FORMER champion Ronda Rousey endured one of the biggest disappointments seen in UFC history when she made her long-awaited comeback in December last year.
Most were expecting 30-year-old — who had just completed a lengthy hiatus from the Octagon after being defeated by Holly Holm in 2015 — to return to her old ways in a spectacular performance to ring in the new year.
What happened, however, was quite the opposite. Rousey was destroyed by Brazilian bantamweight Amanda Nunes in all of 48 seconds in their bout at UFC 207, ending fans’ dreams of a fairytale comeback to the sport she helped make so popular
Rousey said she needed to “take some time to reflect and think about the future” after the loss before taking up acting in the television drama Blindspot.
While Dana White confirmed yesterday Rousey had not retired from the sport but said he didn’t expect a comeback any time soon.
“She hasn’t retired. She hasn’t told me she’s retiring but I don’t think she’s coming back,” he said in an interview with TMZ.
Rival Holly Holm sent a strong message to the fallen star, suggesting she should throw in the towel if her heart isn’t in it anymore.
The 35-year-old Holm, who knocked out Rousey to end her undefeated record at UFC 193, said in a telephone media conference that Rousey should not fight just to avenge recent losses.
“I think that any fighter should only fight if they want to fight, otherwise they are not going to do well in there anyway,” Holm, a former world boxing champion, said from the United States.
“If she doesn’t have it in her heart to want to keep doing it, I don’t think she should (attempt a comeback),” said Holm.
“I hope she is not just not fighting because of the two losses.”
Rousey, 30, had won 13 straight bouts before she took on fellow American Holm in 2015 for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight title in Australia.
The shock defeat left Rousey so distraught that she said she briefly contemplated suicide.
Rousey, the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in judo, stayed out of the octagon for a year following the defeat.
Since her titanic upset of Rousey, Holm has also struggled, losing her subsequent three bouts. She previously had an unblemished 10-0 record in MMA.
Holm is looking to turn things around when she headlines Las Vegas-headquartered UFC’s return to Asia in Singapore — home base of ONE Championship, the region’s leading promoter.
Holm, currently fifth in the UFC rankings, will take on 11th-ranked Brazilian Bethe Correia on June 17 as part of UFC’s bid to gain a foothold in Asia, the birthplace of martial arts.
Holm believes the setbacks suffered by her and Rousey reflect a growing level of competition, arising from the MMA’s increasing popularity.
“The sport keeps growing, and the girls keep getting better, and they know the competition out there is good. And knowing that, it pushes them, and everyone just keeps evolving and getting better,” she said.
“I still know that I am capable of beating all the girls out there. I know I am, but to do so everything else has to be done just right, because the competition is that good.”
— with AFP