Anyone holding out hopes that Ronda Rousey might be building up for a return to the Octagon in the near future, may want to pump the brakes. Judo coach Justin Flores doesn’t see it happening.
The latest news coming from the Ronda Rousey camp is that she’s engaged to be married. She and UFC heavyweight Travis Browne recently, publicly announced their plans to tie the knot at some point in the near future. But what about fighting?
The former UFC women’s bantamweight champion as been more or less MIA since losing getting KO’d by Amanda Nunes back in December of 2016 at UFC 207. That loss was her first fight in over a year, since losing her title to Holly Holm in 2015. Those two fights, represented the first losses of Rousey’s pro-career. Could it be that they’ll also be the last ones?
Rousey’s judo coach Justin Flores recently spoke to Sub Radio about a potential return to MMA for Ronda, and why it’s something he doesn’t sound like he’s banking on.
“Oh man, there’s a lot of layers to that,” Flores said, when asked about a potential Ronda Rousey return to MMA. “Personally, from what I… I mean, I would support her, but personally I don’t think it’s in the cards. I don’t think that’s what she wants in this time of her life. I mean, I’m not discounting anything. Maybe later. But I just don’t see that being something she wants to jump into and focus full force to be the best. Because if she’s gonna do anything, from what I know about her, she’s gonna do it to be the best. And not that I don’t think that she can be the best, it’s just, I just don’t know if her body and her mind at this stage in her life, if that’s what’s right for her.
“She’s competed her whole life. Her whole life has been about being the best, and I just think personally, the best thing is for her to kind of be okay with herself not as a fighter. So I love her to death, dude. I just know the pain she’s gone through physically, doing this forever, multiple surgeries, concussions, broken bones, weight cutting. All those things add up and take its toll, and it’s accumulative. So being 30 years old now and doing this since you were eight years old non-stop, I mean, the mileage you’ve put on your body and that she’s put on her body, I just don’t think if she wants to, you know, live a long happy life and raise kids with Travis, which I know that’s the future, I just don’t think that’s something I feel like would be in her best interests.”
Flores also talked a bit about one of the points among fans and pundits around any potential Ronda Rousey return: Should she change up her coaching and work with someone other than Edmond Tarverdyan?
“Well, I mean, MMA is primarily I would have to say – this is my perspective – these days is more of a striking art,” Flores said when asked about critique of Rousey’s training with Tarverdyan. “It’s mixed martial arts, but I think the strikers have closed that gap from the early days where you have your Royce Gracies and your big high-level grapplers that have evolved to being the best. And now I think some of these strikers have been able to kind of take over a little bit more, from what I see, just from what I gauged. And I think her falling in love with striking and boxing and footwork and timing and trying to try and become the best striker she could be, she entrenched herself fully. And she is really competitive, so she would drill non-stop and try and do what she could do to become the best striker that she could be.
“And I kind of understand Edmond’s role in how he tried to provide that for her, and my job was kind of to provide that balance to say, ‘hey, okay, we’re doing great here with the striking, but let’s get back to what kind of got her here’. And sometimes it would be tough to balance that, you know, cause I’m down here in San Diego, she’s training in LA. So it would be kind of tough to go up there every day and make sure she was getting that in. So I’d have to kind of trust Edmond to make sure those things were happening while I wasn’t there as well with Martin. And from everything I know, is her and Martin would train on those off days. So she was still being able to get a lot of the grappling that she needed, it was just what she chose to do on fight night. And those are, as we all saw, it didn’t work out so well. I’m not blaming anyone here, it’s just the way the fight game is. So she had a lot of great wins and a few bad ones there. So it’s just a hard thing to see to someone you really love and you’ve known your whole life for it to end like that. I mean, it’s kind of hard to elaborate past a certain point, just because I respect all the people involved and I don’t want to do anyone any harm.”
In the meantime, if you just can’t wait to see Rousey on your TV again, she’s set for a guest starring role on NBC’s crime drama Blindspot this Wednesday, May 3rd. She’s also been reported for several upcoming film roles, including a Road House remake and Mile 22 with Mark Wahlberg and Iko Uwais, although there have been few updates on her involvement in either project lately.