Ronda Rousey has gone from all over the news feeds to enigmatic in the last year since her brutal loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 last November. By the time she steps back into the cage at UFC 207, it will be more than a year since that beatdown.
Worse, she’ll have to face the reigning champion, Amanda Nunes, who has been on a roll as of late dispatching pretty much every major contender the division has to offer.
There has been rampant speculation as to whether Ronda Rousey is ready for such a challenge. Cain Velasquez is one example of what can go wrong when a fighter takes a longer-than-usual layoff.
— Combate (@canalCombate) October 6, 2016
Velasquez is considered one of the best UFC heavyweights of all time, but the two times he has lost, it was in brutal fashion and as the result of a long layoff.
Considering the mental toughness of Ronda Rousey has been suspect following her loss, she finds herself for the first time in her career a true underdog heading into the Amanda Nunes fight.
Nunes recently said at a press junket — reported here by MMA Mania — that she had a lot of respect for Rousey and that she would be happy to give her a second rematch after she beats her at UFC 207.
“Today, the UFC has women’s MMA because Rousey managed to change (UFC President) Dana White’s mind and put it in the UFC. I think she has the right to fight for the belt — not only once, but twice. I’ll beat her and give her a rematch right after that if she wants,” Nunes said.
From what Ronda Rousey has shown since her loss to Holm, it is unlikely that scenario ever plays out, though she is a clear underdog to regain the title.
Should she end up pulling off the upset against Nunes, she would then be placed on a crash course with Cris Cyborg, and most MMA pundits give her little-to-no chance of winning that bout or even being competitive.
Ronda is currently in a situation where she has to think about legacy and marketability.
She busied herself before the loss with ancillary deals — a three-picture development deal with Lifetime Movie Network, a starring turn in the upcoming remake of Roadhouse.
She also faced heavy criticism from her peers — Cyborg especially — over admitting that one loss resulted in suicidal thoughts.
Many said she wasn’t mentally tough enough to compete in the octagon again, and even her return to face Amanda Nunes was predicated by comments from White, and never on her own terms.
It is far more likely at this point that the Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes main event will end up being Rousey’s last MMA fight.
A second loss in a row, especially in lopsided fashion, would further diminish the excitement behind a meeting with Cyborg, and it’s doubtful Rousey would want that fight if she can’t beat Nunes anyway.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) October 21, 2016
Nunes has lost four times in her career — her first professional fight against Ana Maria, TKO losses to Alexis Davis and Cat Zingano, and a unanimous decision to Sarah D’Alelio.
Cyborg, outside of a first-round submission loss in her inaugural fight, has looked unbeatable, rattling off 17 consecutive victories (18 if you count the vacated TKO of Hiroko Yamanaka; Cyborg was stripped of the victory after testing positive for stanozolol).
If Ronda Rousey can’t compete at the highest level of the UFC, she has stated, then there is little point in continuing. UFC 207 will answer whether she’s ready, and if she isn’t, expect her retirement shortly afterward.
But what do you think, readers?
Is Ronda Rousey done after UFC 207? Sound off in the comments section.
[Featured Image by UFC]