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Rafael Cordeiro on Ronda Rousey: ‘She has to change her game a little bit’

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos believes Kings MMA could be a great place for UFC star Ronda Rousey restart her career following her first loss as a professional MMA fighter to Holly Holm, and head coach Rafael Cordeiro is open to training "Rowdy" in the future.

"For sure, if Ronda one day wants to come and spend time with us over here, no problem," Cordeiro told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "If the fighter comes here with a good mind, an open mind to learn, no problem.

"It’s hard for me to say something about Ronda because she has her own coach and I respect him as a coach. It’s hard for me to say ‘come here Ronda’. Not just for her, but for all kind of fighters that want to spend time with us at Kings MMA, are more than welcome, no problem at all. Everybody that come here with open mind, for sure we’re gonna help.

"I respect her camp, but if she one day wants to spend some time inside the Kings MMA, she’s more than welcome. With all respect, more than welcome."

The longtime MMA coach, who trained Rousey’s rival Cris Cyborg for years at Chute Boxe, says that relationship wouldn’t be an issue.

"Cris trained with me a long time ago, as soon as I moved to the United States eight years ago, she came with me and worked with me for maybe six months, and then she went back to Brazil. But I don’t train her anymore," he said.

"Nothing changed what I believe (Cyborg) can do inside martial arts. I believe she can be the greatest of all times. This is what I believe. But the way I train, the way I see things, maybe is not the same way she does. I see her with the same respect, but I don’t have more connections with her."

A master of turning grapplers in great strikers, like UFC champions Fabricio Werdum and Rafael dos Anjos, Cordeiro sees some issues on Rousey’s striking game.

"When you have a belt, when you have a championship in your hands, you can’t run straight to your opponent as a crazy. You can’t do this anymore," he said. "So I think the way she ran against Holly was a little bit... She anticipated what she wanted to do. Sometimes you have to hide what you want to do inside the fight. I think she has to a little bit more calm, a little bit more confident, she has to change her game a little bit. It’s my opinion as a MMA fan."

According to Cordeiro, Rousey’s game became a bit predictable, and she has to add more weapons and attack in different ways.

"I expect Ronda to throw a punch and grab.  I think me and all over the world expect the same thing. Punch and find for short distance, and grab," Cordeiro said. "I think she has to chance a little bit more because (everyone) started to understand her game. She can mix a little bit more between punch, kicks, knees, takedown, distance. Things like that is gonna make the difference. She can’t start the fight running against the opponent like that because people start to understand her game and start play against her."

Holm stopped Rousey to become the new UFC bantamweight champion at UFC 193, and Cordeiro was impressed with her performance. However, the Kings MMA head coach believes Holm was able to do that because of Rousey’s strategy.

"Holly did a great job, she stopped Ronda with punches in the beginning, controlled the distance. As soon as she found her distance, she put Ronda in problems," he said. "I think (Rousey) has to change her mind about go straight all the time. The sport today you can’t do this anymore, start the fight and go straight, go straight. Unfortunately, today, you can’t do this anymore."

Despite the huge upset in Melbourne, Cordeiro defends Rousey.

"People have to respect her," he said. "No, just because she lost this fight she’s trash now? No. She did a great job inside the UFC, inside the sport. I can tell my daughter is a big fan. If today my daughter wants to fight, it's because of Ronda, so she did great things not only for women, but for the kids too. A lot of kids today watch the show because of Ronda. She did a great job inside the fight."

As a former coach of the Invicta FC featherweight champion, Cordeiro still believes Cyborg would beat Rousey if they ever fought, but that doesn’t mean the UFC star can’t change his mind in the future.

"Depends. Everything depends," Cordeiro said. "I think today, if you ask me, I can say Cris. If you put both fighters today, I think Cris has better kickboxing than Ronda, and I believe Cris can beat her, for sure."

"Nothing changes what I think about Cris as a fighter," he continued. "She’s still one of the best, if not the best fighter of the world, and this is what I believe. It can be an interesting fight in the future, let’s see, but today Cris is the best fighter in the world."

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