At UFC 193 Ronda Rousey got knocked out. Rousey, the undefeated bantamweight champion who had torn through all those that stood before her, had been knocked out.
59 seconds into the second round of her seventh title defense, her opponent, Holly Holm landed a perfectly timed left high kick that sent shockwaves through the MMA world. Rousey, had been defeated.
Before Rousey had even hit the floor the hysteria had begun. Ronda Rousey was an icon, a symbol of hope for aspiring female fighters showing that women could be taken seriously
in the male-dominated world of mixed martial arts. Yet in one brief moment the impossible had
just become possible, Rousey, the hope for future generations had fallen.
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The sense of shock and disbelief at what had happened in Melbourne on Saturday night was overwhelming.
Holm was a 20-1 underdog coming into the fight despite being undefeated herself, but she was fighting Ronda Rousey. The woman who had achieved more fame and success than any other MMA fighter before her, male or female.
No one had ever even gotten past the first round with Rousey let alone looked like beating her. Holly Holm did just that, however, and it could be the greatest thing to ever happen for female fighters in the UFC.
With one swift kick, Holm has ignited the interest in women fighters in the UFC. Had Rousey won this fight then, of course, we would all be climbing over ourselves to proclaim her
greatness, but the truth is that all sport thrives on competition.
In Rousey’s career so far competition was something that she severely lacked. Had Rousey beaten Holm and continued to breeze through the bantamweight division then the world’s interest would have stalled.
We would have speculated more about her next film appearance than her career in the octagon.
In the past, there have been fleeting moments that suggested Rousey could be matched. Her rivalry with Miesha Tate garnered huge amounts of interest until Rousey demolished her in the first round without even breaking a sweat. So, Holly Holm, thank you.
Holm has ensured that women’s fighting in the UFC has stayed fresh.
Avoiding pit falls
The women’s UFC bantamweight division was headed in the same direction as the Wladimir Klitschko weight class, officially known as the men’s boxing heavyweight division.
Klitschko has dominated this weight class for years and, as a result, no one really pays it much attention anymore, we just simply expect.
There is no excitement or trepidation surrounding his fights, just the expectation that he will win. When he fights Tyson Fury later this month there will be no surprises, just another name to add the list of men that Klitschko has dispatched of.
Sports fans love competition, we thrive on it. Imagine if Manny Pacquiao had never stepped
foot in a boxing ring, who else could we have spent years debating about in regards to Floyd Mayweather and if anyone could beat him?
Thanks to Holly Holm fight fans all over the world have something new to analyse and obsess over. Was it a fluke? Can Holm do it again? All questions that will be asked before the rematch, and there will undoubtedly be a rematch.
A fight that will draw considerably more interest than if Rousey had simply beaten Holm and moved onto the next challenger.
Rousey has one eye on a future outside of the Octagon and has mentioned that she plans to leave the sport in the near future.
The lights of Hollywood have been calling her name for some time now and it would have been a travesty for the woman left behind in the UFC had she departed for Los Angeles undefeated.
The remaining fighters in the bantamweight division would constantly be compared to Rousey’s legend and the next champion would always have a shadow of doubt cast upon her. She would be the champion only in name, a hollow crown upon a pretender’s head reigning a division in the absence of the true champion.
So thank you Holly Holm, for landing what might be the most pivotal blow ever landed in the a woman’s mixed martial arts contest.