Ronda Rousey was once the biggest star in the sport of MMA. Rousey truly transcended from just an MMA star to a multimedia star with movie roles, talk show appearances and mega media attention. Then it all came crashing down with the loss of her title, the first loss of her career and a brutal knockout all in one. Fans turned on Rousey and some even relished in her loss, and with the loss the spotlight was firmly taken away from her by none other than Conor McGregor. 2016 was a huge year for the sport and Rousey wasn’t apart of it, until now. Coming back after a year layoff, Rousey is once again fighting for the world title against Amanda Nunes, in the last fight of the year, and is the favourite to recapture her old title. Winning the title in her return would explode Rousey into 2017 as once again a top star and even a great of the sport.
Being a champion in the UFC is amazing enough and certainly not easy. Defending the belt is also incredibly difficult, but doesn’t make you a star, with many champions being overlooked by casual fans. The truly greatest fighters have been able to regain their title after losing it. Losing a title, or a fight, can destroy a weak fighters confidence and turn their career into a downward spiral. The best fighters are able to come back stronger and accomplish huge things because of a loss.
George St. Pierre did this twice in his career, defeating Mark Hughes for the title and Matt Serra to regain the title, with the Serra win being all the more impressive after being knocked out by a huge underdog. GSP was able to regain his title and avenged the only loses of his career. and went on to be a huge PPV draw for the UFC because of these wins. Anderson Silva did this but not after a loss. Silva was thoroughly beat on by Chael Sonnen even though he pulled off a last ditch submission win at UFC 148. The rematch weighed on Silva and brought out a new side of him, as he definitely beat Sonnen in the rematch. These fights brought Silva to the highest point of stardom in his career. Cain Velasquez was able to do this as he regained his title with a beatdown of Junior Dos Santos after being previously knocked out quickly in their previous match. Lastly, and most recently, Micheal Bisping was able to capture the title with a short notice win over Luke Rockhold, after previously losing via submission. After winning the rematch, Bisping defended the title with another rematch against Dan Henderson, a man who previously knocked him out in arguably the most devastating punch in UFC history. These wins have set Bisping up as an even bigger star in Europe for the UFC and changed his overall spotlight.
Rousey has an opportunity to do this to a lesser extent at UFC 207. A win over Amanda Nunes would bring back the confidence of a world champion and set up a fight with the sliding Holly Holm; which would be the biggest women’s fight in the history of MMA.
Can Ronda reclaim gold after a devastating loss? or will her limelight fade with a loss?