Ronda Rousey arrived like a storm to usher women’s mixed martial arts into the UFC.
Having won a bronze Olympic medal in Judo in 2008, Rousey shifted to MMA, where she finished all three of her amateur opponents by armbar. She then armbarred her way to becoming the Strikeforce bantamweight champion.
In 2013, she kicked down the Octagon door, being named the promotion’s inaugural women’s bantamweight champion. Rousey then defended the belt six consecutive times, escalating her record to 12-0 as a professional fighter.
That was when it all came crashing down. Rousey stepped into the cage with Holly Holm on Nov. 15, 2015 at UFC 193 in Australia. The largest audience in UFC history – 56,214 in Etihad Stadium and millions on television and online – watched in shock as Holm leveled Rousey with a head kick early in the second round.
Rousey did not recover. Holm handed her the first defeat of her mixed martial arts career.
It was devastating. By shear force of will, Rousey propelled women in the Octagon spotlight. She seemed unstoppable, invincible. But in a moment, Holm took that all away.
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Rousey went largely into seclusion for the next year. She will step back into the Octagon for the first time in more than a year at UFC 207, where she will challenge champion Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight belt that she was at one time the only fighter to ever hold.
But what happens if lightning strikes twice? What if Ronda Rousey doesn’t walk out of that cage with the belt around her waist?
UFC president Dana White chimed in at his UFC 207 pre-fight media scrum, but didn’t appear to have a lot more answers than the rest of us. Check out what he had to say in the video below.
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