What a difference a year makes.
Just 14 months ago, Ronda Rousey was widely considered an inspiring figure for women and beloved athlete in sports. An intimidating presence compared to Mike Tyson, Rousey was a symbol of power, strength and beauty. She had made herself into an icon and role model for females.
And then so much of that crumbled in a matter of two fights.
First Rousey lost to Holly Holm in Nov. 2015 and was so broken up by the loss she had suicidal thoughts and needed over a year before coming back. When she finally did return, she stayed away from doing media events and insisted she was in great shape.
And then the bell rang.
Just like in her loss to Holm, Rousey was completely tagged by Amanda Nunes and lost the fight after being crushed in the stand-up game. Nunes needed just 48 seconds to destroy Rousey and win via TKO.
Afterwards, Rousey was mocked as is custom for the internet. Most of the mocking focused on a brutal photo of Rousey:
— ⓂarcusD2.0 (@_MarcusD2_) December 31, 2016
— Darryn Albert (@dirnted13) December 31, 2016
Amanda Nunes knew she was going to beat the crap out of Ronda Rousey, and she did just that.
Nunes retained the UFC women’s bantamweight championship with a devastating victory over Rousey at UFC 207 in Las Vegas on Friday night. The Brazilian fighter came out swinging and destroyed Rousey with a flurry of punches, leading referee Herb Dean to stop the fight after 48 seconds.
After her win, Nunes said that she knew she would “beat the s—” out of Rousey. She delivered on her vision.
— REAL 92.3 LA (@Real923LA) December 31, 2016
Nunes thanked Rousey for what she has done for women’s MMA but said Rousey is done and should go make movies.
One has to wonder whether Rousey will walk away from the sport. She was already talking about retirement even when she was dominating the fight game at 12-0. Now she’s lost two fights in a row — in embarrassing fashion no less — and the mystique seems to have worn off of her.
Will she leave the octagon and go straight to Hollywood? That is a very legitimate question.
Meanwhile, Nunes is now 14-4, has won five fights in a row, and she is the class of the division.
UFC fighters have long complained about not receiving a large enough piece of the pie in the business, but Ronda Rousey certainly is getting paid for her UFC 207 fight on Friday night.
Rousey is set to earn $3 million as her fight purse for UFC 207. Comparatively, her opponent Amanda Nunes is being paid $100,000.
Per NSAC, Ronda Rousey's disclosed fight purse tonight is $3 million. No win bonus. Amanda Nunes is $100k/$100k.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 31, 2016
Even though Nunes is being underpaid by a vast margin, she will receive a pay-per-view bonus.
Worth noting on main event salaries, Dana White stated Amanda Nunes is receiving a PPV bonus.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 31, 2016
The chatter over Ronda Rousey’s behavior at a UFC 205 staredown still has not stopped.
Rousey is set to face Amanda Nunes on Dec. 30 for her first fight in over a year. The two fighters met on stage at a UFC 205 pre-fight event for a staredown/face-off to give the media photo opportunities, but Rousey ended up storming off the stage afterwards while UFC commentator Joe Rogan began interviewing Nunes.
UFC boss Dana White later defended Rousey’s behavior.
“She was never supposed to speak, and neither was Amanda,” said White. “My production guy screwed that up. It made Ronda look bad again – like she just stormed off. They were not supposed to do an interview. They were supposed to go out there and square off, and they were both supposed to walk away.”
Earlier this week, a Twitter user asked MMA Fighting’s Dave Meltzer whether it was true that Rousey was upset and had to be consoled after the incident with Nunes. He said it was.
@davemeltzerWON any truth to the reports that Ronda was upset & had to be consoled after a face off in NY? If true, she's done.
— CD (@codoll53) November 23, 2016
— Dave Meltzer (@davemeltzerWON) November 23, 2016
Whether you believe what White said or not, it sure looked like Rousey was upset that Nunes was introduced as the champion and interviewed first. Rousey was devastated after her loss to Holly Holm in her last fight and has taken over a year to get back into the cage. She’s also already talking about retiring soon after the Nunes fight. The loss to Holm seemed to truly affect Rousey’s psyche, who previously seemed invincible.
Ronda Rousey is looking to reclaim her UFC bantamweight championship belt when she fights Amanda Nunes in December, and it would not be a surprise if Rousey retires after the bout one way or another.
In a recent appearance on “Ellen,” Rousey revealed that she is not planning to fight for much longer.
“Not that long — I’m wrapping it up,” she said when asked how much longer her MMA career will last. “This is definitely one of my last fights. The show can’t go on forever.”
Rousey may have felt differently before she lost to Holly Holm over a year ago, but we all know how important her undefeated record was to her. While the 29-year-old hardly ever admitted weakness in the past, she now says preparing for a fight takes a lot out of her.
“I think it’s definitely the buildup that’s more tiring than anything else,” said Rousey. “If we had a fight right now, I’d go fight right now and then get dinner. I wouldn’t really feel tired over it. … It’s that buildup for weeks on end. If it just happened right now, I wouldn’t be nervous at all. It’s the waiting.”
In fairness, Rousey isn’t only contemplating retirement because her undefeated record is no longer intact. She has always been passionate about acting and even has an extremely lofty goal for herself if she takes that career path, so fighting was never her only plan. If Rousey loses to Nunes, it seems like a virtual guarantee that we won’t see her in the Octagon again.
Ronda Rousey is officially making her UFC return at UFC 207 in December to fight Amanda Nunes, and the bantamweight champion doesn’t seem the least bit concerned about Rousey’s reputation.
“I 100 percent am gonna beat Ronda Rousey,” Nunes told TMZ this week. “I’m 200 percent (going to beat Ronda Rousey).”
Nunes went out of her way to compliment Rousey, noting that her upcoming opponent is the most “dominant” fighter in the sport and deserves a title shot despite critics saying Rousey should have to work her way back up to it. However, Nunes says she has trained for Rousey and knows exactly how to beat her.
“I know how we’re gonna beat Ronda Rousey,” Nunes said. “I’ve been training for Ronda Rousey since my first fight in UFC. I come from the same background as Ronda Rousey. I’ve been training Judo my whole career. I understand everything Rousey’s gonna bring that day.
“This is gonna be hard for Ronda because everybody expects her to win. She can’t. She knows that.”
If Rousey does lose, that will probably be the last we see of her in the UFC. We know how much her undefeated streak meant to her, so it will be interesting to see if she can still fight with the same edge she used to. If not — well, we all saw what Nunes did to Miesha Tate over the summer.
Ronda Rousey has yet to make an announcement on if and when she will return to the Octagon, and one of her fellow fighters believes that is because the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion is expecting a child.
On Thursday, Cris “Cyborg” Justino tweeted that she keeps hearing a “rumor” Rousey is pregnant.
— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) July 28, 2016
Rousey claims that is a lie. UFC president Dana White told TMZ he spoke with her on the phone after Cyborg sent the tweet, and Rousey assured White she is not with child.
We know Rousey wants children eventually. The 29-year-old said in an emotional interview earlier this year (video here) that one of the things that kept her from wanting to kill herself after her loss to Holly Holm was the thought of having children with her boyfriend, fellow MMA fighter Travis Browne.
White has said Rousey will get a shot to reclaim her title when she returns, but it’s looking like that won’t come until 2017. Perhaps Cyborg, who has insulted Rousey on more than a few occasions, is trying a new strategy to pressure Rousey into fighting her instead.