t Afford Another Loss
What’s worse than going out on two straight losses where you were beaten to a pulp? Well, how about going out on three straight losses where you were beaten to a pulp… Or possibly four? Quite frankly, Rousey cannot afford a loss if she decides to return to the octagon as her past two defeats have many questioning whether or not Rousey’s initial run of dominance was nothing more than a fluke. Moreover, the credibility of Rousey’s foes has been put into question. Opinions vary on Rousey’s prior opponents, but if Rousey loses her next bout she surpasses the label of damaged goods (which is what she is today). Rousey’s stock has never been lower than it is now. Rousey can either walk away now and leave people saying “she realized she didn’t have it anymore” or she can attempt to reestablish herself as a credible fighter and make people eat their words. Rousey needs to weigh whether or not the pros surpass the cons.
2. She’s On Record As Saying That She’d Rather Die Than Lose
In an October 2014 interview with Jim Rome, Rousey relayed how much she detested losing. Rousey said, “I would rather die than lose and I know that feeling so well. It’s not that I’ve never lost, it’s that I’ve lost at the worst times so I know what a loss is. That’s why I want to win so much more than these other girls”. If we revert back to October 2014, Rousey was on top of the world as she sported a 10-0 record and seven of her ten victories came within the first minute of the first round. Rousey was shredding each and every opponent that was thrown in front of her and her declaration of retiring undefeated didn’t seem unfathomable; on the contrary, it sounded logical. But, Rousey’s record is now marred by not just one L, but two. In Rousey’s mind she has technically now died twice and whether or not the fire still burns inside her belly remains to be seen.
1. She Doesn’t Know If She Wants To Fight Anymore
Great fighters have a tendency to want to avenge a loss the minute they sustain one. In 2013, Anderson “the Spider” Silva was coming off sixteen straight wins before being knocked out by Chris Weidman. Five months later, Silva attempted to avenge his loss against Weidman and came up short. In March of 2016, Nate Diaz made Conor “the Notorious” McGregor submit via a rare naked choke. Five months later, McGregor avenged his defeat against Stockton, California’s Diaz. Rousey, unlike Silva or McGregor wasn’t vocal about having a rematch against Holm after she was defeated. The same scenario is currently playing out after losing to Nunes. Upon losing to Nunes, Rousey told ESPN, “I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future. Sometimes even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly — it doesn’t work out how you planned”. Rousey’s passion for the sport hasn’t been the same since she experienced defeat.
7. She Prides Herself In Not Being A “DNB” (A Do-Nothing-B*tch)
Before taking on Bethe Correia in August of 2015, Rousey coined and trademarked the acronym “DNB”. What exactly is a “DNB”? A “DNB” stands for ‘do-nothing-b*tch, something Rousey prides herself in not being. In an interview shortly before facing Correia, Rousey said, “I have this one term for the kind of woman that my mother raised me to not be. I call it a ‘do-nothing b***h.’ Or, I call it a ‘DNB’ a lot of the time”. If Rousey plans on not being a “DNB” she will attempt to redeem herself in the octagon. She may or may not return to being the elite and feared fighter she was before fighting Holm and Nunes, but she can still establish herself as one who “got knocked down seven times and got up eight”. However, if she walks away after the Nunes defeat she is becoming the term she immensely hates…
6. She Has Lost Her Last Two Fights Because She Has Tried To Box Her Opponents
In Rousey’s loss against Holly Holm she tried to stand toe to toe with arguably the most accomplished women’s boxer of all-time, and she paid the price as Holm landed 38 strikes as opposed to Rousey’s 21, per ESPN. In Rousey’s loss against Nunes she tried to stand toe to toe with a less accomplished, but still much-more-lethal-than-her boxer in Nunes and paid the price as well. In her post fight conference Nunes took aim at Rousey’s boxing saying, “I knew Rousey was going to strike with me, because she thinks it because her boxing coach told her she has good striking.” Nunes further said, “yeah, because she thinks that she’s a boxer, you know?” He (Tarverdyan) like put this thing in her head and make the girl believe in that. I don’t know why he did that. She have great judo, and she can go far in this division, but he put some crazy thing about boxing, and her career started to go down”. Perhaps Tarverdyan has never heard of the phrase: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. Nunes’ analysis is spot on as attempting to box her opponents has significantly harmed Rousey as opposed to even helping her in a minor fashion.
