After becoming a UFC champion, the career path for an American and a Brazilian fighter differs greatly. Americans enjoy the privilege of defending their titles on home soil meanwhile the vast majority of Brazilians fight away from home in North America, usually in front of a home crowd for the challenger.

The major reason for this is that the UFC is an American organization, therefore, a majority of their events take place in North America. There were only seven events in Brazil in 2014, with only one being a title fight, Jose Aldo’s successful title defense over Chad Mendes was the lone championship bout in the heart of Brazil. This number seems a little low when you consider the number of highly ranked Brazilians competing.

What’s baffling is why more American champions don’t do what Ronda Rousey did this past weekend and take the opportunity to venture in to murky waters, truly challenge themselves and defend their belt against Brazilian challengers in Brazil. It’s this kind of brave undertaking that separates the legends from the champions.

Showing tremendous courage is not the only benefit of going south, it also exposes a fighters brand to a whole new market – just look at the way Rousey was received by the adoring Brazilian fans. Over the past week, her fan base in Brazil will have grown vastly.

Other (former) male American champs have had the opportunity. Half of Jon Jones’ eight title defences have come against Brazilians, but each time the bouts have been in North America. Similarly, since first becoming champ, Cain Velasquez has faced a Brazilian five times – none have played out in Brazil.

Both of these former champs have dreams of being the greatest of all time, however they’ve not even left their own back garden. To truly realize their greatness, they must stare down the barrel of the gun, feel the intimidation of a foreign crowd screaming for their Brazilian compatriot and still win. A victory in these conditions would be far more impressive than another one in front of a home crowd in Vegas.

Meanwhile, the Brazilians are doing just this time after time. Anderson Silva, Jose Aldo and Renan Barao have between them made twenty five title defences. Out of those 25 title fights, 20 of them have taken place outside of Brazil. At the same time, after tallying up the defenses of Jones, Velasquez, Chris Weidman and Dominick Cruz, you’ll find that every single title defense occurred in North America.

Bluntly, the American champions have a far easier time of it than the Brazilians.

It’s unsurprising that the fighter with the spirit to venture in to Brazil with the belt strapped firmly round her waist is Rousey .

Once again, she’s showing the men how it’s done.

About The Author

Barnaby Kellaway
Staff Writer

Barnaby Kellaway is a sports journalist specializing in Mixed Martial Arts. Being a sports fanatic all his life, he knew whatever career he aspired to it had to be in sports. Being a Brit he started with football and rugby but then a few years back he discovered MMA; this was when his aspiration became his focus. He studied from the basics all the way up to the most minute intricacies of the sport and now finds himself in a position where writing about it is his passion.

  • Buck Buckerson

    How many times has Aldo pulled out of a fight and then had it rescheduled for Brazil? The best place to have title fights is in Vegas because everything is pretty neutral. If you go to Brazil you are in a country that is hostile to outsiders–and you end up with some really suspect decisions (which can happen anywhere, but the term ‘Brazilian Decision’ didn’t just materialize out of thin air).

    All that aside, this article is completely ridiculous. Rousey is willing to do what other fighters aren’t? REALLY? She has fought outside of the US twice, one of those times she was in Canada. She fought ONCE in Brazil and suddenly she’s some pioneer?

    First of all, Aldo has defended his belt in three countries. Most fighters in the UFC have fought in another country. Some in Asia. Where are their articles?

    The reason Rousey fought in Brazil is because it was a chance for her to headline a DOA card where she could be the main attraction against a Brazilian opponent who everyone in the world knew she’d thoroughly trounce. Most fighters defend belts in Vegas because, not only is it neutral, but Vegas cards earn the most money.

    But she fought in Brazil once so she’s a real trailblazer.