It is hard to overstate how important confidence is when it comes to the fight game. And up until Nov. 15, few fighters embodied that confidence quite like former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
However Rousey's aura of invincibility was shattered at UFC 193, when unbeaten challenger Holly Holm masterfully outclassed the UFC queen for six minutes before sealing the deal with a brutal head kick knockout.
The finish is one that is destined to be replayed into infinity, and the fallout in the days after the historic event has not been kind to Rousey, with reactions ranging from retroactive correction of Rousey's dominance to outright glee over her loss taking over both social media and daytime sports talk. And after watching everything play out the way it has, ONE welterweight champion Ben Askren can't help but wonder whether Rousey will ever be able to recover.
"I think she bought into her own hype so much, that this was just so devastating," Askren said Monday on The MMA Hour. "It's going to be hard to come back from."
Part of Askren's assessment is based off a video from TMZ that made the media rounds following Rousey's loss. In it, Rousey hides her damaged face as she is besieged by paparazzi upon landing at Los Angeles International Airport.
After first seeing the video, Askren tweeted that his takeaway from the clip was that Rousey's once-infamous confidence had been "stolen," and he doubled down on that belief Monday.
"One of my favorite topics to read about my whole life has just been famous athletes, and a lot of those have been combat athletes," Askren said. "Sometimes when you buy into your own hype that much and the bubble gets bursted, it's hard to come back from.
"That clip on TMZ, I want to say that was [three] days after the fight, and by that point a well-rounded, mature adult would've said: ‘listen, I got my ass kicked. It happened, but I'm going to be back. This isn't the end for me. Listen, people lose. That happens. It's acceptable. But I'm coming back and I'm going to get my title.' But she was so distraught over what had happened, it's going to take her a long time. I think it's going to take her a long time, if ever. I mean, maybe she's going to say, ‘hey, I made enough money in the movies, this fighting thing is hard, right? It's tough. I'm going to go do that (movies), it's easier.'"
Rousey was transported to the hospital in the aftermath of UFC 193 and missed the event's post-fight press conference. She has yet to comment publicly on the Holm loss other than a short statement posted to Instagram, which vowed the former champion would take a little bit of time off, but ultimately would return.
Many within the sport believe the logical date for that return would be a rematch against Holm on July 9, 2016 at UFC 200. The fight would obviously be big business for all involved, however like UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, Askren isn't sure if throwing Rousey into an immediate rematch against the same fighter who so thoroughly defeated her is a good idea.
"I think I depends on the athlete, but with Ronda, the way she reacted, 100-percent, I would say you've got to put her against a few people who she could beat up pretty easy and then see what happens," Askren said. "Because Holly beat her everywhere. I mean, Holly really had a great gameplan she executed, which, for us who know fighting, it was tough to predict because Holly didn't look that great in all of her other fights. Whether it was her early fights or her UFC fights, she didn't look that great. And then she just looked freaking amazing a couple weeks ago."