The standard bearer of the Women’s bantamweight division, Rousey was soundly beaten by former Champion Holy Holm is November of 2015. Since then, she has been away from the game that she can claim she made, but, with both her UFC imposed suspension for concussion expired and her external Hollywood commitments slowing up, her return is imminent, and, it is a good thing.
It’s all well and good to be one of the masses of people who jump on the bandwagon of hate for Ronda Rousey, but it’s simple, if she hadn’t done what she had done, if she wasn’t the way she was, the UFC’s women divisions would be non-existent. Dana White himself stated that women would never be in the UFC, it was Rousey that changed his mind, and both the bantamweight and straw-weight divisions have never looked back.
Gaining mainstream media attention for breaking the mold of MMA fighters, popularity rocketed further than anyone could have really imagined, and it started with the dominating exploits of Ronda Rousey. She blitz through the field, much of which she had already well dealt with in the Strikeforce promotion, but never-the-less, she had no issues repeating the dose.
On-top of the world and untouchable, she walked into a title fight with 16 times world boxing champion Holy Holm off the back of a 16 second humiliation of Bethe Cothe in Brazil, she was the overwhelming favourite to steam-roll her opponent once more, she was soundly defeated. A emotive fight, Rousey went too hard at an opponent who was not intimidated.
The lack of intimidation got to Rousey, she over committed, got sloppy and was finished with a powerful and well-placed head kick. Just like that, the powerful reign over the women’s division and pop-culture had come to a crashing end. A broken shell of the fiery competitor she once was, she was put under a UFC imposed concussion suspension for 6 months and just like that, a new star was born.
Since then, Ronda has bounced back in some small way, she’s still in demand in Hollywood, filming the Roadhouse remake and was a cover-model for SI, but her desire to avenge her greatest professional failing still burns, and the time for her to do that is fast approaching.
Her suspension is up and her filming commitments are winding down, she is getting closer to a return, and it’s a good thing for the women’s division. Right now the division is in good shape, there is a new champion in Meisha Tate, a bankable, likable and marketable champion who inspires younger females to pursue MMA, she is an ideal representation of the brand.
However, a representation to the outside world doesn’t always give a true representation to what is happening on the inside. Tate runs the division and is fighting Amanda Nunes for the title next. It’s a good fight, but, after that, it’s back to Holy Holm. Owed a rematch, she is sure to be the next in line, regardless of who it is that wins the next fight. Much like the Middleweight division, they are stuck in a cycle with owed rematches and injuries. This is why Rousey’s return is a good thing.
Not only does it add another viable competitor, with a rematch owed back into the fold, but it also gives the other women in the division extra motivation to get themselves into the title picture. It makes the division better. Suddenly you have three top names along with a contender like Nunes who are at the top of the division. With four prime spots, its harder for other fighters like Julianna Pena to make inroads into the upper echelon, which creates an environment where everything gained is deserved.
Bottom line is, diversity is what is going to keep the division current and exciting, and with the presence of four type talents, all vying for the one spot, that is what you get. Ronda doesn’t need the UFC to be successful, and really the UFC doesn’t need her in the long run, but he coming back, it will be a good thing, for both camps, no matter what anyone tries to say.