With the entire MMA world anxiously awaiting her return, Ronda Rousey has been in a sort of self-imposed exile ever since her shocking knockout loss to Holly Holm in the main event of last November’s UFC 193.
It’s unknown when – or even if – “Rowdy” will return to challenge for the throne she once ruled so effortlessly, and in her stead, the UFC women’s bantamweight division has become one ripe with parity, as three women have held the belt since she did.
Holm lost to Rousey’s longtime rival Miesha Tate in the co-main event of March’s UFC 196, and Tate lost the belt in a one-sided submission loss to Amanda Nunes in the main event of July 9’s UFC 200. The belt has been tossed around like a game of hot potato, and many fans are begging for “Rowdy” to return and hopefully bring some order to the chaos.
One top contender isn’t hoping for Rousey’s return, however, and for good reason. With a potential title shot against Nunes hanging in the balance, No. 5-ranked Julianna Pena is hoping to leapfrog any potential Rousey return to get her own awaited title bout after beating No. 6 Cat Zingano in a somewhat middling win in the featured preliminary card bout of UFC 200.
According to “The Venezuelan Vixen,” no one cares about Rousey’s return anymore because she’s a ‘broken’ fighter (via TMZ):
“No one cares about [her] and her fat arms anymore. She’s like the emperor in no clothes. She’s broken a little bit.”
It’s tough to argue with Pena’s words here, at least in a pure fighting sense, because while she used some derogatory terms that have nothing to do with Rousey’s return, it’s also fair to wonder if the former champ will return to the Octagon with the fire she once had as arguably the most dominant champ in the sport during her legendary run from 2013-2015.
Rousey finished six straight fights as UFC champion, with only her UFC 168 submission over Tate lasting outside the first round. Pena has two UFC finishes on her record, but her two most recent wins, which also rank as her two most high-profile wins, were decision victories where she largely laid on her opponent to earn the nod.
With trash talk seemingly the only way a fighter can make a big name for themselves in today’s UFC, it’s understandable why this “Vixen” wants to bash the beaten Rousey. But contrary to her beliefs, many do care about seeing Rousey return.
And Pena has quite a long way to go to be considered in the same light as the world famous onetime queen, even if Rousey never sets foot inside a MMA cage again.