Before Ronda Rousey was ever the queen of women's MMA, she engaged in a smoldering debate with then-Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate on this very website. You probably remember it. The conversation basically revolved around Tate's claim that Rousey didn't deserve to get a title shot on the merits of her good looks, while Rousey argued that good looks or not, the fight needed to be made because it was the best thing for women's MMA.
Obviously we know who won. Rousey got the title shot, marketed the hell out of herself (including a trailer Showtime dubiously labeled the "Sexy Promo"), then nearly snapped Tate's arm in half -- twice -- becoming a star in the process. And now she's everywhere.
So given how this whole journey began, it's fitting that Rousey is the latest athlete to strip down and do a nude photo shoot for ESPN the Magazine's annual Body Issue. Jon Jones did it last year, though considering MMA's male-dominated target audience, Rousey's shoot is probably a little more desirable to most fight fans. So feel free to start your morning off by checking out the newly-released photo galley below, along with a behind-the-scenes video of "Rowdy" Ronda's photo shoot.
6 MUST-READ STORIES
Rousey in ESPN's Body Issue. Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey was among the 27 athletes to participate in this year's edition of ESPN the Magazine's Body Issue. (NSFW)
UFC on FUEL 4 weigh-ins. All fighters made weight at Tuesday's UFC on FUEL 4 weigh-ins, including middleweight headliners Mark Munoz and Chris Weidman, who both tipped the scales at 186 pounds.
Sonnen won't appeal loss. UFC middleweight Chael Sonnen confirmed he wouldn't be filing an appeal to the Nevada State Athletic Commission regarding his UFC 148 loss to Anderson Silva. Though he was non-committal on his future, Sonnen gave full credit to his rival, saying he "really admired" Silva.
Jones talks Silva superfight. Light heavyweight kingpin Jon Jones rebuffed the idea of a superfight against Anderson Silva, with one of his reasons being the potential loss of sponsorships for the loser of the bout.
White says Sonnen felt Silva break. Speaking to Jim Rome, UFC President Dana White revealed an interesting exchange he had with Chael Sonnen following Saturday's championship loss to Anderson Silva. Said Sonnen (via White), "I felt him break. I broke him in that first round. He came back in the second round and destroyed me. I've never seen anybody do that. Ever."
UFC 148 prelims ratings. Saturday night's UFC 148 prelims drew an average of 1.8 million viewers to FX over the two-hour broadcast, surpassing the previous FX record of 1.6 million viewers for UFC 145.
Look, I know you came in here to see Ronda Rousey. I don't want to disappoint, so here you go. (NSFW-ish. Just use your best judgement.)
My pro wrestling knowledge is pretty much locked at zero, but I do know that WWE Champion CM Punk is friends with Chael Sonnen, which may be why this clip from last night's episode of Monday Night Raw looks so familiar.
Best part of this UFC champions' roundtable: Frank Mir calling out "Bones" Jones for doing dirty things with the belt.
The day you've all been waiting for has final arrived. Yes, that's right -- Bellator's video game is officially out. I'd hate to be overly-negative, so I'll just let these guys tell you what they think.
BET YOU DIDN'T EXPECT TO SEE THAT
Urijah Faber (@UrijahFaber) July 10, 2012
ONE LAST PARTING INJURY
I think I broke my hand on his head.instagr.am/p/M2ktHJrcTz/— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) July 9, 2012
SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE
The Korean Zombie needs to chill out on the Aldo talk. Bitting off more than he can chew (pun intended) #ufc— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) July 10, 2012
Announced yesterday (Tuesday, July 10, 2012):
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day sees Scott Whitaker lay out the foundation for a legendary clash of champions: Why Anderson Silva can beat Jon Jones
I'm a believer.
Jon Jones will be the most decorated combat sports athlete in history before his career is up. The amount that he has already achieved against the former champions of a division with the most entrenched and inviolable upper echelons in MMA is enough to warrant a completely serious discussion of his place in history already. And at age 24, he can only add to that resume. However, he had better hope that nobody ever thinks he should try to put Anderson Silva's name on it.
The nascent LHW champion has carved a path of destruction to the top through the unbreakable men of PRIDE who had turned away every young prospect trying to crack the bulwark that had been the top 5 of the LHW division. He left unbreakable men broken.
People thought that Shogun would derail Jon Jones.
We all remember how that went.
Shogun's unbreakable chin lead him to recklessly charge forward through oncoming fists and kicks left him squarely at the end of Jon Jones 84.5 inch reach without mentioning his even longer reach. While Shogun's ability to eat shots and explode forward served him well against Liddell and Machida, who used retreating steps to avoid counters, Jones used fists and feet to make sure Shogun's forward explosion never reached ignition. Once Shogun was tired, the young lion took him down and wore him out with his brutal top game. Ultimately, an exhausted Shogun gave in and was saved the embarrassment of tapping to strikes only by the timely intervention of Herb Dean, who recognized that Shogun had quit before his hand ever touched the mat.
In the wake of his destruction of Shogun, people realized that it was going to take more than explosive striking and a tough beard (come at me bros.) to beat Jones. The person who would beat him was going to have to have great defensive wrestling and the ability to avoid shots as well. Rampage Jackson had all of that, and his ability to counter would mean he could put his fist on Jon Jones' chin, right?
This pattern continued, each fighter being the one who had what it took to beat Jon Jones. But with each passing fight, "having what it took" devolved into "Machida is at least an interesting matchup," and "Rashad is at least an interesting storyline." At this point, nobody gives Hendo anything more than a distant puncher's chance against him (for those who even give him that). Hendo is too small, too old, and too slow to be able to put his weapon of choice on Jones, and he's shown an inability to continue his effectiveness into the later rounds. While he might have the chin (ala Shogun and Rampage) to keep taking punishment indefinitely, eventually he'll succumb either to the punitive body blows of the champ (as Shogun) or the rangy submission game (as Rampage). Basically no one is picking Hendo to win at this point: the bold choice is that he limps his way to a decision.
But there's one old man who just might have what it takes to beat this seemingly invincible young lion, and that man is Anderson "The Spider" Silva. I'll explain why the critics who say Anderson isn't the man for the job are wrong after the jump.
Found something perfect for the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.