Ronda Rousey 2.0: How has MMA’s queen improved her striking since landing in the UFC?

A record of 7-0 with every win coming by armbar submission in the first round is open to interpretation.

It could show superiority to all opponents put forth, but it could also show that something is missing from a MMA fighter. It could show that a fighter has a weak arsenal. It could uncover a one-trick pony.

Ronda Rousey might have been subjected to such criticism prior to her last three fights. Over time, they have been proven baseless by the former Strikeforce and current UFC women’s Bantamweight champion. She has made vast improvements since her professional MMA debut, and even more so since UFC debut in February of 2013. One of the biggest question marks early on — her striking — has been greatly improved. She is boxing at a high-caliber by even the most stringent evaluation.

She hasn’t neglected her grappling, of course. That has been spectacular since her name was worth anything.

She has a fourth-dan black belt in Judo. That means that she has mastered the art of manhandling an opponent — even under physical disadvantages. It just happens for “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.

It is of little surprise that she has moved to a 10-0 mark. In fact, over her last three fights, she scored a stoppage due to strikes twice, and went past the first round. In her rematch with Meisha Tate, she was made to fight through three rounds, and, soon enough, locked Tate in with that patented armbar.

She set it up with strikes. Her two subsequent opponents were handled in less than a 1:30 combined. The finishes came by way of T/KO with punches and knees.

That alone seems to make the evolution of Ronda Rousey nearly irrefutable.

The 27-year-old Jukoda appears to be reaching her physical peak as well, and is fighting more authoritatively than ever before. The execution of her takedowns is rigorous, and her ability to utilize boxing, defend herself no matter the position, and virtually neutralize her opponents’ attack is something that many top male MMA fighters can’t say they have paralleled.

Fighting out of the Glendale Fight Club, under the guidance of well-schooled, versatile martial artist, Edmond Taverdyan, Rousey has honed her animosity on the ground into her striking. Coach Edmond Tarverdyan has praised her for years, often stating that she could easily make the transition to boxing if it were her intention.

Of course, GFC is hardly a major fighting camp, and Taverdyan isn’t the biggest name in the sport. Neither was Ronda Rousey. Her development into a full-fledged MMA fighter, while she has always had the form for it, didn’t occur overnight.

Tarverdyan himself has competed in the likes of Karate, Kung-Fu, Taek-Kwon-Do, Wushu, Draka, Muay Thai, and Boxing since he was in grade school. Naturally, he had the structure and foundation to take a fighter like Rousey to the next level. So, it happened.

The Armenian’s tight-knit camp also features the likes of Travis “Hapa” Browne, Manny Gamburyan, and Fransisco Rivera, all of whom have had nothing but praise for Taverdyan’s ability to instruct various aspects of combat sports, and impart his knowledge to them. Browne went as far to say that Taverdyan is “teaching (me) how to fight”. Those are awfully strong words from the big man.

It seems quite clear that, as Rousey puts Glendale Fight Club further on the map as a destination for world-class combatants, the camp pushes her to further herself as one. She’ll be needing everything she has learned against Cat Zingano, come February 28th.

David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.


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