The Ultimate Fighting Championship brand has been one of the most exciting sports attractions of 2016. From the return of Brock Lesnar, the debut of CM Punk, and Connor McGregor making history by having two titles simultaneously from different divisions, mixed martial arts continues to grow in popularity.
One of the biggest assets of UFC is that it is so popular, many fighters who compete for the company are now recognized as household names.
One of those competitors is Ronda Rousey.
When Rousey debuted for UFC after spending time with Strikeforce, she re-assumed her position of dominance. In her professional career, Rousey never tasted defeat, winning the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship in just her third fight for the company, as well as the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship shortly after her debut.
After being an unstoppable force in UFC, one of the biggest shockers occurred at UFC 193, when Rousey lost to Holly Holm in the second round.
During an interview (h/t the Guardian), Rousey admitted that after the fight, she felt so defeated and depressed that she was contemplating suicide.
“Honestly, my thought I was like, in the medical room and I was down in the corner. I was sitting in the corner [thinking] like, ‘What am I anymore if I’m not this?’ And I was literally sitting there and thinking about killing myself and that exact second, I’m [thinking], ‘I’m nothing… what do I do anymore and no one gives a s**t about me anymore without this.'”
Thankfully, Rousey was able to bounce back and start training for a UFC return.
While Rousey was away, there was another competitor showing her dominance in the Octagon by the name of Amanda Nunes. Since making her UFC debut in 2013, Nunes has only suffered one loss, which was against Cat Zingano at UFC 178 in September of 2014. Since then, she has been on a four-match winning streak, also defeating Miesha Tate (who beat Holly Holm) to win the Bantamweight Championship on July 9 at UFC 200 in Las Vegas, Nevada.https://www.instagram.com/p/BH2T8XBB8VD/?taken-by=amanda_leoa&hl=en
Although Rousey has been absent from UFC for over a year, president Dana White made the controversial decision to put her right back at the top of the line and compete against Nunes on December 30. The Sun notes that Rousey is certainly at a crossroads in her career.
“Will she be remembered as the fighter who slayed all before her before the sport’s evolution eventually caught up with her, or will she go down as an all-time great who came storming back from adversity to become a two-time world champion?”
However, Rousey is willing to prove the naysayers wrong and return to dominance. During a recent interview she had on Conan, she criticized Nunes’ ability to show endurance during a fight, per MMAFighting, spawning from Nunes boldly predicting that she will knock her out in the first round.
“Yeah, well she kind of has to say that, because everyone knows she gasses out in the second. So she has to tell herself that, ‘It’s gonna happen first round.’ What else is she gonna tell herself?”
Any fight involving Ronda Rousey is a box-office smash. What makes it even more compelling is that Rousey has the uncomfortable position of being somewhat of an underdog going into UFC 207, being gone for over a year.
Whatever the outcome is, the hype leading to the fight has gained interest from the fans and should be one for the record books. With both competitors feeling as if they have something to prove, the passion that has been presented before the fight will certainly translate during the bout, fulfilling the expectations attached with the match-up on December 30.
[Featured Image by Isaac Brekken/AP Images File]