UFC: 'Rowdy' Ronda Rousey, a Trailblazing Exit from the Octagon 1
December 30, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ronda Rousey leaves with her mother AnnMaria De Mars follwing her loss against Amanda Nunes during UFC 207 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Will a second straight loss for Ronda Rousey, MMA Superstar, mark the end of her fighting career? If so, other opportunities are available.

Last Night, Ronda Rousey’s career may have ended just like it began, brash and violent. Amanda Nunes delivered an onslaught of strikes to stop Rousey in forty-eight seconds. Nunes made it very clear that the changing of the guard had to take place, and it was her “moment.” This was the second loss for Ronda, who lost to Holly Holm in November 2015 in a similar fashion.

During the Holm fight, Rousey became frustrated at the fact that she was unable to get Holly in a position to submit her. Early in the second round, Holm was able to play to her strengths and land vicious shots, stopping Rousey for the first time in her career. With Nunes, Ronda looked stiff and uncomfortable in the octagon. A sign that her psyche may still be broken from the Holm loss.

If this is the end, Ronda Rousey deserves her proper due. If Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg laid the ground work for women in MMA, then Rousey took it to an astronomical level. A trailblazer in the world of MMA, Rousey was the first female fighter to be signed by Dana White of the UFC, after a successful stint in Strikeforce.

Prior to the Holm loss, Rousey was on a six fight winning streak,  the longest streak in the UFC. This streak include wins over former UFC/Strikeforce Champion, Miesha Tate. Tate, who beat Holly Holm during her first title defense, would later lose the title to Nunes. Miesha  retired earlier this year after her loss at UFC 205.

Ronda Rousey’s impact on the world of female MMA can be equated to the influence Tiger Woods has on the world of golf. Like Tiger, a new generation of athlete is being developed because of the success they have achieved. Paige VanZant, for instance, saw her promising fighting career open up the door for a stint on “Dancing with the Stars,” an opportunity that may not have existed without Rousey leading the way.

December 30, 2016; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Ronda Rousey reacts after a TKO by Amanda Nunes (not pictured) during UFC 207 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

People may look at the movie deals, the WWE spots, the ESPN Body Issue, an autobiography, and a hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live,” and see a person more focused on her brand then on her MMA.

This is simply not true, Rousey has lived in the fighting world from a very young age. She began her career as a Judo prodigy, eventually reaching the pinnacle of the sport and winning a Bronze medal at the games in Beijing. The first for the USA in the sport since it was added to the Olympics in 1992.

The fall of legends in the UFC is not uncommon. In fact, it is rare for a fighter to leave the sport on their own terms. Royce Gracie, Chuck Liddell, Anderson Silva and Ken Shamrock, all have devastating losses on their iconic resumes towards the end of their careers. Royce Gracie, who could be considered the “Godfather” of MMA, brought jiu-jitsu to the masses during the UFC’s inaugural years, and may be the only person to do more for the sport then Rousey.

That’s quite the compliment to Rousey.

While you may be able to go to any major city and find a Gracie gym, it was Rousey that took MMA to Hollywood. With branding being so important to a fighter’s wallet, Ronda has developed a diverse portfolio including large endorsement deals, movie roles, and a successful modeling career. Her cameo in “The Expendables 3,” led to a more prominent role in the “Entourage” movie, which led to a starring role in the remake of the Patrick Swayze classic, “Road House.”

Even if last night marks the last time we will see Ronda exit the octagon, be sure, this will not be the last time you see her. The movie roles, the WWE appearances, the insight to the growing sport of MMA, will continue to roll in. Though the few years she dominated the sport may seem brief, the impact not only on female fighters, but male fighters as well, cannot be understated. Self-promotion has become required for a MMA fighter to become a superstar, and if Connor McGregor does it best, Ronda did it first.

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