Earlier this year, the UFC announced the return of one of their biggest stars, Ronda Rousey, who will challenge Amanda Nunes for the women's bantamweight championship. It will be Rousey's first fight in over a year as the crossover star went to ground following her knockout loss to Holly Holm at UFC 193 last November. It was a devastating loss and one that had serious effects on Rousey, who made public comments about contemplating suicide. The gravity of these comments and the myriad opportunities outside of the cage Rousey has available to her left many wondering whether she would ever return to MMA.
During this time and the rampant speculation that Rousey may never return though, UFC President Dana White was always adamant that she would fight again. As we now know, White was correct and recently he went on the Fox Sports Live with Jay and Dan to discuss Rousey's return.
"I knew she was gonna return. The thing is with Ronda, she worked so hard for three years for us non-stop, doing our stuff, her stuff, and she wanted some time off. If anybody deserved time off it was her. We probably started talking about her coming back four months ago and that's it. She had a few nagging injuries, elbows, knees, and she went and got them cleaned out and recovered fast."
It wasn't just the injuries and the vacation that kept Rousey away though. Rousey's comments about suicide paint a much darker picture which played a role in Rousey's continued absence from the octagon. For his part, White believes the media coverage of Rousey played a big role in Rousey's depression.
"The thing that people have to understand about Ronda is that she is so competitive - you know, who likes to lose? Nobody does but she is like the next level and I think she just wanted time. She had some issues but her biggest issues, in my opinion, were with the media. She just felt like the media completely turned on her when she lost...Not abandoned. She felt attacked. She felt like these people in the media that she gave three years of her life cruising around, giving interviews to completely turned on her when she lost.
"I've been doing this for 16 years and I've had my moments with the media and the media can irritate you. If you go through something traumatic like she did, losing and everything else, and you have to listen to some of the things being written and said, I get it."
White's history with media outlets and reporters is well documented and often times not flattering. Rousey on the other hand, had been the golden child for the entirety of her MMA career. As she ran roughshod over the women's bantamweight division and he star transcended the sport, the stories from the media weren't if she would win but how quickly. Then Holly Holm finished her in dominant, highlight reel fashion and the narrative shifted to questions about Rousey's mental toughness, decision making, coaching, and a general second-guessing of her entire career up to that point. Rousey responded by retreating from the public eye.
Since then the women's bantamweight title has shifted from Holm to Miesha Tate and now resides with Amanda Nunes. Nunes has been calling for a fight with Rousey since the day she won the belt but fans seem more interested in a long-hoped-for superfight between Rousey and UFC 141 lb. catchweight attraction fighter Cris Cyborg.
That fight has been rumored and circled and talk about for so long it has become the MMA equivalent of Mayweather-Pacquiao. Recently, Cyborg has been particularly vociferous about the match-up and was disappointed to learn that Rousey would return against Nunes instead of her.
If Ronda Rousey retires after losing to Amanda Nunes @TheHerd her insecurities robbed the fans the greatest fight of all time— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) October 12, 2016
I want all my fans to know @RondaRousey could lose 100 fights in a row and I would still want to fight her. Its not about money it's respect— Cris Cyborg (@criscyborg) October 12, 2016
When asked why Rousey was returning against Nunes instead of Cyborg when Cyborg so clearly wants the fight, White put it down to Rousey chasing the 135 lb. title while bringing up an old Conor McGregor line to explain Cyborg's focus on Rousey.
"First of all, Cyborg weighs 145 lbs. Ronda weighs 135 lbs...She's smart. That's the money fight. This is what Conor calls "red panty night." When you get the fights with Conor or Ronda, break out the red panties, honey. But Amanda Nunes is the champ. She's holding the belt that Ronda held. Ronda wants to win her title back. Makes all the sense in the world."
If Rousey does win the bantamweight championship back, White has said then the UFC will make the Rousey-Cyborg superfight. But White has said many things and made several promises that haven't always turned out to be true. And should Rousey win the belt back, all the negotiating power lies with her over Cyborg. Rousey could well choose something else entirely, like a rematch with Holly Holm. Only time will tell how the layoff affected Rousey or whether she will ever get locked in a cage with Cris Cyborg. Until then, we can settle for her title shot against Amanda Nunes.
Ronda Rousey challenges Amanda Nunes for the UFC women's bantamweight championship at UFC 207 on December 30 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Missed. MacKenzie Dern misses weight for her Legacy 61 fight this weekend.
66% Ronda Rousey opes as a 2-to-1 favorite over Amanda Nunes.
Undisputed with Dana White
Sage and T-wood.
Dana calling Conor's fine insane.
Nunes on Rousey.
Kimbo Jr. preparing for pro debut.
Canelo with advice to beating. Surprisingly it's not "become a bigger star than him and avoid fighting him until he's old."
Yes. He is.
You mad bro? @josealdojunior— Jerome-Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) October 13, 2016
You asked for it and you're gonna get it— Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) October 14, 2016
Option 5: the retirement home.
Complaining about Ronda Rousey getting an instant title shot. Fall back, she built the division#PutSomeRespeckOnHerName— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunson) October 13, 2016
UFC brass would like nothing more than this to be a thing I'm sure.
LET'S DO THIS!!!! https://t.co/GHVEW1P560— Paige VanZant (@PaigeVanzantUFC) October 14, 2016
Good morning baby pic.twitter.com/2OO6Rkh8se— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) October 13, 2016
That one time I had to change my tire pic.twitter.com/H0uTeKR7Ag— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) October 14, 2016
Dan Hardy might be setting up his comeback opponent.
The man is ridiculous. Nobody in the right mind would have 'God's Gift' tattooed across their stomach.https://t.co/4hquGnJDU7— Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) October 13, 2016
@spilledbagofice remove "all the charm of", and that sentence is probably still applicable.— Dan Hardy (@danhardymma) October 13, 2016
Dhiego Lima (12-4-0) vs. Jason Jackson (6-2-0); Titan FC 42, December 2.
Jose Torres (3-0-0) vs. Pedro Nobre (17-2-2); Titan FC 42, December 2.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2006: Anderson Silva became the UFC middleweight champion when he dismantled Rich Franklin at UFC 64. The co-main event that evening saw Sean Sherk become the UFC lightweight champion after taking a unanimous decision over Kenny Florian in a fight best remembered for the massive amounts of blood. This was also the debut UFC event for Clay Guida.
2010: Cole Conrad became the inaugural Bellator heavyweight champion when he submitted Neil Grove with an americana at Bellator 32. Zach Makovsky was also crowned the inaugural bantamweight champion after winning a unanimous decision over Ed West.
Wow. First weekend in a long time there's no UFC event to watch. Odd to have a Saturday night off. Enjoy it y'all and we will see each other again on Monday.
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