Ronda Rousey is a once-in-a-generation style athlete. While on paper there seem to be a lot of holes in her game after two years and change training in hand-to-hand combat when she enters the cage and has her game face on, none of that matters.
The Olympic Bronze Medalist in the Beijing Games has stepped in the cage with girls that have the ability to punch her in the face with ferocious power, and even though she closes the distance like this were 1993 and she was a slim Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu stylist, when she gets a hold of you, there is no stopping her.
Sarah Kaufman, the former ruler of the women’s 135-pound division was supposed to be the toughest test for the bantamweight queen this past Saturday night. Instead, within 19 seconds of the fight she was in full defence mode fighting off the armbar that has put away all of Rousey’s foes.
While Kaufman didn’t give up without a fight before we even reached the one minute mark of the fight Rousey forced her to submit, defending her title for the first time, pushing her record to 6-0 and maintaining her status as the consensus pound-for-pound queen of the sport.
The only person to take the world by storm as fast as Rousey has done was professional-wrestler-turned-cage-fighter Brock Lesnar. The former NCAA Division I champion only spent two years on the main roster in the WWE but left behind a giant footprint holding the WWE’s fictitious top crown on three occasions.
When the 285-pound behemoth began his foray into mixed martial arts trashing six-foot-tall South Korean judoka Min-Soon Kim I don’t think anyone understood his potential. Literally eleven months later he put a one-sided hurting on UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture to snatch the top crown in the UFC heavyweight ranks.
One of the biggest strengths to Lesnar as a draw, going back as far as his times on the wrestling mats was that he didn’t like doing interviews, and he was downright nasty at times to his questioner, that gave him a certain level of mystique. That’s where things are completely different with Rousey.
Rousey was blessed with the gift of the gab and has used it delivering verbal tongue lashings that began being thrown towards her fellow contemporaries on the Strikeforce roster but over time has expanded her list of targets.
The top-ranked female fighter has taken aim at mainstream celebrities in reality television star Kim Kardashian and the most successful Olympian in the Games history, Michael Phelps but these have come off as desperate to be seen and heard in a sense with neither willing to engage with her.
While I have no doubts that an intoxicated celebrity on their Twitter Machine will engage in a back and forth battle in 140 characters or less from time to time, that might be the ceiling for Rousey.
While the fight fans that grew up watching the fictional cartoon heavy world of professional rasslin’ might adore the sound-bites that she delivers to many she comes across as loud and obnoxious. The girl that essentially laid down the blueprint for Rousey’s success, Gina Carano might have had the biggest potential to be a real crossover star. Carano looked like a fitness model but she didn’t fight like one.
Beginning as a successful Muay-Thai fighter before setting her sights on mixed martial arts Caran soon became a cornerstone of the EliteXC and Strikeforce organization’s being a big ratings draw for both among Showtime and CBS viewership.
Carano’s ultimate downfall in the sport came when she wasn’t able to overcome the gargantuan task of “Cyborg” but has managed to use her stardom to become a star in Hollywood while leaving the door open to return to the circular fighting surface.
While Carano wasn’t a crafty wordsmith that grabbed headlined with her comments, she was a shy, beautiful girl, the kind of girl that men across the globe dreamed of taking home to their mother, the same dynamic doesn’t appear to be in play with Rousey.
The Olympian has the perfect blend of beauty and beast and will always have the longest line at an MMA convention but she won’t be frequenting red carpet events.
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