Ronda Rousey is better than everyone else
After Ronda Rousey took 34 seconds to destroy Bethe Correia last Saturday and her continued domination of UFC’s female bantamweight division, everyone is awestruck by the 28 year old’s prodigious fighting ability. The Tyson comparisons are being made; words like “Invincible” are being thrown around. There are some who question the pedigree of her opponents. And her possible dodging of vocal challenger Cris “Cyborg” Justino. In the end, her performance and record speak for themselves.
But why is she so dominant? At 5’7”, she’s not big for her weight, nor extremely fast or unnaturally strong. Well, the answer is pretty simple, and it has two parts:
Firstly, Ronda Rousey is a master of a single art, much like other dominant champions in Mixed Martial Arts. Before she was rolling through opponents in the UFC, she was a decorated Judo player, even earning an Olympic Bronze medal. None of her opponents thus far has been able to evade her “Hip toss into armbar” takedown/finisher. Her mastery of Judo has been the deciding factor in all of her fights with the exception of her match with Correia (more on that later). Many of the other dominant fighters in the UFC also have achieved “Master” level in at least one art before becoming champs in the octagon.
Anderson “Spider” Silva (Muay Thai), Lyoto Machida (Shotokan Karate), Georges-St. Pierre (Kyokushin Karate), and BJ Penn (Brazilian Jiujutsu) all trained in their respective arts for years before stepping into the shallow talent pool of the UFC. Single style mastery is often an edge because it gives a fighter a “go to” strategy that many of the “jack-of-all-trades” fighters in MMA don’t have the expertise to counter effectively. Ronda Rousey was a champion Judo player, but not undefeated. None of her opponents have exhibited even the slightest ability to counter her Judo. Or even the awareness of their deficiency in that area.
Secondly, Ronda Rousey prosecutes a fight the way that it’s supposed to be done. No “feeling out”, no pattycake, no lay-and-pray. Ronda fights like its 3 o’clock on Friday and you talked waaaay too much smack at lunch. She comes out to finish. Many fighters spend a round testing the waters. They start by throwing half hearted techniques, or they follow a strong takedown with an interminable period of laying on their opponent struggling for position or futilely applying a technique that goes nowhere. Ronda rushes forward to establish a hold; she goes for the throw, then immediately transitions into the finishing armbar. In Correia’s case, the challenger had her hips out of tossing range, but couldn’t survive the endless flurry of punches that eventually put her down.
So until somebody steps their game up enough to take Ronda Rousey out of hers, she’ll probably continue to dominate the women’s bantamweight division.