Ronda Rousey wanted to knockout Bethe Correia. So she did.
The UFC’s female bantamweight champion scored her 12th stoppage in as many fights early Sunday morning in Rio, plastering Cerreia with punches and knees for 34 seconds until referee John McCarthy called a halt to the action.
The finish came after the broad-shouldered 135lb Rousey, a 16-1 favorite in Las Vegas sportsbooks, lifted a knee into her previously unbeaten challenger’s mid section, scored a left hook that stunned Correia, and ended the show with a right to the temple followed by another short left. Correia had promised to end Rousey’s reign. Instead, she was just another violently disposed of would-be queen.
Amazingly, the official time of the fight was plus four seconds Rousey’s last two wins combined: a 16-second KO over Alexis Davis and a 14-second armbar of Cat Zingano. The victory marks Rousey’s 11th first-round win in 12 bouts, ensuring her status as the most dominant female mixed martial artist in the UFC. Many people would suggest ‘Rowdy’ Ronda, so named after the pro wrestler she dedicated the win to, Rowdy Roddy Piper, who passed away Friday in Los Angeles. Like the pro wrestler, Rousey has created her own space, becoming the first female athlete to be a pay-per-view draw as she has transcended UFC to enter Hollywood and became the face of numerous products and ventures.
Coming into the fight at a sold-out HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, a location most people wrongly presumed would overwhelmingly support the 32-year-old Brazilian challenger, Rousey said this contest was the most personal of her career. Correia made comments in the pre-fight build up regarding the chance that Rousey might consider suicide if she came out on the losing end. Both sentiments in that statement were ill-formed. The notion of bringing up suicide as a promotional tool, especially considering the widely known story of Rousey’s father, Ron, who took his life when the woman who would go on to be called the most dominant athlete on earth by Sports Illustrated as was just a girl.
Rousey walked into the arena wearing an intense stare, on a mission to send a message that anything about her family should never again be uttered by an opponent. Her demeanor matched her performance. As she neared the front of the Octagon door a fan threw a Brazilian flag in her face. She didn’t flinch. The fans had been with her all week in Rio, surprising to a degree that they seemed to know Correia simply had no shot. They were there to see Rousey, who is on another level or two, and so dominant some critics have labeled her weight class weak. For such is the force of Rousey, and the sheer destructive nature of her wins against the women who step to her. Rousey is literally that good. She is incredibly skilled after a lifetime of training to be the best. She is preternaturally focused and driven and capable of masterfully handling an enormous set of expectations.
Though the women she has destroyed are fine fighters, their numbers are dwindling. The UFC is in a position where a third fight with Miesha Tate, a serviceable, tough, professional fighter, is next on the docket for the 28-year-old blond-haired champion fighting out of Venice Beach, California.
For a self-proclaimed straight shooter, Rousey rang hollow during fight week when she said on a pre-bout conference call with media that if fans wanted another bout with Tate so did she. Fans want to see Rousey fight 145-pound killer Cris “Cyborg” Justino, who ended the reign of the last golden girl to run the female side of mixed martial arts, Gina Carano. However there is no comparing Carano to Rousey, who, as her record clearly shows, is a killer in every imaginable way.
It’s gotten to the point that people want to see Rousey fight simply for the adrenaline rush. That’s how it feels when a fight last as long as your average Vine. The promise with an opponent like Justino is that Rousey will finally be tested, which, after all, is all she could hope for at this point.
“What people are seeing is the absolute peak of an athletic woman’s potential and that’s worth the money,” Rousey said on Wednesday.
That is true. But people are witnessing this at the expense of any real sense of competition, which of course is not Rousey’s fault – at least not yet though that could change the longer she pushes off Cyborg, which is what she said she intends to do as she has designs on future opponents and Hollywood films.
Rousey has done whatever she’s wanted since emerging onto the MMA world. Every genre she has stepped into her hard work and talent have yielded impressive results. She has allowed herself small pockets to enjoy her success, but these moment are as fleeting as her fights. The plan now is to take a vacation, regroup and get back to the grind.
And then do whatever is she wants. Again.
This article was written by Josh Gross, for theguardian.com on Sunday 2nd August 2015 11.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010