Ronda Rousey Airport Video Shows Former Champ Hiding Face As Fans Await Holly Holm Rematch

Things are looking tough for Ronda Rousey. Airport video taken after she got off the plane paints a potentially devastating picture. Ronda Rousey’s airport shenanigans, walking with a pillow fully covering her face while exiting the Los Angeles International Airport, wasn’t just because of sudden shyness. It was a result of the surprising defeat she was handed after Saturday’s match in Melbourne. TMZ released the video which shows Ronda looking full of shame while walking with her UFC boyfriend and their bodyguards.

No one expected Rousey to fall in this fight, but Holly Holm proved that even the most favored, seemingly invincible fighters can eventually get dropped hard. Rousey stayed in Australia after the fight to receive plastic surgery, after punishing strikes to the face from Holm. Holm’s boxing skills could not be answered, as Ronda is more comfortable setting up her opponents for the takedown grapple, exemplifying her judo background. But Holm was able to wrap her strikes around Rousey’s head, and penetrate her guard with snake-like, venomous hands. Since the fight, the UFC issued a suspension which will force Rousey to rest up for 180 days. The suspension is for medical reasons, and related to that kick to the head that dropped Rousey towards the end of the fight. In any case, the area around Ronda Rousey’s mouth was extremely bloody and swollen. Other title holders in the UFC don’t think Rousey will return. The airport video may have been a sign that Ronda is keeping her priorities together. She’s been getting more and more acting roles. She needs to keep looking her best if she’s going to continue. Brutal fights won’t help. Otherwise, she loses in the octagon and loses her acting and endorsement opportunities, too. UFC men’s featherweight champion Jose Aldo put it best in an interview with MMA Fighting.

“I think it’s really hard for her to return to fighting. Her career has taken a different direction. If I’m making a lot of money doing movies or something else, I’d go that direction too. Am I going to mess my face up getting punched in the face? You’re crazy. In my opinion, I don’t think she fights again. If she comes back, of course she can win the title. She was always a fighter, but if I were her, I wouldn’t come back.”

Knowing Ronda, she’s likely to return. A Holly Holm rematch this time around would take on new meaning. Before, it was seen as highly unlikely Holly would win. Rousey and her team, if she even keeps the same people going forward, need to update her standing game. All her weaknesses were exposed, and in any further competition opponents are likely to keep her standing up and having to defend targeted head and body shots.

And any future Holly Holm opponents will know they need a strategy to thwart an expert boxer. Saturday’s UFC 193 has lifted women’s MMA to another level and added new dimensions. The ladies will likely continue to refine their strategies and training.

Aldo further told MMA Fighting what he thinks of women fighters.

“Ronda is a great champion, I respect her, but I think men’s MMA is at a higher level. Male athletes aren’t separated by one martial art only, like ‘I’m a judoka and I only catch arms’. There’s no such thing as this one who survives. Athletes have to be good standing and on the ground today. You have to be good wherever the fight goes and that’s how I try to be.”

Jose Aldo still thinks men’s MMA is greater, and that the men already have a complete fighting game. But he does give Ronda Rousey recognition for making things much more competitive for women’s fighting. She was indeed the first female fighting superstar. But unless a Holly Holm rematch proves otherwise, she’ll now hand down her crown. Ronda Rousey’s airport coyness was just a sign that she needs time to heal.

[Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images]