For a long time Ronda Rousey’s grasp on the women’s bantamweight division in the UFC seemed too strong to break. She was submitting and knocking out every challenger that stepped that was put in front of her. At an undefeated 12-0 and steamrolling through everyone in her path, she was riding high competitively and commercially.
As soon as a weakness appeared, things began to change. The most feared woman in the division had a target on her back. Holly Holm exposed her striking deficiencies with a second round KO in Melbourne, Australia and derailed the hype train. It took her 13 months to return, only for her to be knocked out again by Amanda Nunes, who needed just forty-eight seconds.
Many thought that would be the last we’d see of the star, who’d been so efficient in the first 12 bouts of her career but now appeared to be lacking. Just recently, there has been talk of a return bout against Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino.
Rousey’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan spoke to THE MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani to set the rumor mill going, and said that, “I want that fight.” Critically didn’t say that the former judo Olympian was on the same page, citing her as “50/50” on another bout.
At Rousey’s peak, Brazil’s Justino was seen as the only potential threat to the American. Now though, at her lowest ebb, she is being written off at even the suggestion of the encounter.
Ladbrokes have ‘Cyborg’ at 1/5 for a proposed match-up, and with free bet offers available to increase the value , there’s no doubt a whole host of bettors that would jump at that price.
It shows how far her stock has fallen in the space of just two fights – once the perennial favorite, now she’s a massive underdog. Justino even came out saying that the match-up would be “better suited to the WWE ring” as Rousey no longer justified a fight against her in the cage.
After experiencing dominance for so long and investing so much into her fight career, Rousey was swept up by the momentum and the A-List status she held. Defeat crushed her mentally as the confidence played such a big part of her game, so her budding career in the movies might be the safest option.
Inside every fighter remains that desire to prove people wrong, which can lead to bad decisions. The outlook for Rousey against ‘Cyborg’ right now wouldn’t look too promising, so it may take those around her to make the most sensible decision for her future.