The unthinkable happened at UFC 193. The myth of Ronda Rousey's invincibility vanished as fast as a Holly Holm head kick in front of a record crowd in Melbourne, and with it went the UFC women's bantamweight title.
A week later, it's still pretty much all anyone wants to talk about. So we'll explore the different angles coming out of UFC 193 and talk a little bit about this weekend, while we're at it, in this week's edition of Fightweets.
Did Ronda-bashing go too far?
@RuckerYeah: Where do you stand on all the crap Ronda got for losing? It kind of seemed over the top.
Somewhere along the way, Holm's knockout of Rousey became some sort of 21st-century Rorschach test. In the head kick witnessed around the world, people saw whatever they wanted to see.
For every hardcore MMA fan who saw an underrated fighter execute a brilliant game plan against an opponent who seemed underprepared, no more and no less, there seemed to be 10 casual viewers who were simply thrilled to see someone who had not always acted humble get their comeuppance.
Or, as one fellow MMA reporter quipped to me, "It's like the public finally got to see a Kardashian get her ass kicked."
Rousey fully embraced the posture of a confident badass who challenged gender roles, who wouldn't fake being nice if she felt the situation didn't warrant it, and could back up her talk against anyone. That served her fantastically well on her way up. She transcended the sport, became a pop-culture icon, and worked her way all the way up to leading movie roles.
The problem, of course, is that while all the trappings of celebrity are great on their way up, the other side is a bumpy ride, from being stalked by TMZ to the circular firing squad among your trusted confidantes. The past few weeks of Rousey's life have been like watching an episode "Behind the Music" in real time.
On one hand, if you put yourself into a position to let Floyd Mayweather gain the moral high ground on you, you probably brought some of this on yourself. On the other, there's still an actual person behind the public persona, and she only lost one sporting event, one time.
And as everyone from Carlos Condit to Holm herself has pointed out, very, very few of the people gloating about Rousey's loss have ever had the guts to step into the cage and compete (and one of the few who mocked Rousey but has actually fought, Cyborg Justino, seems completely oblivious to the fact her one monster payday in life probably just vanished).
Ultimately, if the person who took all of Rousey's slings and arrows leading up to the fight with a smile never saw the need to rub salt in the wounds after defeating her, that should be good enough for the rest of us.
UFC 200 for the rematch?
@clangford4: With so many potential rematches on the cards, RR/holm, JJ/DC , Aldo/Conor (if he wins), who gets the UFC 200 main?
It pretty much has to be Holm-Rousey 2 (and boy is it weird typing Rousey's name second in a fight listing), doesn't it?
The UFC was going all-out to make the July 9, 2016 event in Las Vegas the biggest in company history before anyone outside of New Mexico even could have conceived of Holm finishing Rousey. UFC 200 is both a landmark event and the first event in Vegas' new, state-of-the-art arena.
But given the way Rousey vs. Holm 1 played out, the rematch on its own should knock UFC 100 off its perch as the biggest-selling event in UFC history. UFC 193 is expected to be the second-biggest PPV event in company history by the time the final numbers roll in. The only event in UFC history which even came close to UFC 193's unprecedented volume of postfight media attention was UFC 100, with all the controversy surrounding Brock Lesnar.
The big caveat is that we don't know where Rousey's head is at, and given how many decisions she has to sort through about her future, it could be awhile it all sorts out. But everything else being equal, UFC would be foolish not to book Holm-Rousey 2 as the UFC 200 main event.
It's too soon to conjecture on other bouts, simply because enough hasn't played out. Maybe McGregor and Aldo rematch, if McGregor wins next month. Or you could break that fight off and do it in Ireland. UFC seems to be targeting April 23 for Cormier vs. Jones, which would likewise seem to take them out of the running for 200.
Of course, this goes with the assumption there will only be only one major fight at UFC 200. UFC 100 featured not just Lesnar-Mir, but Georges St-Pierre vs. Thiago Alves was the only time over the course of GSP's last 11 fights he was bumped out of the main event. And Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping, coming off their Ultimate Fighter coaching gigs, was a huge deal. UFC loads up their biggest shows, like the upcoming UFC 194 with Aldo-McGregor and Chris Weidman vs. Luke Rockhold, more now than in the past, if no other reason than to safeguard against fight fallouts. So the final answer could very well be Holm-Rousey and another blockbuster fight, or even three in one night, instead of one or the other.
What went wrong?
@a_gon12: Could it be that Edmond made Ronda believe she was a better striker than Holly?
It could be that.
It could also be that Rousey bought into her hype all on her own, without Edmond Tarverdyan's help. It could be that Rousey, as has happened to a whole lot of people who make Hollywood their home and become successful in sports or entertainment, found herself surrounded at the heights of her powers by yes-men and people who tell her everything she wants to hear, for fear of being cast aside for being the only dissenting voice. What else would explain Rousey's mother, who knows her better than anyone, suddenly lashing out on social media?
It could be all of the above.
But fight strategy in and of itself is down to the coaching staff. Why did Rousey get so tired, so fast? Why did she seem so ill-equipped to fight a southpaw? Why did there not seem to be a real Plan B, beyond the panicked attempt at an armbar, when it became apparent Holm was picking her apart at will? How did yet another ground specialist manage to get overly enamored with their striking game?
From the outside looking in, it sure seems apparent Rousey needs to align herself with one of the elite-level camps if she's going to have a chance in a rematch with Holm. In the meantime, the longer Rousey goes without making a public statement which addresses what went wrong, the longer these questions will continue to fester.
Who takes JJ-Gadelha 2?
@kopxpert Who do u favor if Joanna Champ's next title defense is against Gadelha (I say "if" because u'll never know w/ufc)
It's kind of hard to believe we're not yet a year removed from Joanna Jędrzejczyk barely getting by Claudia Gadelha in a split decision at UFC on FOX in Phoenix, isn't it? There wasn't even an inaugural strawweight champion back then, and we've gone from three to a dominant champion in the span of 11 months.
If I had to pick now, I'd give the current champion the nod again, though I'd expect it to be competitive. Bottom line is Gadelha is injury prone, while Jędrzejczyk has stayed active and improved by leaps and bounds over the past year. It would be nowhere near a Rousey-esque upset if Joanna Champion lost, but you'd have to call her the favorite.
Oh yeah, this weekend's fights ...
@hunt5588: Why is no one talking about Lamas v Sanchez??? Gaaaaa!!!!
Probably because there was this fight last weekend you just might have heard about. Holly someone and Ronda something, can't quite remember their names off the top of my head. But yeah, I'm looking forward to Saturday night's card, and I'm intrigued by Diego Sanchez's featherweight debut. We haven't seen him in a year and a half. He wasn't looking all that great in his past few fights before that, with his bad quail eggs and whatnot. Will we see a reinvigorated Sanchez at 145? Will it be something more akin to B.J. Penn at 145? And can Lamas go on another run after losing to both Jose Aldo and Chad Mendes? It's almost enough to get you to turn the page from UFC 193.