We’ve got bad news for anyone excited about seeing former Women’s Bantamweight Champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey back in the cage in December: she’s probably not going to be there for long.
No, it’s not because . . . or at least not only because . . . she’s planning on snapping her opponent’s arm before the fight clock can hit the 60-second mark.
It’s because she is planning on retiring soon.
When asked by Ellen DeGeneres on Ellen how long she’d be in mixed martial arts, Rousey replied:
Not that long. I’m wrapping it up. This is definitely one of my last fights. Everyone better watch because the show isn’t going to be around forever.
This news is no doubt a blow to the UFC, who is suffering from a lack of star power right now. According to President Dana White, Ronda is the biggest star the company has ever had, even bigger than current main attraction, Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor.
White has good reason to believe in the “Rowdy” one’s star power. Rousey is notable not only for being the UFC’s first female champion and one half of its first female fight, but also for the way she seemed to effortlessly dismantle the women’s division she reigned over. Nine of her twelve wins have been achieved in the first minute of the first round, most of them due to her lethal armbar.
Ronda was also a constant source of controversy. Many fans disliked her confidence, and she had no problem playing the heel in some of her MMA matches.
But for others, she was something of a feminist icon. While – perhaps to the chagrin of feminism’s more prudish members – she had no problem posing nude for the cameras, she also forced MMA’s mostly male fan base to take women’s mixed martial arts seriously. All of a sudden, WMMA wasn’t just a weaker version of men’s mixed martial arts. Fans all over the world scrambled to their computers and television sets to see Rousey fight. Some of them wanted to see her win; others were hoping she’d finally get her comeuppance. But no matter the outcome, they were watching, and the gap between men and women’s MMA began to shrink.
And then, of course, there has been the talk of a potential super fight against longtime, bitter rival, Cris “Cyborg” Justino. Fans have speculated, argued, and filled up countless threads in MMA-related posts over which one of these women would have her hand raised if they ever met in the cage. But before Rousey, such speculation was only reserved for male fighters, particularly GSP and Anderson Silva.
That’s not to say women’s MMA is anywhere close to men’s. The XY chromosomes still bring in the bulk of the cash in the world’s most dangerous sport.
But women have advanced in the sport – a lot! And a lot of that advancement (though certainly not all) comes from Ronda Rousey.
And for that reason, it’s going to be a sad day when Rowdy hangs up her gloves for the last time.