With over a year spent in obscurity, Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey stunned fans when the announcement was made that she would be returning to the Octagon at UFC 207. Coming off of her first loss at the hands of Holly Holm in November 2015, Rousey spiraled into a depression that had many concerned. But determined to rise to the top, Rowdy emerged and set her eyes on the current champion Amanda Nunes. Appearing to be in the best fighting shape in years, Rousey was a crowd favorite to win, but just 48 seconds into the match, tragedy struck as the Olympic Bronze medalist was knocked out. With her second consecutive loss, many are wondering what is next for the sport’s star who catapulted women’s MMA into the spotlight.
While details are scarce as to whether or not she will retire, Rousey has proven in the past that there are other opportunities outside of the UFC. One career path which seems to appeal to the MMA superstar is professional wrestling. During an interview, Rousey expressed her love for the WWE and how she watched it as a kid. To top it off, fans erupted when Rousey, alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, made a surprise appearance at WrestleMania 31. With the overwhelming reaction, Stephanie McMahon, chief brand officer for the WWE, extended an invitation to Rousey, calling her the “total package.”
Although a stint in the WWE would prove lucrative for Rousey, there are several hurdles she must overcome before obtaining a position within professional wrestling. One of the main obstacles is her contract with the UFC. Under her current contract, Rousey is unable to wrestle unless given permission from Dana White. Given the growing relationship between White and the WWE, there is a possibility she could wrestle and still have a chance to return to the UFC. The only other option is for her to retire. Retiring from the UFC would free her to seek any career without concern of breaching her contract.
But what if she were to stay in the UFC?
With her current MMA record at 12-2, Rousey still has a chance to rebuild her brand and rise to the top once again, but it will take time. After her last two championship fights resulting in her being defeated, the road to another title fight has become somewhat bleak. Falling to the hands of Holly Holms and Amanda Nunes has pushed her back to the starting line. For her to even have a chance at another prize fight, Rousey will need to take on a non-title match, which she hasn't done since 2011 in Strikeforce.
As for her fighting technique, many are calling for Rousey to fire her current coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. After winning at UFC 207, Amanda Nunes believes that coach Edmond is to blame for Rousey losing, accusing him of making her believe she is a boxer. While there are boxing elements in MMA, fighters need an array of skills if they want a chance to achieve greatness. Although Rousey has the knowledge to win a fight on the ground, she has opted to use her fist and brute force to win matches, which has yet to be seen.
The fact remains that no matter which path she chooses to pursue, Rhonda Rousey has both a promising and exciting career ahead of her. Will she decide to stay in the UFC, or retire and entertain other passions? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Article by Chris Piner