After a blistering 16 second knockout finish over Alexis Davis at UFC 175 on Saturday, for UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, the world is her oyster. The sky is the limit. Whatever proverb or saying you'd like to pick, Rousey's future is as bright as one could possibly imagine for a professional prize fighter in 2014.
Still, with seemingly no obvious fighter currently on the UFC's roster who stands out as a rival and an increasing interest from Hollywood in Rousey's services - not to mention the wear and tear that come with years of competitive judo - just how much longer will she be interested in doing this.
"She's looking great right now. Her mind is good. She trains very hard. I said if you come in the gym and don't give it your best, then you're not happy training they way you do. I'll notice that and we'll call it a night," Edmond Tarverydyan, Rousey's MMA coach told Ariel Helwani on Monday's The MMA Hour.
"Right now, our job is to make sure she's healthy. In the Olympic judo system and the four-year terms, it's different. Every time you have different kinds of competitions and you have to win the rankings and you're on on on, so the body dies out. That's why a lot of fighters out there that have so many amateur fights in boxing, let's say, 300 fights. When they get in a professional fight, some of those guys are a bit tired. They're like, 'Oh God'. Another 10 years, 15 years of this, that's too much because they've had such spectacular amateur careers.
"With Ronda right now, it's to pace her the right way to get, to get the fights at the right timing. She's looking great. She's looking unstoppable. There's good fights out there for her. She'll still be performing. She trains motivated and she wants to look better every time. She told everybody after at the press conference she knows she can be better than that."
According to Tarverdyan, while Rousey's knee is scheduled for surgery in August and she'll likely have some responsibilities that go with movie debuts, there's no indication in training that anything is lagging. Nothing's perfect either, Tarverydyan notes, and training does take it's toll. But despite the lack of anyone currently on the UFC roster that stands out as a real threat, that doesn't affect Rousey's motivation to compete and learn.
"Every fight I'm so hard on her. We get back to the gym and I start telling her what the mistakes were. She looks at me, puts her head down and listens to me. She's an amazing athlete. To me, an amazing student.
"This fight I'd say she performed great. So, I told her, 'Ronda, be proud of yourself. There's nothing I'm going to tell you you don't know. That was an amazing knockout.' It was good. We'll make sure she's healthy, she's good, and we'll figure it out."
The elephant in the room, however, isn't who is on the UFC's roster, but rather, who isn't. Most importantly, what about Cyborg Justino? While UFC President Dana White remains hesitant if open to signing the Brazilian, there's nothing imminent. For fans, however, all indications appear that's the biggest fight for Rousey and her career. Interestingly, Tarverdyan largely agrees with the fans.
"Absolutely, I like that fight," the Armenian coach said of a potential Rousey-Cyborg bout. "I love that fight. Ronda knows, I spoke to Ronda. I said, 'You knock out Cyborg any given day.' Ronda knocks out Cyborg. I believe even with one hand she fights Cyborg, she beats her.
"But that's an exciting fight. That's what I believe, but that's a great fight, yes. Cyborg is a swinger, she's tough. She'll let her hands go and then she'll get into a fight with Ronda and that's an exciting fight. But what I believe with my fighter is my fighter is the best in the world. I would love to see that fight."
The remaining issue, then, is whether they can make the fight for Rousey, on what terms and when. Justino is currently signed to Invicta FC, although that isn't necessarily a stumbling block. However, the Brazilian has never made bantamweight. Under the auspices of the UFC and forceful regulation, he says Ronda and the team are more than happy to take the fight.
"If they can make it happen. Let her come off that which she's doing and make it fair and square, come down, they know where Ronda is," he said. "I would love that fight. I think the fans want to see that fight. I think MMA fans in the world really want to see an insane striker go up against, I would say a polished, precise common striker. So let's do it. I would love that fight."
And assuming the UFC could fast track the process, would Tarverdyan be in favor of that being next for Rousey? If the UFC is in favor, then yes, they're in favor, too.
"Ronda is in the best shape of her life. Ronda's in her prime," he explained. "It doesn't matter. We could take that fight next fight. We just gotta talk to the UFC and Dana and see what's on the table and we'll figure it out.
"Right now I can't tell if it should be the next fight or the fight after that, but," Tarverydyan said with conviction, "she's ready to go."