5. She May Simply Need To Switch Coach
The name Edmond Tarverdyan, is one of, if not the most unlikable names affiliated with the UFC. Tarverdyan has been in Rousey’s corner ever since 2010 before she was in the UFC, before she was in Strikeforce and before she was even a professional fighter. As a result, it’s likely that Rousey feels indebted to Tarverdyan as she’s grown with him throughout the years. Despite the success of the pair and fighter/coach relationship they share, many view Tarverdyan as simply striking gold with Rousey as opposed to being a brilliant coach. In a 2015 interview with LatiNation, Rousey’s own mother, AnnMaria DeMars was exceptionally critical of Tarverdyan as she stated, “I think Edmund is a terrible coach, and I will say it publicly. “I think he hit the lottery when Ronda walked in there. She was winning before she even met him. […] She was one of the top athletes in the world when she walked in there, and he wouldn’t even give her the time of day for months. Somebody like that is a terrible coach”. Game, set and match, DeMars.
4. Fight Cris Cyborg
Prior to Rousey being defeated by Holly Holm, the women’s fight MMA fans were most eagerly anticipating was one between Rousey and Cristiane Justino, who is better known to the masses as Cris Cyborg. However, a number of issues existed such as Cyborg fighting at Featherweight (145 pounds) and Rousey fighting at Bantamweight (135 pounds), Cyborg having had a PED violation against her in 2011 and most importantly, the two fighting in different promotions as Rousey fought for the UFC and Cyborg fought for Invicta. Today, Cyborg is the same powerhouse she was in 2013 and is on a seventeen fight win streak. More importantly, she is now a part of the UFC promotion. Cyborg is the most feared and dominant female MMA competitor at the moment at any weight class. If Rousey can knock off Cyborg, she is well on her way to redeeming herself as one of UFC’s upper echelon female talents.
3. Avenge Loss To Holly Holm
On November 15th, 2015 Holly Holm did the unthinkable, as the former professional boxer turned UFC fighter not only defeated Ronda Rousey, but did so by way of a KO. Holm was a widely successful boxer as she accumulated a 33-2-3 record in the sport from 2002-2013. Her success in the sweet science of boxing was translating over to the UFC’s octagon as she was 9-0 prior to her matchup against Rousey. Despite this, Holm was looked at as having a snowball’s chance in hell versus Rousey as evidenced by Las Vegas casinos listing her as a +900 underdog. Holm did what she did best and stuck to boxing Rousey for the majority of the bout. Holm connected with a vicious head kick within the first minute of the second round that floored Rousey. Holm then followed up with punches to the head before the fight was called. Rousey’s defeat to Holm largely kept her out of the public eye for a little over a year because she was having difficulty coping with the loss and even had suicidal thoughts. Rousey’s mental framework changed drastically due to the defeat at the hands of Holm and this is one loss she likely still has major difficulty dealing with.
2. Avenge Loss To Amanda Nunes
The twenty-eight year old Brazilian Amanda Nunes, absolutely decimated Ronda Rousey at the main event of UFC 207 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rousey, who was looked at as a slight favorite by Las Vegas casinos was outclassed from the minute the bell rang. Nunes took a page out of Rousey’s playbook and defeated her in less than a minute at forty-eight seconds in the first round. Unlike Rousey’s loss to Holy Holm that came by way of a KO, her loss to Nunes came by way of a TKO as referee Herb Dean stepped in to further prevent any more of Nunes’ vicious blows that were landing on Rousey’s head. It’s one thing to walk away from the sport with a loss; it’s another thing to walk away from the sport when your opponent runs rings around you. Rousey may not defeat Nunes, but to suffer a defeat so one-sided has got to irk the ultra competitive Rousey. Not to forget, for one who is so obsessed with winning, the last thing Rousey will want to be remembered for in the octagon is her getting out-dueled in every facet against Nunes.
1. To Prove To Any And Everyone That She’s Still Got It
Rousey’s budding Hollywood career was always something that concerned her staunchest supporters and her devoted detractors, as many believed it would lead to her downfall. Prior to facing off against Holly Holm, Rousey told USA Today, “I love it when people question me and wonder if I am going to have lost some of my edge or something like that. It just motivates me more to work even harder. I work harder than anyone in MMA. There is no one who can match me. If people think that being involved in a movie is going to stop me, it will take more than that”. Rousey is on record as saying she’s the hardest worker in the sport and that she is unmatched. Yet, she’s also stated that Hollywood won’t pull her away from that and “it will take more than that”. Does two devastating knockouts suffice for “more than that”? If Rousey truly wants to prove she’s the hardest worker in the sport she won’t juggle her decision about whether or not she wants to continue fighting much longer. Furthermore, if Rousey takes this approach fans should see her in the octagon sooner rather than later.