14 seconds. That’s all it took for the UFC women’s Bantamweight champion to pull off a slick transition into an armbar and make Cat Zingano tap out. The submission victory marked the second time she has finished an opponent in under 16 seconds, this time tying a UFC record for fastest submission victory. Rousey, such a dominant figure in her sport. A passionate and aggressive fighter who leaves it all in the cage, never takes a step backwards and has the killer instinct that made athletes like Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali great. When she steps in the room you can almost hear WWE’s John Cena yell the CHAMP is here!
While the division hasn’t been wiped clean just yet, with both Jessica Eye and Bethe Correia beating down Dana White’s door and Holly Holm just getting started in the UFC, Rousey has steam-rolled past the rest of the UFC’s 135lb division. She has gone through arch-rival Miesha Tate, Liz Carmouche, Sarah McMann, Alexis Davis and now what was supposed to be her toughest challenge to date… Cat Zingano. While Rousey has turned to movies to occupy and possibly challenge herself, the masses have to wonder how much longer she will continue to fight after all the challenges are gone.
When Rousey burst on the scene, loud and brash, talking her way into a title shot with then StrikeForce champion Miesha Tate, it was Rousey who was inexperienced in the cage and out to prove she could back up her talk. She had to prove she was more than hype. 4-0 and stepping into a title fight she probably didn’t yet deserve. However, she took that opportunity and a vicious armbar later she was the StrikeForce 135lb champion. Setting the stage for what is now one of the most exciting divisions in all of MMA, the UFC’s Women’s 135lb Bantamweight division. Conor McGregor should probably pay Ronda royalties for gimmick infringement. Especially if much like Rousey and her opportunity, he knocks off Jose Aldo in his title fight this summer.
The question remains… What and who is next for the champ? Who can challenge her in the window of time we have left to watch her talents in the cage before Hollywood steals them away like they did with Gina Carano?
Sure, Correia is undefeated. She is aggressive in the cage and could put pressure on Rousey… Or she could do like Zingano and get caught. Eye is a talented fighter but probably lacks Rousey’s skill on the ground. Holm’s ability to transition in to a full, well-rounded MMA fighter is still to determined. Being a great striker from her boxing past and becoming more well-rounded as time goes by from training with Greg Jackson’s camp. She is clearly not ready for Rousey just yet.
Then there is that other woman that stays on the tip of every fight fan and journalist… Cris Cyborg. The Mayweather/Pacquiao of women’s MMA. The mythical dream match up that might never be. But Manny and Floyd are finally getting together, maybe there is a chance? The truth is the Cyborg vs Rousey fight could be made tomorrow if Cyborg could just make the weight. Something she first refused to do, then failed to do and now is going to try again. The UFC is invested in Cyborg, while we don’t know exactly how much we do know they are and do want to see the fight happen. But until Justino makes the weight we have no hope. Rousey is the champ and has no interest in meeting her half way.
The dark horse in everything is Miesha Tate. The only woman to ever really test Rousey, pushing her deeper than anyone. She’s taken Rousey to limits no other woman has or even come close to doing. While Tate continues to roll over every other woman not named Rousey or Zingano (she was winning versus Zingano until a controversial stoppage in the last round), she is stuck on the outside looking in with a 0-2 record versus Rousey. She hasn’t gotten the job done. Yet, she might very well be the only woman in that division who can. And let’s be honest, who wouldn’t really love watching the build up to a 3rd fight between these two bitter rivals? It’s must see TV!
While the world waits for Cyborg, Holly Holm to be ready, the challenges of Eye and Correia, we are left wondering if any of them will pose a threat to the greatest female fighter of all time. Not just inside the octagon but any combat sport. The champ is most assuredly here and she might not be losing that title anytime soon if ever.
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