In 2015 Ronda Rousey had won three title defenses in 64 seconds combined and was the third most Google searched person on the planet (#4 was Donald Trump). There was never anything like that in mixed martial arts, and never will be again.
Then she got knocked out by Holly Holm in Round 2. The title turned into a hot potato and ended up with Amanda Nunes, who knocked out Rousey in 48 seconds. During a recent edition of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, the multiple black belt holder and UFC color commentator broke down why.
“When she built the women’s bantamweight division and became the dominant force and stopped all these people and looked invincible, all those women were coming up below her. And they were getting better and they were evolving. And they were, like the rest of MMA, they were reaching this incredibly high level. Where the women’s MMA movement in the early days, three or four years ago, if you watched women’s MMA, the skill level was nowhere near commensurate with men’s skill level.
“The men’s skill level three or four years ago, they’re better today, but only a little bit better. But the women are way better today than they were, because it’s a new thing. It’s like 1997 for mixed martial arts, for men, that’s like what three or four years ago was.
“But now, the women have essentially pretty much caught up, or close to it. There’s very high-level striking, very high-level submissions, very high-level fluid overall mixed martial arts games in the women’s divisions. And Ronda in a lot of ways, as spectacular as she was, she had very limited approach. She didn’t kick. She punched but she wasn’t necessarily the most brutal knockout puncher.
“And she necessarily wasn’t really the most skilful boxer, she didn’t really have a tremendous amount of experience. What she had was an incredible amount of athleticism, a world-class mindset – she was a world class athlete – she was a former Olympian, and outstanding judo.”
“Her judo and her armbars are among the best in the world. Her transitions, the way she attacks and attacks and attacks and set things up, she’s phenomenally talented and really accomplished in judo.
“But, when you want to be a world mixed martial arts champion at the highest level of the game, now, you have to be great at everything.”
“There’s people like Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson, who I think is the best fighter in the world, he’s amazing. That guy is great at everything and that’s why he’s the best because you don’t know what the f*** he’s going to do. You don’t know if he’s going to kick you or knee you or take you down or strangle you or elbow you, he’s just got so many options and he’s coming at you from all different directions and he never gets tired.
“He’s the total full package. We don’t have a Demetrious ‘Mighty Mouse’ Johnson in women’s MMA yet, but it’s coming, it’s coming. And Ronda is not that. Ronda is more like maybe a Chuck Liddell or one of the early pioneers of men’s MMA.
“Super talented and really fun to watch, but perhaps limited in their approach.”
It is now widely believed that Rousey is done with MMA and is ready to move onto the next chapter.