There is no other way to say it. Amanda Nunes defended her UFC women’s bantamweight title at UFC 207 by stomping all over former champion Ronda Rousey in a stunning 48 seconds.
Technically, Rousey landed 7 of 14 significant strikes for a 50 per cent connect rate, compared to Nunes’ 27 for 47 strikes and a 58 per cent rate.In the walkout, she looked like the old Ronda Rousey. We saw the mean face, and she looked physically prepared at the weigh-ins.
But Nunes quickly exposed her.
Can Ronda come back successfully? Yes, she can. She will always have the support of her family, but let’s take a look at three critical errors she’s made so far.
Welcome back to The Crossfire.
TRYING TO OUTSTRIKE THE STRIKER
I think most people can understand Rousey initially wanting to test Nunes with striking, but why didn’t Ronda try and get the fight to the ground immediately when it was obvious it wasn’t working? She tried to clinch at 4:40, but it was stuffed. She needed some good pre-fight strategy from her corner. Instead, she got this.
— SotoSports Tv (@SotoSportsTv) December 31, 2016
In the Holm fight, Rousey did try and and briefly did get the fight to the mat, and it gave her a chance to recover and win the fight. She also landed some good strikes that backed Holm up. You have to wonder about the gameplan her team crafted. Did Ronda stray from the gameplan or was the plan flawed from the beginning?
— Eva Marie (@natalieevamarie) December 31, 2016
An open and frank discussion with an unbiased source, someone like Miesha Tate or Cat Zingano, would help. Tate went through a lot of the things after her loss to to Ronda at UFC 168 and loss to Nunes at UFC 200. Zingano lost to Rousey in 14 seconds and while she is struggling to get back into the title picture, she is the last person to beat “The Lioness.”
— Alpha Cat Zingano (@CatZingano) December 31, 2016
Imagine Rousey making a a comeback backed by her former arch rival Miesha Tate. That would be an amazing story and bring some closure to two of the best female fighters to ever do it.
NOT TAKING A WARMUP FIGHT
It looked understandable on paper, but taking a year off and then coming back to fight a killer like Amanda Nunes in retrospect was a crazy plan. If Ronda decides to continue her comeback, her next fight will almost certainly be a tuneup contest, to instill some confidence before going for the big prize.
The results speak for themselves.
NOT TAKING OWNERSHIP
Rousey still hasn’t taken proper ownership of the first loss to Holly Holm. Yes, she congratulated Holly in the cage afterwards, but she didn’t face the media afterwards and own the loss. I do believe that contributed to her depression and suicidal thoughts that she talked about in the “Ellen” interview. That loss was much more competitive than this one.
But she made the same mistake again at UFC 207. She bolted the cage after congratulating Nunes and the decision was announced. She didn’t appear at the post-fight press conference. Why?
UFC president Dana White said in an post-fight interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Rousey was in “better spirits” after the loss. Be that as it may.
By taking ownership of this loss immediately, it will give Ronda a freedom to truly move forward and properly process why she lost that way and make the proper decisions to correct it.
Schedule a press conference in the next few weeks. Talk about the loss. Congratulate Nunes publicly. Admit your mistakes and get it all out in the open. Being humble will make Rousey stronger and sway public opinion to her side in the long run.
Privately, put the “yes” men and “yes” women to the side. Talk to somebody unbiased that you trust.
Despite this embarrassing loss, let’s be clear that Ronda Rousey can make a successful comeback. But there is a lot of mental evaluation and hard decisions involved.
— Rashad Evans (@SugaRashadEvans) December 31, 2016
Nunes said at the press conference she thinks Rousey will retire. Will the former queen of the women’s bantamweight division let her legendary career end like this?
Let’s see what happens.