It took all of 48 seconds for Amanda Nunes to successfully defend her UFC Bantamweight title at UFC 207 and convincingly defeat the once-dominating Ronda Rousey. But is she retiring, and possibly focusing on what could be an expanded acting career or a stint in professional wrestling, now that she’s been knocked out in two straight events after breezing through most of her 12-fight winning streak?
At the time she fought her first UFC fight in February 2013, Ronda Rousey was 6-0, having defeated all but one of those opponents in less than a minute. And as she won her first six UFC fights, Ronda was just as dominant, taking just 64 seconds combined to defeat Alexis Davis, Cat Zingano, and Bethe Correia in the last three of those wins. Rousey had also become a household name outside of the Octagon, as she starred in high-profile roles in The Expendables 3 and Furious 7, appeared in various television commercials, and taken part in a segment at WrestleMania 31.
When she lost her Women’s Bantamweight Championship to Holly Holm at UFC 193 in November 2015, that’s when fight fans first heard hearing talk of Ronda Rousey retiring, much like a lot of other UFC fighters do, or contemplate doing, after suffering a crushing loss. But she instead focused on an eventual return to action and took more than a year off from the Octagon, ahead of Friday night’s UFC 207 main event against reigning Bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes.
Win or lose, talk of Ronda Rousey’s retirement was never too far away. And she herself had hinted at that. In November, a report from Maxim quoted Rousey’s interview with Ellen DeGeneres, where the 29-year-old mixed martial artist said that her fight against Nunes would “definitely (be) one of my last fights.” There has also been talk of Ronda potentially focusing more on her acting career, as well as joining the WWE, even as a part-time performer. WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon told USA TODAY earlier this month that WWE would welcome Rousey “with open arms” due to her “cross-platform appeal” as an entertainer.
But is it really time for Ronda Rousey to retire and give Hollywood and/or pro wrestling a chance? She isn’t saying yet, as she didn’t show up for the post-fight press conference, according to FOX Sports. But Amanda Nunes, who beat Rousey in just 48 seconds at UFC 207, believes it’s high time that “Rowdy” hangs it up and focuses on other endeavors.
“I talked to her like you did a lot for this sport, thank you so much, but now you can take time, rest and then maybe do something else. You don’t need to keep doing that. For what? She’s a millionaire already, why does she want to keep doing that? Keep hurting herself?”
An op-ed from USA TODAY’s Josh Peter shared similar sentiments, suggesting that Ronda Rousey should retire, now that she’s lost two straight fights by knockout. He offered three options – for Ronda to relax and “contemplate her next move,” consider transitioning to roles in TV shows and movies, and for her to mentor younger mixed martial arts fighters for potential careers in the sport. But in the end, Peter succinctly suggested that there’s one thing Rousey shouldn’t be doing anymore in the light of her UFC 207 loss to Nunes.
“Here’s what she’s not equipped to do: Fight again. Ever.”
According to the Daily Telegraph, UFC President Dana White was ambivalent on the issue, saying that he expects Rousey to fight again should she be able to beat Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. As for what she may do should she lose the fight, White simply said at the time that he “doesn’t know.” But he did accurately predict that Nunes would use her punching power to pick up the win as well as take advantage of Rousey’s “ring rust,” considering “Rowdy” hadn’t fought in the Octagon in 13 months.
At this point, no one knows for sure if Ronda Rousey is retiring from mixed martial arts. But given her recent quotes and those of others, it won’t be surprising if she does choose to ride off into the sunset in the aftermath of her UFC 207 loss.
[Featured Image by Christian Petersen/Getty Images]