Can Ronda Rousey beat a UFC male bantamweight? The question always rises after each one of "Rowdy’s" dominant performances in the Octagon, but we will never find the answer for it. In Brazil, one woman had the chance to fight a man in a cage.
Larissa Schroeder was scheduled to make her amateur MMA debut in a featherweight bout at Evolution SF Fight in Sao Francisco de Paula, Rio Grande do Sul, on March 28. However, hours before the event, her opponent decided not to fight. That’s when Schroeder’s coach Cristiano Benedetto had an idea.
"I asked her if she wanted to fight Fernando Lemos, who is her training partner in my gym, so she would know how it feels like to fight in a cage," Benedetto told MMAFighting.com. "They are training partners and are used to spar. I don’t think it was a big deal. That’s what they do every day in the gym. It was almost a demonstration."
The fight only lasted 53 seconds, and Schroeder won via technical knockout.
Grande Fernando Lemos muito bom lutar contigo!Posted by Larissa Schroeder on Segunda, 30 de março de 2015
"As soon as she hit Fernando and blood started to come out of his nose, the fight was over," Benedetto said. "The referee was a friend of mine and I asked him to stop if one of them got hurt. It was just a one-round fight. No big deal. People are trying to make it sound a big deal in Brazil because I joked about it on Facebook, saying that she knocked out a man and was ready to sign with the UFC. No big deal, man."
All the controversy brought attention to Schroeder, who was offered $1,000 to make her professional MMA debut next week. Her coach declined the offer, saying she’s not ready yet. For now, Schroeder will be remembered as the woman that finished a man in a MMA bout.
"It was a bit challenging, but I like challenges. Challenges make you grow," Schroeder told MMAFighting.com. "I didn’t see any problem with fighting a man. I only train with them, basically. I never thought that would become the biggest topic of the week. It’s super normal that men fight women in the gym."
Schroeder might think a man vs. woman fight "is super normal", but most people don’t.
"A lot of people were in favor, but a lot were against it," she said of the public reaction. "The fact that a woman knocked out a man left some fighters disappointed, and some federations criticized (the fight). Those who were in favor of it support the equality of the sport."
Benedetto is interested in booking a rematch between his students for June, and Schroeder wouldn’t be opposed the idea.
"I made my debut and my coach knows what’s best for me," she said. "If I have to fight a man, I will. If I have to fight a woman, I will. I don’t have any problem with that."