It’s been the topic of much discussion and fans seem to either love it or hate it, want to see more of it or are begging to see something new.
Of course, that thing is UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey’s infamous armbar.
In seven professional fights and three amateur bouts, “Rowdy” has managed to finish all of her opponents by the single, signature move; her armbar. In a word, she’s notorious for it. She is so good at it that not only has she finished all ten of fights with it, but she’s also managed to lay it on each opponent within the first round of every match; not a single fighter making it to a second.
By any standard or definition, that’s impressive. In fact, it’s so impressive that her reputation for destroying her adversaries via the armbar precedes her into the ring and to the point that it must play havoc with her opponents fight strategies. Each has to be leery of engaging the Olympic Judoka in the clinch, and all must be prepared for her takedown and dynamic submission game. As such, a wise game plan for any fighter that faces Rousey, Miesha Tate being the next on the 28th of this month, would probably be lots of footwork and angles, find a rand and keep a distance, and at all costs don’t play into wheelhouse, which is the clinch and toss game.
However, and regardless of how great Rousey is at taking fighters down and submitting them with an armbar, many fans have become bored with the move and would like to see something other than an armbar victory from the champ. In a nutshell, many would like to see Rousey stand with an opponent and exhibit her boxing skills.
In the few instances that fans have had an opportunity to see the champ work her stand-up, which has primarily been in clips of her sparring or working a timing ball, she’s looked great. The champ appears to have great hands, coordination, timing, speed, head and foot movement, literally everything to fight and win on the feet. Yet, she forever and always goes for the takedown and submission.
Sadly, any criticism of her success might be considered as nitpicking. After all, Rousey is a finisher. She goes out and does what she does without a game plan (she doesn’t like them) and looking to finish the fight in the most efficient manner possible, which she certainly does. Again, it would be impossible to find fault with her machine like ability for delivering the same fight and win, every time. Further, there’s the old adage of “you don’t mess with success” and “if it’s not broken don’t fix it.” True enough statements to be sure.
That said, there now appears to be a growing portion of the fan demographic that will considered another armbar victory, particularly over a fighter that she’s already defeated by armbar, as a less than shocking or impressive win; something the champ has said she “intends” on doing, Saturday night.
To that end, the best way for Rousey to shock and impress the UFC 168 audience would be to stand and trade with Miesha Tate and cull a win by T/KO. And on this point, it’s not that fans don’t respect her or believe that she’s a tremendous fighter and champion, they’d just like to see a different side to her fight game; that’s all. Fans know that she’s phenomenally talented, and on this there is no doubt or debate. However fans would like to know just how talented she is and in order to demonstrate that, she needs to display her stand-up and Tate is a great opponent to do that against. Certainly a lot better than Holly Holm or Cyborg Santos would be.
All of it aside, the champ is going to do what the champ wants to do and fans will just have to live with whatever victory she gets, should she prove to be the victor. That said, it would be great if fans had a chance to see her boxing skills in action and perhaps over a few rounds, and not just a few moments of round one.
However and regardless of how the match concludes, it’s sure to be a good fight.
Here's a "Fight School" video on how the champ executes her signature move; clip courtesy of the UFC.