Last night was supposed to be the triumphant return of Ronda Rousey. A 14 month wait and very little fan fair left a certain mystique around her fight against reigning champion Amanda Nunes. The build up was entirely surrounded around “Ronda is back” and she “wants her belt back”. Amanda got no attention for the second fight in a row, the first time being her title fight against then champion Miesha Tate back at UFC 200.
Ronda showed up in shape and had her game face on. No one knew exactly to expect when the octagon doors closed. The stare down was intense, but there was a glove touch, a show of respect. From the beginning bell, Ronda looked like a deer in headlights. She was pretty flat and decided she would attempt to strike with one of the best women's strikers in the UFC. Not a great game plan at all. After taking a few sobering blows Ronda decided to clinch, but she was already defeated. Mentally and physically we could all see, the end was near.
Every shot that Nunes landed was more on point and vicious than the last. As a formality Herb Dean stopped the fight, but really he saved her from herself. Her pride kept her standing but Dean kept her from absorbing any unnecessary punishment. So what exactly went wrong for Ronda at UFC 207? Was she a victim of her own hype? Is she gun shy from her knockout loss last year to Holly Holm? Or is Ronda a sucker for loyalty?
In my opinion Ronda's loyalty to her coach Edmund Taverdyan is what cost her the fight and possibly her career. Ronda is a good fighter, but her coach is not qualified to train her. He constantly gives terrible corner advise and does not seem to be a very good person. Ronda's own mother called for Taverdyan's dismissal last year. But Ronda is not the only fighter's career that Taverdyan has corrupted. Ronda's significant other, Travis Browne has went into a horrible slump since joining the camp. His striking was once world class, but now seems mediocre.
So where does Ronda go from here? A failed return was the worst thing that could have happened to “Rowdy”. If Ronda does decide to continue fighting she needs a real MMA camp that has qualified striking coaches. My suggestion? Mark Henry or Firas Zahabi would be my best advise to her. Even better, go train at Jackson's MMA with Holly Holm and learn the fine skills of boxing Ala Rocky Balboa going back to learn from Apollo Creed.
Part 2 coming tomorrow!
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