Edmond Tarverdyan doesn’t know for sure if Ronda Rousey, his star pupil, will ever fight again. But the coach would like her to step into the Octagon one more time. And he has an ideal opponent in mind.
On Monday, Tarverdyan told Ariel Helwani on the 400th episode of The MMA Hour that Cyborg would be the ideal foe for a Rousey comeback effort — and a winnable fight for the former UFC women’s bantamweight champion.
“That’s the one,” Tarverdyan said. “I want that fight. When I trained Ronda, I know Ronda could beat Cyborg. I know that. Cyborg is too slow.”
Before the Nunes fight, Rousey did very little media and since that defeat she has not spoken at all about fighting, nor her future in the UFC. Dana White, the UFC president and a good friend of Rousey, has even said that he doesn’t think she’ll ever return.
Tarverdyan, the head coach of Glendale Fighting Club in California, isn’t as sure and he believes there would be major motivation to fight Cyborg, Rousey’s longtime rival. He is not sure if Rousey will do it, though.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know. We’ll live and we’ll see. If injuries weren't there and everything was where it was, we would take that fight and I’m telling you she’s too slow for us. And Ronda will beat her. Ronda needs a challenge that she really needs to be like this person is no good and I need to prove something to the whole world. That’s how Ronda works good.
“And she didn’t have that with Holly, she’s the one that pushed and wanted some aggressiveness before the weigh-ins. This one she has it. She said she cheated before, she’s hurt women and she wants to come and beat her.”
Cyborg just won the vacant UFC women’s featherweight title by beating Tonya Evinger by third-round TKO at UFC 214 back in July. The Brazilian knockout artist has not lost an MMA fight since her pro debut in 2005 and is the most dominant female MMA competitor of all time. Cyborg, though, has been nagged by performance-enhancing drug accusations since a 2011 failed drug test and Rousey has helped lead that charge.
“That’s why if she wants to make a comeback and get one fight, I think she will do the best she’s ever done and I think she’ll be victorious,” Tarverdyan said. “Because I know Ronda’s personality, because she’s happy right now and she has a good challenge in front of her that she focuses on. I think whatever she wants to do right now, she can do. It’s in her mind.”
Tarverdyan said he speaks to Rousey a few times per week. There have been reports that Rousey could soon sign with WWE and she’s done a number of appearances alongside teammate Shayna Baszler in the pro-wrestling promotion. Tarverdyan said he doesn’t know about that side of Rousey’s career, nor does he know if she’ll ever return to MMA.
But he hopes she does for one more bout and he thinks it’s a possibility, if the injuries she’s had over the years are not too bad.
“It’s gonna be her decision, if she fights,” Tarverdyan said. “One more, I don’t know. I’ve spoken to her. I don’t know if she’ll do it. One more fight, maybe. If she really can. If her body does give her one more fight and she really wants to mentally, she might. It’s 50-50 right now I would say.”