On November 14, UFC’s biggest star fell from stardom. On that night Ronda Rousey (12-1) suffered her first loss in a brutal beatdown by Holly Holm (10-0). UFC’s main attraction and most invincible superstar was conquered in a fight that left not only her face blemished, but her image as well.
The perception of reality changed for many after this fight. Gone is the champion who was untouchable and undoubtedly the superior woman in any contest. The immortality attached to Ronda Rousey’s career is gone and so is the glamour of greatness, for now.
The Pay-Per-View event, UFC 193 featured various fights, but the main event was viewed as a stage set for what was believed to be another stepping stone for Ronda Rousey and her continued dominance. The four previous main card fights were enjoyable and competitive, but none presented the change in atmosphere the way the Rousey and Holm fight did.
Holly Holm made her entrance first with folk song “The Landlord’s Walk” as her walkout song. Next, Ronda Rousey made her entrance with her usual “Bad Reputation” walkout song, which she has personified through her unapologetic and confident attitude for the duration of her career.
Rousey had taken no longer than 30 seconds to defeat each of her previous opponents and was heavily favored by the public going in. The perception was that this fight would be another quick win, or (at its worst) a challenging win for her camp.
Round 1: Rousey initiated the action with an aggressive game plan. Rousey bounced towards Holm from the start with an eagerness to inflict damage. Holm’s plan seemed clear from the start: wait for Rousey to charge and pick her apart. As Rousey opened up to attack, Holm waited patiently and struck Rousey with multiple clean hits. With one clean punch in particular, Holm drew blood from her opponent’s nose. The narrative had changed from whether or not Holm would survive a full first round to whether Rousey could keep herself from being dominated.
Round 2: Holm was in control of the first round and did not slow down in the second round. Holm’s counterpunches left Rousey looking dazed and desperate to counter, but to no avail. Holm caught Rousey with a powerful kick to the face, bringing the champion to the floor where Holm pounced on her to finish the job with a few blows to the face.
Result: Holly Holm won the fight in the knockout and Rousey could do nothing to stop her.
Rousey was sold to the public as a fighter who could defeat anyone, anywhere, anytime. She was given a connotation of immortality and did not shy away from accepting that persona. After finally being humbled by an opponent, she must now find herself once again, and determine who she will be going forward. After experiencing failure, one can either crumble in misery, or choose to benefit from the lessons learned. An important decision looms for Rousey, but it is not a matter of if, but when she will rise again.