So, now that it’s official and Ronda Rousey is signed with the UFC, women’s MMA (WMMA) looks to be on the threshold of breaking out in a way many of us never thought possible.
While Rousey alone cannot take credit for all the efforts and success WMMA has enjoyed since they made their entrance into the sport, she is certainly the main reason why Dana White reversed his long standing position on women in the octagon.
White has been blown away by Rousey and thanks to that, she and Miesha Tate are now in the UFC fold.
But the signing alone isn’t worth a hill of beans if there aren’t any compelling fights to be had for the ladies.
White sounds passionate about a women’s 135-pound division, so there is a lot of work to be done if he wants to acquire enough talent to make such a division, and that means taking some chances on fresh faces that may or may not have what it takes.
But amid all of this, there is one central fight that looms above it all, and thankfully it is centered around his new favorite star. The fight is Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Cyborg.
People can shout all they want about how Cyborg is just a cheater and how she’s always been a cheater (much of this based on her power and her looks), and that will likely continue until the day Cyborg retires.
But none of that talk diminishes the simple fact that Cyborg is the only real legitimate threat to Rousey’s kingdom.
Thus far, Cyborg is in a sport that allows for second chances, and third chances, and so on and so forth. She’s paying the price for her failed drug test, and once she is cleared by the commission, White should be all about the business of making the fight that matters the most for WMMA, even if many think it matters the most for all the wrong reasons.
White should also make this fight because it gives Rousey her greatest moment to date. Ali was made greater by Frazier, Leonard by Hearns—the list goes on and on, and this is no different.
White has put her on the biggest stage, and now she deserves her chance to shine, and the spotlight couldn’t be any bigger than if she is squaring off against Cyborg.
So why not put the fight together? We know Rousey is up for it, as always: in an interview with ESPN, she talked about it openly.
"If Dana said he wanted me to fight Chris 'Cyborg' Santos with a 40lbs weight disadvantage or wrap our hands with Duck Tape and be there in 40 minutes, I'd say I'd be there in 10 minutes just so I could stretch first. It doesn't matter to me, I consider myself the best in the world. I think if you have that title, you have a responsibility to defend it at anytime against anyone."
There may be many people worried that Cyborg can take Rousey out if she can thwart those takedowns, but Rousey isn’t one of them.
White should take her up on the offer, and should make the fight at 140-145 lbs. Once the dust settles, then the world has the answers needed and WMMA can start off on the strongest footing available.
If Cyborg wins, then it is business as usual: strict drug testing and putting her front and center for any challenger to come down the line. No matter what anyone thinks of Cyborg, she has the same kind of crowd-pleasing style that saw Mike Tyson attract so many fans during his reign.
Rousey dusts herself off, writes it off as being too inexperienced, and marches her way back up to the top of the heap for another crack at Cyborg, and you have a rematch that is sure to be a big draw on any PPV card.
Should Rousey win, she is firmly placed as the greatest fighter in WMMA, without question, and in defeating the menacing-looking Cyborg, she becomes even more beloved to the fans and her following grows.
But if the fight does not happen, then a kind of fog settles in. People can talk all they want, but in the end, this is a fight sport, and anything can happen, which is why fighters slug it out in the first place.
There is a kind of peace that is only found on the other side of war, and never has this been truer than in the case of Rousey vs. Cyborg. If they don’t fight, it is simply a case of more of the same: Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, MMA style.
Not only does WMMA need this fight, but Rousey and Cyborg need it as well. If they don’t fight, neither can lay honest claim to a reign that says—without question or reservation or caveat—that they sought out and conquered any threat to their dominance, big or small.
Rousey has made it clear that if asked by White, she would fight Cyborg, with no hesitation, weight considerations be damned. She no doubt believes that it’s not her weight but the style of fighting that she so effortlessly employs that allows her to win, and she’s right, because styles always make fights.
White should give her this chance and make the fight at the next weight class up, because what Rousey has been doing in the cage up to now has been leading up to this very thing: a fight against a serious wrecking machine, where one style clashes with another.
This is her defining moment, bar none, and simply recycling a list of top contenders who have all fallen prey to Rousey via first-round arm bar isn’t going to cut it.
Right or wrong, the fight game is about making the fights that matter most, and right or wrong, Cyborg is in a sport that allows for people to prove they have learned from their mistakes.
With stricter drug testing (and Rousey could easily insist on Olympic-style drug testing, which Cyborg would have to agree upon or forever lose all credibility) in place, if Rousey is really as great as she seems and the success Cyborg has had was really only based on PED’s, then Rousey should be able to make short work of her.
If not, then she may very well take a nasty beating, but that shouldn’t dissuade her. She’s in a fight sport, breaking arms along the way, so taking a beating isn’t something she should mind at all in her quest to be the greatest.
And if the answering of these questions isn’t the reason why Rousey is here (and it is, no doubt), then why did White sign her in the first place?