It's been years since we've seen anyone like Ronda Rousey—27 years to be exact. That's when a young, relatively unknown boxer from Brooklyn, N.Y. named Mike Tyson began his meteoric rise to the World Heavyweight Championship.
The parallels are readily apparent. Only once in Tyson's first 16 professional bouts did an opponent last into the fourth round, and all of those matchups ended in a knockout.
Rousey, meanwhile, has six fights under her belt as a pro, and in all six cases, her opponent tapped out as a result of Rousey's now-infamous armbar submission. Since she began her professional career 17 months ago, Rousey has spent a total of 459 seconds in the ring.
"The sport has never seen anything like it," writes Bleacher Report's Jonathan Snowden. "Rousey...is on a different level athletically than any of her competitors."
Similar statements were made about Tyson in the late-80s when, even at 5'10", he was the most feared competitor in the heavyweight division. Whether Rousey will ever be as awe-inspiring as Tyson was in his prime remains to be seen, but early indications are that she won't find herself on the wrong side of the ledger anytime soon.
Rousey is generally regarded as the most talented woman in MMA, and her main competition for that title—Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, Strikeforce's 2010 Female Fighter of the Year—is currently serving a one-year suspension after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
Rousey's fighting style hasn't completely won over the fans as of yet: MMA message boards are filled with those who refer to her quick, submission-centric bouts as "boring." While Tyson was never the recipient of that label, it can be argued that Floyd Mayweather Jr. isn't the world's most exciting boxer. Mayweather also happens to be 43-0 and the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet today.
Regardless of fan opinion, Rousey's dominance cannot be denied. As long as she can avoid the same types of distractions that ultimately led to Tyson's downfall, she should be one of the most feared fighters on the MMA circuit for years to come.
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