Ronda Rousey has largely chosen to stay out of the limelight following her knockout loss to Amanda Nunes in her long-awaited return at last December’s UFC 207.
She even went as far as to have her wedding to UFC heavyweight Travis Browne on August 26, the same day as Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor. While she has appeared at WWE events that will reportedly lead to her pro-wrestling debut, it’s a strategy she’s implemented ever since her first knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 almost two years back.
Few believe she will ever come back to fighting, and that’s kept the criticism of her oft-blasted head coach Edmond Tarverdyan to a minimum. That is, until today, when Tarverdyan appeared on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani to fire back at his critics before voicing his desire for Rousey to come back for one more fight. Not surprisingly, it was her oft-rumored but never capitalized-upon match with current UFC women’s featherweight champion Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino:
“That’s the one,” Tarverdyan said. “I want that fight. When I trained Ronda, I know Ronda could beat Cyborg. I know that. Cyborg is too slow.”
Tough words from Tarverdyan considering Cyborg is unbeaten since her first MMA fight in May 2005 and has cut a swath through every opponent she has faced since outside of one no contest. Rousey also doesn’t appear motivated to fight the best females in MMA anymore, but Tarverdyan insisted that ‘Rowdy’ would be motivated by Cyborg’s prior use of steroids:
“I don’t know. I don’t know. We’ll live and we’ll see. If injuries weren’t there and everything was where it was, we would take that fight and I’m telling you she’s too slow for us. And Ronda will beat her. Ronda needs a challenge that she really needs to be like this person is no good and I need to prove something to the whole world. That’s how Ronda works good.
“And she didn’t have that with Holly, she’s the one that pushed and wanted some aggressiveness before the weigh-ins. This one she has it. She said she cheated before, she’s hurt women and she wants to come and beat her.”
With that said, Tarverdyan also believes Rousey is now in a good place mentally thinks to her marriage to Browne, and that would also propel her to a victory over Cyborg:
“That’s why if she wants to make a comeback and get one fight, I think she will do the best she’s ever done and I think she’ll be victorious. Because I know Ronda’s personality, because she’s happy right now and she has a good challenge in front of her that she focuses on. I think whatever she wants to do right now, she can do. It’s in her mind.”
Many have billed Tarverdyan as a sort of snake oil salesman who took Rousy away from her world-class judo background so he could trick her into thinking she was an elite striker, something that proved painfully true when she faced true great strikes like Nunes and Holm.
Would Rousey really have any chance at Cyborg if her mind was right, or is Tarverdyan just getting his name back in the media in hopes of one last major payday?