News broke out early yesterday that long-time, dominant UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is returning at UFC 207 to face current champion, Amanda Nunes. When I first saw the tweet from Bleacher Report my heart sank. I will never be a fan of athletes who have a negative connection to a domestic abuse case. I'm also not a fan of athletes who are arrogant bullies. She isn't a nice person, and I will never root for her in any fight, ever.
Let's not get too far into me ranting about her as a person, though. I'll go into her skills as a fighter and what her return will mean for the UFC. Her return is great for the sport. She is probably second behind Conor McGregor in "star power" and she will sell out an event all by herself. The fact that she needs to answer some questions upon her return makes this a very interesting fight as well.
For those who haven't lived under a rock, you have probably seen the clip of Ronda losing her title to Holly Holm via kick to the jaw. If you haven't, here it is.
Ronda has a known weakness in her game and that is her skills standing up. Holly Holm is one of the greatest female boxers the sport has ever seen, plus she trains under Mike Winklejohn, one of the best striking coaches in MMA. Holly's skills gave Ronda fits as Ronda was seemingly flailing at the air all night while Holly picked her apart and then landed that monstrous head-kick.
To me, Nunes presents a very difficult challenge as well. No, she doesn't have the same boxing credentials as Holly Holm, but she fights out of a great camp in American Top Team, a team with tons of dangerous strikers like Robbie Lawler and Dustin Poirier to train with. She also has great credentials as a brown belt in judo, and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She is essentially strong everywhere the fight goes, and she just rag-dolled Miesha Tate, a woman who has given Ronda some trouble on the feet.
As you can see from the gif above, Amanda's striking is nothing to sneeze at. She's ruthless, engages then gets out of range from Miesha really quick. Based on Miesha's reputation as an extremely tough fighter, this footage shows just how hard Amanda hits. That type of movement could very well make Amanda a nightmare for Rousey as well.
But everybody knows about Ronda's judo. Having won bronze at the 2008 Olympic Games, her judo is world class. She has used this advantage to be one of the best female fighters that has ever lived, but Holly proved that constant movement and a good takedown defense will get the job done.
My final prediction: Amanda Nunes is better on the feet and her constant movement gives Ronda trouble. Since Amanda is a brown belt in judo, she will not be completely helpless when Ronda tries to grapple with her. If Amanda is taken down, I have a lot of confidence that she can get back up, or attack Ronda from her back with her black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I don't think Ronda should've came back, I think she is more focused on her movie career than her career as a fighter.
Nunes by third round TKO.