Can Ronda Rousey carry WMMA on her shoulders?Posted on August 16, 2012, 01:56 PM by Mike Drahota
Ronda Rousey will step into the Strikeforce cage this weekend to defend her Women's Bantamweight for the first time. Facing former champion Sarah Kaufman, Rousey will look to extend her incredible streak of brutalizing first-round submission victories. However, there will be much more at stake than just another win for her. If she does win with her signature move, her popularity as the new face of Women's MMA will skyrocket for certain. WMMA has been lacking in a certain star quality since Gina Carano left the sport to try her hand at acting, and Rousey has stepped into that role with a quickness, relishing the chance at stardom. Can she single-handedly carry the weight of WMMA's relevancy upon her shoulders? It is a tall task, but perhaps she can.
For one, Rousey has the outspoken personality that so many fans of MMA love. Some may argue that she talked her way into her title shot against Miesha Tate last March. Rousey stated that fans would want to see that fight because both combatants are highly attractive women. She backed up her high amount of talk with her grappling skills in another impressive first-round armbar victory. This obviously catapulted Rousey into the limelight immediately, where she took advantage of the situation and parlayed the belt into mass media exposure. She has been and is available in many interviews, web videos, and press conferences, always willing to answer questions and hype her latest matchup. This is definitely something that WMMA needs a huge dose of after Carano exited the scene. Both Kaufman and Cristiane Santos are excellent fighters, but they have never found a spot in fans' hearts with their public appearances.
Many others argue that Rousey is just popular because she is pretty. Perhaps this has much to do with her popularity, but her skills in martial arts cannot be denied just to focus on this. Fighters in WMMA will always be judged for their beauty as well as their fighting, that is just a byproduct of the sport. While it may not be fair, it is the cold truth of the situation. Rousey is beautiful, but she is also an Olympic medal-winning Judo player, and even a fighter as accomplished as Nick Diaz has stated that he has never trained with anyone so skilled in the art. Will WMMA ever be featured in the UFC? That is highly debatable, but without Rousey, the chances are slim. Dana White has proclaimed himself a Ronda Rousey fan, believing she has a certain star quality that you cannot teach. This is why she has a great chance to carry WMMA as it's public face. White previously denied any possibility of women fighting in the UFC, now he can be seen taking photographs with Rousey. Rousey has a chance at catapulting WMMA into a higher level of popularity on Saturday, something that she has publicly wanted to do. Can Rousey carry the female side of the sport on her shoulders? While this is no small task, I think she can. What do you think?