This morning the MMA world is still coming to terms with the destruction of one of its biggest stars in Ronda Rousey, who was outclassed and executed last night in Melbourne, Australia by former boxing world champion (and now UFC queen) Holly Holm.
An 11-year veteran of combat sports, Holly Holm is not your typical story of a faded boxer trying to find glory in MMA. Early in her career, she spent two years fighting professionally as a kickboxer(going 2-1) and prior to last night’s bout, had amassed a 9-0 record in MMA. She had her last boxing match in 2013 not because she couldn’t compete, but due to needing more consistent opportunities to make a living wage. Her 33-2-3 record featured a distinction of winning the unified WBA/WBC welterweight titles, and being one of the most accomplished female boxers in history.
That made last night’s beatdown no surprise to most boxing fans, who were already soured on Rousey for RING Magazine’s dubious decision to make her the first woman to grace the boxing publication’s cover in its 100-year history.
“It was a slap in the face to the history of women’s boxing,” said five-time flyweight women’s boxing champion Ava Knight.
No Laila Ali, Cecilia Braekhus or even the last American Olympic boxing gold medalist, Clarissa Shields, has been given the distinction of a RING cover.
This reality gave way to the brutal irony in Holm’s elite boxing ability being the cornerstone of her victory. Foolishly, Rousey attempted to stand early on and blitz with hard shots. Holm used her mastery of distance and footwork to keep Rousey on the end of stiff straight lefts and counter right jabs. Within a few minutes, Rousey was bloodied and flailing punches in desperation.
The most embarrassing of these moments signaled the end of Rousey’s chances to win. Showing firsthand how valuable a Floyd Mayweather-like defense can be, Holm deftly slipped a telegraphed left hook and sent Rousey falling over herself.
When you mix the aforementioned boxing skills with Holm’s superior physical strength and takedown defense, you get definitive conclusions like this.
Is Ronda Rousey a fraud? Not at all — the woman is an elite judoka and one of the best fighters in MMA. But her biggest weakness, striking, was placed in neon lights Saturday night. The test of any great fighter is how they come back from defeat. We’ll find out soon enough if Ronda Rousey has the heart and burning desire to come back better, is if she’s a modern version of Gina Carano.
In meantime, if this is how you shadowbox, the boxing gods will not look favorably on you being lauded in Sweet Science publications.