UFC: Ranking Ronda Rousey’s Title Defenses
On Saturday, November 14, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will put her title on the line against No. 7 ranked Holly Holm. The fight will headline UFC 193, which will take place at the 70,000 seat Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The UFC expects the event to break the promotion’s attendance record. That, in a nutshell, displays the star power of the 28-year-old Rousey.
Rousey will bring an undefeated record of 12-0 with her into the Octagon in Australia. Holm, also undefeated as a professional mixed martial artist, is 7-0. As for total fight time, that’s where Rousey separates herself from Holm, and pretty much any fighter that has every competed. Over the course of her 12 fights, Rousey has spent a total of 25:36 in the cage. Holm has spent more time than that in the Octagon in her last two fights alone, going the 15-minute distance in both fights.
The fight against Holm will be Rousey’s seventh defense of her UFC title, a title she was awarded, in December 2012, after the UFC absorbed Strikeforce, the promotion she was champion of at the time. Her first title defense took place in February 2013, Rousey won that fight against Liz Carmouche by submission. Rousey’s most recent title defense was her August 2015 knockout over Bethe Correia.
At this time, it’s hard to compare Rousey to any other women fighting in the UFC; she’s that dominant. So, instead of comparing her to other fighters, we will compare her to herself. Read on to find out how Rousey’s six title defenses stack up against one another.
6. UFC 170: Rousey vs. McMann
Ronda Rousey entered this February 2014 fight with a record of 8-0. McMann came into the Octagon that night with a perfect 7-0 record and ranked No. 4 in the UFC women’s bantamweight division.
When the fight began, Rousey and McMann came to the center of the Octagon, and each looked to land punches. It appeared that McMann got the better of Rousey in those exchanges. However, McMann was unable to capitalize on that momentum, and Rousey pushed her against the cage.
Once against the fence, the two briefly fought for position, until Rousey started to open up with her strikes. The champion used knees, elbows and punches to soften up her opponent. The final blow came when Rousey landed a knee to the liver of McMann. The shot dropped McMann to the ground, and referee Herb Dean, seeing that McMann was not defending herself, waved the fight off.
The final time of the fight 1:06 of the first round. Rousey received a $50,000 “Performance of the Night” bonus for the win.
5. UFC 190: Rousey vs. Correia
Ronda Rousey’s most recent title defense took place in Brazil, the home country of her opponent, No. 5 ranked Bethe Correia. Rousey (11-0) entered the fight as a huge favorite, even though her opponent was also undefeated (9-0) at the time.
This one probably had the nastiest lead-up to a Rousey title fight. It got ugly. It got personal. It was a fight that Rousey promised she would not finish fast, saying that she wanted to punish Correia for her pre-fight comments.
The two started throwing leather early, and Rousey showed a willingness to take a shot to give a shot, standing almost totally upright while the two fought at distance. When Rousey closed that distance and got the clinch, she delivered solid uppercuts. Correia briefly hit the ground from those shots, and somewhat surprisingly, Rousey did not follow her to the mat. Instead, the champion waited for Correia to regain her feet and backed the challenger into the fence. From there, Rousey threw punches from in close, landed a knee, and followed up with more punches that had Correia looking for a way out. There wasn’t one, and Correia dropped face first to the mat. The fight was over in 34 seconds.
Rousey was awarded a “Performance of the Night” bonus for her win.
4. UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano
No. 1 ranked Cat Zingano (9-0) was heralded as a tough test for Ronda Rousey (10-0) heading into this fight, but that didn’t keep oddsmakers from making Rousey an overwhelming pre-fight favorite.
When the fight began, Zingano rushed forward and looked to throw a knee. Rousey sidestepped the strike with ease. Zingano may not have landed the strike, but she was aware of her position and reached out to lock up a headlock, but Rousey was too quick and too experienced through her judo background to allow Zingano to gain control. Instead, as the fighters fell to the mat, Rousey grabbed a headlock of her own, rolled through, and trapped Zingano’s arm. Rousey then locked in a straight armbar, which immediately caused the challenger to tap.
Rousey’s victory, in 14 seconds, stands as the fastest submission in UFC title fight history. Rousey was awarded a “Performance of the Night” bonus for her win.
3. UFC 175: Rousey vs. Davis
Coming into this fight, Rousey was 9-0, while her opponent, ranked No. 2 at the time, was 16-5.
The two fighters met in the center of the Octagon and immediately exchanged punches. Davis landed a jab to the head of Rousey, but Rousey landed a right that allowed her to close the distance. Once inside, Rousey threw a knee to the body of Davis.
That knee gave Rousey enough time to step into a throw. Once Rousey had Davis on the ground, and in a headlock position, she used her free hand to land punch after punch to the head of Davis. It didn’t take long for referee Yves Lavigne to know Davis had absorbed enough punishment, and he waved off the fight. Davis still stunned, tried to wrestle the referee, who repeatedly told her, “the fight is over” as Rousey celebrated her victory.
The fight had taken only 16 seconds, and it earned Rousey yet another “Performance of the Night” bonus.
2. UFC 168: Rousey vs. Tate
This fight was a rematch. Rousey had won the first meeting, which took place in 2012, taking Tate’s Strikeforce title with a first-round armbar submission. Adding to the tension, this matchup came after a highly competitive and highly contentious season of The Ultimate Fighter where the two women coached opposing teams.
On the broadcast, UFC commentator Joe Rogan called it, “the most anticipated rematch in the history of women’s mixed martial arts.”
Tate was ranked No. 2 at the time of the fight and sported a 13-4 record. Rousey was a perfect 7-0. The two did not touch gloves to start of this fight. The first two rounds were a mixture of strikes and throws, with Rousey continuously looking to get the fight to the mat where she could lock up her signature armbar submission. Tate held her own but was never really in control of the fight.
When the fight got to the third round, Tate was bloodied, but not beaten. That would change just 58 seconds into the round when Rousey was able to finally get the armbar and force the challenger to tap. Tate reached out to shake the hand of the victor, but Rousey glanced up and just walked toward her corner, bringing boos from the crowd. Rousey said she refused the handshake because Tate insulted her family.
The fight won “Submission of the Night” honors for Rousey and the two combatants shared “Fight of the Night” honors.
1. UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche
This was Ronda Rousey’s first fight inside the UFC Octagon. It was a fight that was going to make or break the women’s division in the UFC, had Rousey lost, the odds of the UFC scrapping the women’s division were high. At the time of the fight, Rousey was 6-0. Her opponent, Liz Carmouche entered the fight with a record of 7-2.
Rousey was quick to force the fight to the cage. The champion then used her power to force Carmouche to the ground, where Rousey worked to isolate Carmouche’s arm. While Rousey looked to secure the armbar, Carmouche transitioned to Rousey’s back. Rousey got to her feet while Carmouche, still riding Rousey’s back, locked in a very tight face crank. It looked like Rousey was in big trouble, but she was able to shake Carmouche free.
With Carmouche off her back, Rousey moved into top position on the ground. After a brief scramble, Rousey was able to transition into an armbar. Carmouche did her best to defend the hold, but she eventually broke and Rousey leaned back and locked in the submission.
It was an excellent fight that introduced UFC fans to the women’s division.