Regardless of what the future holds for her UFC career, Ronda Rousey, will forever be a monumental figure in women’s MMA.
The blonde judoka made UFC history a month ago, becoming the first female fighter to sign with the biggest and most successful MMA organization in the world. Rousey (6-0-0, 6 armbars) officially became the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s women’s bantamweight champion during a “UFC on Fox 5” pre-fight press conference. And she’s set to defend her title against Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23, at UFC 157.
She’ll even get to headline her first fight card in the UFC.
Not bad, considering the fact UFC president Dana White wasn’t exactly open to the idea of women fighting under their banner a year ago. White has obviously changed his stance since then, and he’s even become a champion of sorts for women’s MMA.
While a decent amount of UFC fans look forward to watching women compete inside the Octagon, some feel Ronda Rousey is getting more opportunities than she deserves.
Former Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion Dan Henderson’s trainer, Gus Pugliese, is one of them, and he explained his views on his Facebook account, per GracieMag.com .
“Ronda is headlining UFC 157. Here is why I have a problem with that,” Pugliese wrote. “Ronda is the champion of Strikeforce with 6 wins in less than 2 years of a MMA professional career. That’s impressive regardless of who she has fought. However, she is not the UFC champion yet. She still has to win this fight to get that belt. On the other hand, we have Hendo, who has also been the Strikeforce champion (never lost the belt), Pride champion in 2 different weight classes; he has been ranked #1 contender for the UFC 205lbs, and #6 by many pound for pound best fighter. His resume is second to none, moreover, he is fighting a former champion, Lyoto Machida.”
“Now why aren’t they main event? Is Ronda a better market value? I don’t know, but her fight could be quick as usual and we could be missing another historic 5 rds fight between 2 legends and possible hall of famers.”
Pugliese then softened his stance.
“I’m not saying she doesn’t deserve to headline an UFC event, but certainly not this one,” he concluded.
Without a doubt, something about Rousey getting a better spot on a fight card over guys like Henderson and Machida seems wrong, so it’s easy to understand where Pugliese is coming from.
However, I have no problems with Rousey getting the main event at UFC 157.
Ronda headlined her last two fights in Strikeforce, clearly outperforming the guys in terms of putting on a show. She also backed it up ratings wise, propelling Showtime to their second highest ratings in 2012, with her March 3 bout against Miesha Tate — which was one of the most entertaining MMA bouts so far this year.
Rousey’s 54-second destruction of Sarah Kaufman was fun to watch as well.
At this point, it’s hard to deny the fact that Rousey puts on an entertaining show every time she steps inside the cage, and her UFC debut against Carmouche shouldn’t be any different.
Even though Ronda Rousey is a huge favorite going into her first UFC title defense against Carmouche, it’s hard to see the latter going down without a fight. Liz is a solid bantamweight, and she’ll be motivated to make a name for herself by ruining Rousey’s coming out party.
Like it or not, the decision to make Rousey vs. Carmouche the main event of the UFC 157 fight card is the right move, as it features two competitors who are looking to prove that they belong with the big boys in the promotion. With Ronda’s ability to sell fights, UFC 157 should generate higher pay-per-view numbers than any card Henderson or Machida have headlined in the past.
I can’t remember ever watching a UFC event where a non-title fight was placed ahead of a championship bout, and I don’t see why that should change just because the competitors are women.