It’s no doubt that Ronda Rousey has made some serious waves since acquiring the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight championship in March of last year. In fact, since she has parlayed that opportunity into the entire creation of a UFC Women’s division with her as the titleholder, one could argue that few fighters, if any, have had that kind of impact upon the sport before a year as champion was up.
But others may argue that Rousey hasn’t faced top competition, that her opponents never had a chance to deal with her ferocious throws and armbars. She certainly is a finisher, having won every single bout in the same way, and also in the first round.
It’s this mindset that has recently led to her coming out with some quite brash statements concerning a man who is derided every single day for playing it safe:
"I respect Georges St. Pierre as a businessman and an athlete. I don't have anything against him personally. But he's not the kind of fighter I like watching. He fights to win matches. He doesn't fight to defeat his opponents."
Stating this in a recent interview with Las Vegas Review Journal, Rousey likens the strategy of GSP to many a fighter she had encountered in her illustrious judo career:
"I lost a lot of judo matches because of points fighters. It was extremely frustrating for me. And when I see that same style being played out in a different sport, it brings out the same reaction in me."
So that reaction may be understandable, and it is definitely not a point of view on GSP that hasn’t been reiterated countless times before.
As the interview went on, the topic of conversation seemed to shift to Rousey’s undeniable appeal to MMA fans as an attractive woman. Rousey was asked about the effect that has had on her success, and that’s when a “new” point of view concerning GSP arose:
"I'm like, 'Dude, if GSP was butt ugly, you wouldn't want to know who he is so much."
"I think he lucked out a lot that he's Canadian. I love Canadians. They are the coolest, nicest, most patriotic people, and they will support their countrymen no matter what, and I think that's commendable."
"But if GSP wasn't really good-looking, and really Canadian, he would be really unknown."
Georges St. Pierre certainly undergoes a lot of scrutiny for his tactical safety and lack of exciting finishes in recent years. It is frustrating to watch at times for many fans. Fans pay their hard earned money to see the excitement of the UFC, not a one sided wrestling match.
But it can be argued that he is fighting the top Welterweights at all times, and guys like Carlos Condit are tough to finish. He would have had to rip Dan Hardy’s arm off to submit him, and Josh Koscheck was pretty much out on his feet with a broken orbital bone. So the discussion could go either way.
Rousey’s claims may be a bit outlandish. Does GSP’s Canadian heritage help his popularity? Yes, without a doubt. Is it the reason for his success however? I doubt that. As far as his good looks go, sure, that may help an athlete out in the long run, as he is in the public eye quite often. Again, is it the motivating factor for his success as a fighter? I seriously doubt that as well.
She is popular for sure, but the initial ticket sales for UFC 157, where she headlines against Liz Carmouche in her UFC debut, have been less than stellar. Perhaps she is trying to drum up some hype with these statements. Or maybe it’s just her point of view. One thing is for sure: St. Pierre, like Rousey, will remain champion until decisively beaten, and it’s hard to argue that good looks make any one fighter a true champion in MMA.
What are your thoughts on her comments?