Sunday, January 1, 2017

(sports) UFC: Is Ronda Rousey's MMA career over?

After falling victim to another crushing and comprehensive striking clinic this time at the hands of  UFC women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, much lip service and keyboard pressing has been donated to the question whether her career was over and the consensus was overwhelmingly yes. 

On the face, it seems a fool's errand to argue otherwise given questions about Rousey's commitment to MMA given the myriad of  opportunities available to her outside the sport and the fact that Rousey has been severely outclassed twice in her last two bouts with both Holm and Nunes exploiting Rousey's bad footwork and poor head movement which would make promoting Rousey's next fight a real tough sell for the UFC. 

However, the only  argument that has any credence is that Rousey is now part of an improving women's bantamweight division at a time when her skillset has stagnated which. No one (and I mean no one) thought Rousey could compete with Nunes on the feet as Nunes is by far the superior striker and showed as much last night as Rousey seems unable to adjust or weather the barrage of strikes thrown her way by a ferocious Nunes. 

What was worrying however is that Rousey was making the same  technical mistakes (poor head movement, poor guard, bad footwork etc) she made during her crushing defeat to Holly Holm in Australia a year ago. Many have rightly pointed the finger at her much maligned coach Edmund Taverdyan who has been accused by many, including Rousey's mother, of being a terrible coach. 

Rousey looked like she was going lose the fight from the first clean punch she took and as the fight continued, it was painfully clear that she had neither tools or ability to avoid or stop the onslaught unleashed by Nunes.When a fighter has a gaping hole in their skillset, it's the coach's job to either fill the hole with or add another skillset to their fighter's game that at offsets the downsides associated with the weakness and this clearly didn't happen within the year Taverdyan had with Rousey to make sure his charge wasn't embarrassed so publicly again. 
Rousey may well quit MMA but if she plans to make another comeback, she has to make it without Taverdyan or face the ignomy and ridicule of three very embarrassing losses at the highest level. There is no shortage of world class coaches who could help Rousey at the very least address weaknesses in her striking such as the brilliant Rafael Cordeiro or Mark Henry or gyms that can help her become a more complete martial artist such as Tristar in Canada headed by the much respected Firas Zahabi or the Jackson Wink Academy headed by two excellent coaches in Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn in New Mexico. 

Such a move would be a step in the right direction and would show that Rousey is looking to learn from her mistakes but given Rousey's stated premium on loyalty and propensity to take losses personally rather than learn from them, such a move looks unlikely to say the least.   

In sum, despite the industry wide consensus, Rousey can definitely comeback though her star power diminished but to so she may have to make changes, changes that elude her and leave what was once the brightest star in UFC's vast constellation a dimmer and less intriguing version of herself.

No comments:

Post a Comment


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...