When Ronda Rousey made her long rumored debut with the WWE last Sunday, you can bet that noted pro wrestling fanatic and UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier was tuning in.
Rousey appeared at the close of the WWE’s Royal Rumble event in Philadelphia, sharing the ring with performers Alexa Bliss, Asuka, and Charlotte, pointing to the massive WrestleMania sign in the arena, and then shaking hands with company executive Stephanie McMahon, who was at ringside. Seeing as how Rousey didn’t say a single word, her debut may have left more questions than answers as far as how her transition from the Octagon to the ring will go.
During a recent appearance on The MMA Hour, Cormier shared his thoughts on how the former women’s bantamweight champion was utilized and what he expects to see going forward.
“I thought it was cool,” Cormier said. “So I sat through the entire women’s Royal Rumble, hoping that she was one of the fighters and No. 30 came and it was (former WWE star) Trish Stratus, which was pretty cool. But it wasn’t Ronda… And then it was cool to see (Rousey) walk to the ring and point to the WrestleMania logo. I don’t truly understand the meaning of it, like she doesn’t really have a rivalry with any of those people. Maybe it was just to get her out in front of the crowd and see the reaction, but I’m interested to see what becomes of this.
“I don’t know, maybe she just wasn’t ready yet to go into the Royal Rumble, because if they would have rushed her and she looked bad, it would have been much worse than just kind of holding her back, giving her months to prepare to make her debut. But yeah, very excited, happy for Ronda. So happy for Ronda that she’s doing something she loves.”
While Rousey was all smiles at the show, her decision to jump over to the WWE leaves her fighting future even further in doubt. Rousey has not competed since being blown out in just 48 seconds by current champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 in December 2016, and there has been no clear indication of when or if she plans to return to the UFC.
In an interview with ESPN that aired after the Royal Rumble, Rousey said that she did not consider herself to be officially retired from MMA competition. She also declined to comment on the knockout losses to Nunes and Holly Holm that played a part in her taking a break from the Octagon.
Cormier, no stranger to tough losses himself having twice been beaten in high-profile bouts by rival Jon Jones (though the second fight was overturned to a no-contest when Jones later tested positive for banned substances), believes it would be good for Rousey to open up about her defeats. However, he respects her decision to deal with the losses in her own way and thinks fans will have to accept her choices one way or another.
“I think it’s weird because she chooses not to discuss it,” Cormier said. “That’s her right. People deal with losses in their own ways and obviously Ronda doesn’t feel comfortable or doesn’t want to deal with it in the way that we did. People deal with it differently. If she was to do it, it’s a massive weight off your chest if you’re able and willing to discuss it and try to move past it.
“But what does she have to move past now? She’s not in the sport anymore and she’s getting paid millions of dollars to do something else. Look, they can love, they can hate her, it ain’t gonna change her paycheck and she’s gonna be Ronda Rousey. So it doesn’t really matter. I think she’s going to approach this in the way that she wants to approach it and obviously she has made it pretty clear that she won’t discuss those losses or discuss those setbacks.”