Four months have passed since former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was shockingly dethroned by Holly Holm at UFC 193, but the mixed martial arts (MMA) world still waits on pins and needles for the announcement of ‘Rowdy’s’ return.
Still the queen of MMA and most recognized athlete in the UFC, the popular fighter/movie star teased this week that she could now bite an apple online, one of her gauges to test her readiness to potentially return to the cage, and indeed, there are some signs that may point to her coming back relatively soon.
However, there are possibly even more signs that suggest she may not, and the serious nature of those could also point to her being a shell of her former self even if she does decide to come back.
Overall, it’s a polarizing debate that undoubtedly has the entire sport of MMA wondering just what will happen next. Let’s take a look at some of the factors why – or why not – Rousey will be her dominant self once again.
4.) Why She Might – Miesha Tate Has The Belt:
The most glaring and obvious reason Rousey could regain the UFC women’s bantamweight throne is that her old rival Miesha Tate just won the championship by submitting Holm in the co-main event of March 5’s UFC 196.
Obviously “Rowdy” has submitted “Cupcake” two times with her patented armbar, and although it is true that Tate has improved dramatically while endless question marks follow Rousey around, the odds deservedly dictate that the former champ will win their trilogy match if and when it is signed.
And Rousey made this somewhat clear that it’s at least a possibility when she texted Dana White that she was going to “get back to work” following Tate’s win. Whether that means back to filming her current feature or back to training to face Tate, we’ll have to find out.
3.) Why She Might Not – Movies Keep Getting In The Way:
While this oft-discussed topic keeps being brought up in every bit of speculation about Rousey, it’s like that because it truly is a relevant and even controlling topic.
She most likely wouldn’t have been ready to come back and fight Tate at UFC 200 in July after her knockout loss to Holm, but even if she was, the remake of “Roadhouse” was recently pushed back to make that an impossibility. There’s no doubting that Rousey has done what no other UFC fighter could in terms of overall appeal and success in mainstream films and media.
But she can’t keep juggling a nonstop Hollywood schedule and still expect to stay atop the bantamweight landscape as the most elite fighter in the world; we saw that in her devastating knockout loss to Holm. At some point, Rousey will have to decide whether she wants to be the best at fighting or at action movies, and right now, it appears she may prefer the latter.
2.) Why She Might – Her Competitive Drive:
While Rousey seems to be caught up more in her acting career than fighting right now, the competitive drive that propelled her to an Olympic medal in judo is still within her; whether or not she wants to forego the guaranteed millions to not get punched is the question.
Regardless, Rousey definitely wants to avenge that loss to Holm and knows she can take the belt back from Tate. Her online posting earlier this week is also a sign that she wants to return to the top of women’s MMA sometime soon. With the next title shot predictably being promised to her by White, it’s on Rousey to show her throngs of fans that competitive drive in order to be the best again.
The women’s bantamweight division has never seen more variety and excitement, but all of this was started by Rousey. If she’s ever going to climb back to the peak of the mountain, it will be her competitive drive from a life of elite athletic competition that will get her there.
1.) Why She Might Not – Confidence/Focus:
The final and perhaps most lasting and weighted argument why Rousey may not return to her old dominant self in the cage is the clear fact that her loss to Holm shook her to her core. It may have been overconfidence, or cockiness, or whatever you want to call it, but when Holm knocked her out with that vicious head kick, Rousey just didn’t know how to respond.
She had never gone through anything remotely close to that in her MMA career; she had always been on the other end of record-setting quick finishes that lead to her and her fans wondering about fighting men. The tables were turned quickly, however, and when they were, Rousey couldn’t handle it. She went into seclusion, making precious few appearances when it was previously impossible to turn on the TV and not see her before the loss to Holm.
When she did re-emerge, she gave a telling, emotional interview to Ellen where she described her desire to kill herself following the dominant defeat. Rousey then had a PR rep tell a reporter that she would walk out of their interview if he brought up fighting.
These are not the actions of a woman who wants to come back strong and prove that her only loss was a fluke by regaining the belt. Since the interview popped up, several current and former professional fighters including former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar have said that Rousey needs to “learn how to lose,” and that would appear to be true of she’s ever to be a semblance of her former self.
Tate has already started the buildup to their third fight by saying that Rousey is a “broken woman who might not ever be the same.” While that may be a harsh jab, it also probably holds some truth to it.
Rousey could definitely regain the belt that propelled her to superstardom. But she’s going to have to regain that laser-like focus on fighting if she wants to have any chance.