Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche: Title Fight Shows Big Things on Horizon for WMMA

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2013

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 23:  Ronda Rousey prepares to hit Liz Carmouche during their UFC Bantamweight Title fight at Honda Center on February 23, 2013 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The debut of the women's bantamweight division in the UFC could not have gone any better.

Not only did Ronda Rousey deliver in a big way, Liz Carmouche proved that there is competition that can make the division interesting.

Coming into UFC 157's main event, questions about the legitimacy of the women getting lead billing surrounded the card. After watching Rousey and Carmouche go at it in an action-packed one-round affair, there's no question that it was the right choice to have them headline the card.

There's no denying that Rousey is the primary reason Dana White decided to bring the women's division into the fold. Without her marketability and impressive resume, it's unlikely he would have changed his initial stance that the women didn't belong in the premier MMA organization.

Rousey needed to win this fight for the future of the division in the UFC. However, it was Carmouche's performance that made Saturday's card a memorable night.

Nearly everyone expected Rousey to win by armbar. If that was all that happened in this fight, detractors could have easily labeled the bout as boring and dismissed the division.

But Carmouche made things interesting. She locked on to a standing rear naked choke but didn't quite get it under the chin and tried to illicit the tap by torquing her face.

It was an intense moment that would have any fight fan standing and yelling at his or her TV.

Of course, the moment eventually added to Rousey's legend. It was easily the most adversity she's faced in a fight, and she bounced back like a true champion to come back and win the fight.

In terms of establishing the credibility of the division, the fight could not have gone any better. By extending her streak of first-round armbars, Rousey's mystique is as strong as ever.

If she had been able to get the armbar in the first minute, as she had with opponents in the past, the division would have seemed completely useless. No one could beat her.

Rousey's early struggles showed that this is a division well worth keeping an eye on, while ensuring that MMA's biggest female star continues to shine.