Ronda Rousey has made herself relatively scarce since getting knocked unconscious by then-challenger Holly Holm and losing her title at UFC 193.
Unfortunately for the “Rowdy” one, that isn’t all she lost on that night.
The fight — its outcome and the way it arrived there — did little to convince fans that she would be capable of bouncing back.
After having to be rushed to the hospital and missing the post-fight presser, then staying invisible for weeks afterward, Ronda Rousey was no longer the face of women’s MMA and the poster child for the UFC.
Holm dominated Rousey so completely, before dishing out a brutal Round 2 head kick and finishing her off, that the media instantly took notice of this newcomer, who had already fought dozens of fights in a boxing ring before forging her own unbeaten MMA record.
Holm stepped into the spotlight without missing a beat and immediately became a morning show favorite for her down-to-earth demeanor, her humility — speaking openly about the time she suffered a knockout of her own to Anne Sophie Mathis in the video below via Fox 11 Los Angeles, and sharing funny stories like meeting Beyoncé and immediately sticking her foot in her mouth.
Holm wasn’t even the No. 1 contender when she destroyed Ronda Rousey, but she easily rose to the top and then showed that she didn’t need the same brazenness and gusto to be a compelling media figure.
It was already getting easier to forget about Ronda. Not helping her case was the piling on by one-time war-of-words rival Cris Cyborg, whom many consider the best women’s MMA fighter now that the legend of Ronda Rousey is no more.
Cyborg said that she was no longer interested in pursuing a fight with Ronda Rousey, instead stating that if Rousey wanted a piece of her, she would have to do the pursuit.
This signified a serious changing of the power dynamic. Previously, Rousey had held up the fight by stating she was the UFC Bantamweight Champion, and if the 145-pound fighter wanted the fight to happen, she would have to come down in weight.
Without the belt to hide behind, Rousey ran out of excuses for ducking Cyborg, and now the only big money fight she can get outside an ill-advised rematch with Holly Holm is off the table unless she capitulates and fights at 145.
Rousey has done so in the past, but given how things turned out at 135, it wouldn’t be good for her career.
Cris Cyborg and Holly Holm are now the undisputed Nos. 1 and 2 in women’s MMA. Which one gets which number?
Doesn’t matter, because unlike Ronda Rousey, Holm has already made it known she would be more than happy to fight Cyborg under any terms, no weight loss required. She’s even not against going up to 145.
With the way that Cyborg and Holm have carried themselves as well as the way Rousey went down, it’s now safe to say that she’s a distant No. 3, and with the crop of talent coming up the UFC and Invicta ranks, it’s a pretty shaky ranking.
The only way to restore her reputation, her career, and, yes, even her future as a major actress, is to come back from her two-movie deal she’s working on, defeat Holm, then set her sights on Cris Cyborg at a catchweight. Only then will “Rowdy” be deserving of the praise that just two short months ago was so easily handed to her.
It won’t be an easy task, but Holm is proof that it can be done. She bounced back from the Mathis defeat with a victory over her in the very next fight. Only time will tell if Rousey can do the same.
Do you think Ronda Rousey can recover from the UFC 193 loss? Sound off in the comments section.
[Image via Ronda Rousey Facebook]