Over the past few years, the UFC’s popularity has been steadily increasing due in part to one of the most surprising athletes in recent history. The athlete I am speaking of is UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. She has taken ultimate fighting by storm since becoming the sport’s first female fighter, debuting in February of 2013.
Rousey has held the title in the women’s division since its inception, boasting a perfect 9-0 record with her most recent defense against challenger Cat Zingano at UFC 184. The fight was over in 14 seconds, the fastest time in championship history, after Rousey locked Zingano into a vicious armbar, forcing a tap out. After the fight questions arose regarding whether anyone in the women’s division even has a chance at unseating the champ.
Personally, I think that Rousey will be the champion for at least another year because of one reason: no one fights with as much determination and concentrated fury as she does. When you watch one of her fights all you have to do is look at her face in the moments before the bell sounds and you see a look of determination.
Her next fight is scheduled for August 1 against undefeated Bethe Correia. Rousey’s notorious trash talk was in full swing when she said of Correia, “I don’t want to just defeat her. I want her to leave that arena embarrassed.”
While instilling fear into the hearts of opponents is her main job, Rousey has done extensive modeling for publications such as Maxim and Sports Illustrated, and started an acting career with her role in The Expendables 3. This “beauty and the beast” factor that she possesses is what makes her such a polarizing figure because she breaks gender norms.
For decades the UFC was a man’s sport, but now what we have is a sport that embraces women and allows them to participate in the full version of the game instead of a watered down version. With the exception of a Jon “Bones” Jones fight, no fights in the sport are more entertaining than a Rousey bout.
Because of the way she has dominated the women’s division, fans of UFC are calling for Rousey to step into the octagon against a male fighter. She quickly shot that idea down in an interview with The Daily Beast, saying, “I don’t think it’s a great idea to have a man hitting a woman on television. I’ll never say that I’ll lose, but you could have a girl getting totally beat up on TV by a guy–which is a bad image to put across. With all the football [domestic violence] stuff that’s been happening, not a good idea.”
The UFC and the sports world in general have struck gold with such a high character individual like Rousey. With athletes committing crime, sexism and homophobia running rampant throughout sports, it is a breath of fresh air to have someone that has broken the mold, and done it in a dominating fashion with no intent to slow down whatsoever.