Wednesday, 05 August 2015 10:50
Unless you've been hidden under a significantly sized rock for the last few weeks, there's no way you haven't seen, heard and talked about Ronda Rousey at some point as a fan of combat sports. "Rowdy" Ronda was the icing on the cake for a successful spell, as she headlined UFC 190 against Brazilian Bethe Correia. Crossover appeal registered on the Richter scale with McGregor-fever, and then the return of the dominant bantamweight champion catapulted off the back of it while more eyeballs were on the promotion. Gone are the days of "vale tudo" being as obscure as chess boxing or some other bizarre fight sport. Now, with Reebok in tow, it's big business and front of house of major channels.
by Disney | ABC Television Group
Not only has Rousey helped to legitimise the women's divisions in a testosterone-fuelled sport that has often derided them, but she elevated the sport to new levels in mainstream consciousness. There have been certain lulls in the everyday appeal over the past few years - the decision of Brock Lesnar to retire was a blow, the indefinite hiatus of GSP didn't help, and some lacklustre Ultimate Fighter seasons see it struggling. However, looking good, saying the right things and then performing flawlessly has seen Ronda become a beacon of light, alongside the aforementioned Irishman.
Social media was awash with excitement before the title fight this weekend, from areas you'd never normally see it make an impact. People with no interest in the sport of mixed martial arts or the UFC were intrigued by the Olympian turned cage fighter that was on top of the world and smashing her way through everybody in her way. All it needed was another emphatic victory, and it came.
She started out as a pure grappler but now Rousey has four knockouts in her last five fights. She's showing the beauty of adaptation in a sport that relies on it. She can tear you limb from limb or send you face first to the canvas. Granted Correia was probably inflated as an opponent because there are very few viable challengers left, but Rousey did exactly what she needed to do in terms of performance.
To top it off, it wasn't just left at "Rousey wins in under a minute", a new narrative has been formed. Well, an old, consistent narrative has been given more fuel, to be accurate. Dana White has again put his backing behind a fight against Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino, and it appears that it's the only logical step, with all parties interested under the right circumstances. Those circumstances are Cyborg making 135lbs to challenge the UFC champion, and with Dana predicting the "biggest MMA PPV ever", it would line everybody's pockets.
It has huge interest and would almost certainly be a colossal smash, should Cyborg manage to make the weight and build a profile in the Octagon first. There's been no shortage of back and forth over the years and now both have the performances to back it up, with Rousey bringing more attention than ever. So, about those 10lbs...