I haven't been a Ronda Rousey fan for a long time now. I always thought she was a spoiled brat who was rarely humble in victory and that she handled losses horribly. Granted, not many people handle losing well, but the way she would storm off, avoid everyone, and scorned the people who congratulated her opponent bothered me. Even though I pulled for Amanda Nunes to defend her title at UFC 207, a part of me felt sorry for Ronda. It really wasn't all that long ago that she was being called the most dominant athlete in America. She went through a stretch where she finished 4 opponents in the first round, the longest fight being just over 1 minute. She was making history while also being a positive role model for young women everywhere. It was a special time for the whole sport of MMA.
To see Ronda get completely dominated by Nunes was a big reality check. The Ronda Rousey Era was over and she is most likely never going to be the dominant champion she once was ever again. A lot of people want to place blame for her downfall to her head coach Edmond Taverdyan, but to me, there are other things that contributed as well.
I have never fought in the cage before and I probably never will. But one can easily watch Ronda's last couple of fights and easily draw the conclusion that Ronda's striking hasn't improved enough for her to stick to the top of that growing division. If you look at every other fighter climbing the woman's bantamweight ladder, they all are improving substantially. Nunes has the look of a dominant champion and then there is a newcomer in Valentina Shevchenko that would give Ronda fits with her striking as well. Despite fighting for a new women's featherweight title at UFC 208, Holly Holm isn't going anywhere either. Ronda is currently the 4th ranked women's bantamweight fighter in the world and I truthfully can't see her beating Holm, Shevchenko, or Nunes anytime soon, perhaps ever. Those 3 women all possess striking skills to hurt Ronda and I doubt that at this stage of her career, that Ronda can improve enough to even out the playing field. Edmond hasn't been able to improve her striking enough to allow her to keep up with the crowd.
Another thing to consider is that Ronda lives a different lifestyle compared to most other champions. To be the best in the world at your craft, you have to put in more work in improving yourself. That craft needs to have all of your attention. Ronda has an acting career that she is spending a lot of time and energy on and she has come out and said that she wants to start a family soon. With all of this going on in her life, it seemed like her MMA career was taking a backseat. When that happens, it's hard to go on another championship run. That, to go along with bad coaching and an improving division, should get the blame for Ronda's losses.
After her loss to Holly, I didn't think Ronda was going to come back to the sport to compete. The loss devastated her to the point where she even went on live TV and told audiences that she contemplated suicide. Hearing that made me feel sorry for Ronda and it made me think that maybe it would be better for her to stay away from the sport if a loss was going to hurt her like that. After her loss to Nunes where she was beaten up, I would think that the thought of retirement is certainly popping up in her mind and I wouldn't blame her for taking that route at all. She's still going to be in movies and commercials and she's still probably going to make some guest appearances on TV shows too (the WWE has already expressed interest). I also wouldn't mind seeing her give MMA one more try. Despite me not being a fan of hers, seeing all that she accomplished in such a short period of time was special. We may never see dominance like that ever again and she does deserve a lot of respect for that. I am still unsure if this is the end of Ronda Rousey's fighting career, but there is no doubt in my mind that the Rousey Era is over. What a ride it was.
Ryan "Mully" Mulligan