It was the knockout felt round the world.
At UFC 193,Holly Holm stepped into the cage with Ronda Rousey. At stake was the Women’s Bantamweight Championship belt.
Tension between Rousey and Holm had already been high in the weeks leading up to the fight. Rousey in particular seemed prone to spouting off with her signature brash in-your- face confidence (or, as many people felt, arrogance). Insults were exchanged at the weigh-in, and it seemed that the rivals nearly came to blows then. At the start of the fight, Rousey refused to touch gloves when Holm offered.
Spectators across the globe geared themselves for a tremendous fight. They got it– but not in the way many were expecting.
Holm danced around Rousey the first round, controlling the distance and evading an arm bar. The bell saw Rousey return to her corner bloodied. At just under a minute into the second round, Holm landed abeautifully timed left kick straight to the side of Rousey’s face.
Rousey dropped. Holm lunged in to deliver a few more blows on the ground before the ref intervened. It was a clean KO. Holm, the underdog going in, emerged the new women’s Bantamweight Champion.
UFC 193 was over a year ago. The shock of her first career loss, more than the kick to the face and ensuing stitches, seemed to have rocked Rousey (Holm, for her part, handled the win with grace and humility). Speculation abounded as to what the loss meant for Rousey’s future in MMA.
Rousey herself was uncharacteristically silent. The first update from the dethroned champion came nearly a month after the match, when she revealed she was still feeling the effects of the knockout blow.
“It might be three to six weeks before I can eat an apple, let alone take an impact,” Rousey is quoted as saying, and, “I’m just so [expletive] sad.”
She kept an unusually low profile for some time after. It wasn’t until February 2016 that Fox Sports’ website reported her first documented training session with coaches since the loss. She did some modeling work and appeared in a few films. But she did not compete.
Rousey wanted a chance to fight Holm again, for revenge or redemption, and to reclaim her belt. However, she’s lost that chance several times over – in March of this year, Holm lost the belt to Miesha Tate, who four months later lost it to Brazilian fighter Amanda Nunes. Nunes, nicknamed “The Lioness,” has a 13-4 professional fight record, with nine of those wins coming from KOs or TKOs, three submissions, and one decision.
And now, after a long hiatus, Rousey is finally getting back into the action. On Dec. 30 th , she’s slated to face Nunes at UFC 207 in Las Vegas. If things go as planned, she’ll have the chance to get title and Championship Belt back.
Love Rousey or hate her, there’s no denying she’s an extremely talented and exciting fighter (as is Nunes), and with the emotions behind it on both sides, it should be nothing short of an exhilarating fight. For Rousey, a win could be a triumphant reentry to her dominance in the sport. Another loss—who knows? She’s only had one before, and its aftereffects are still playing out.
Are you Team Rousey or Team Nunes? Let us know in the comments!