Around midday, the iPhone in my pocket started to vibrate.

With a fresh work week upon us, the buzz of Holly Holm still had not ended. After all, she did dethrone Ronda Rousey to become the new UFC women’s bantamweight champion in stylist fashion. That vicious head kick is still ingrained in the back of my mind. A part of me still can’t believe it happened.

As I glanced down at my screen, I read the question from a lifelong friend, “Will Rousey ever regain the title?”.

My response back to my friend, who’s now living in Montana was swift and simple.

“No”.

But after clicking the send button, I wasn’t so sure.

I thought. Then, I thought some more.

Unsure, I began revisiting the fight in my mind. What could Rousey have done to defeat Holm at UFC 193? If they met again, which I believe they will, could she regain the title she so easily defended six consecutive times? What went wrong for Rousey on fight night? Questions began flooding every ounce of my body.

So, let’s truthfully ask ourselves, can Rousey regain the title?

I do believe Rousey can return to stardom, but it won’t be easy. Now that Holm has tasted and felt the life of UFC gold, the strap will be even more laborious to obtain. But if Rousey has the desire to battle back, her approach in the rematch will have to be much different.

Since entering the sport, Rousey was been highly regarded as a one-trick pony. Many believed she had nothing in her repertoire outside of the armbar. Even when her opponents knew it was coming, Rousey’s armbar simply could not be stopped.

Rousey would armbar the likes of Liz Carmouche and Miesha Tate, both respectable and more than game opponents. But as time progressed, the “one-trick pony” began to develop additional areas of her game. Now, instead of forcing her opponents to tap to prevent a broken arm, she began knocking them out.

One by one, they started to fall.

Sara McMann, the wrestler that would surely test Rousey’s ground skills fell in just a minute and six seconds.

Alexis Davis would embarrassingly get finished in 16 seconds, the amount of time it takes one yawn.

Let us not forget the dismantling of Bethe Correia in just 34 ticks off the clock.

Over time, Rousey was no longer one-dimensional, but rather the most dangerous woman in the world. She was now the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world. Not only could she submit her opponents at will, she could knock them out cold. It seemed as though Rousey chose her route of victory before Bruce Buffer finished bellowing her name.

But that all changed when Holm came to town. Or, Melbourne, Australia, for those who like to be politically correct.

Rousey may have been able to pick apart previous opponents, but not this time around. Holm was much different. Not only was she physically prepared after having gone through the most rigorous camp of her career, she was mentally assembled. It showed early on. Rousey on the other hand was not.

Ronda Rousey (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Ronda Rousey (Dave Mandel/Sherdog)

Instead of tying up in the clinch, Rousey seemed content with standing and exchanging with the former 19-time boxing champion. It may have worked with Correia, but Holm was peppering “Rowdy” in every exchange. Soon the blood and the bruising came, but still, Rousey stood and traded with “The Preacher’s Daughter”.

At the end of the opening round, Rousey was so fatigue, she didn’t have the energy to take the fight where she wanted to take it. She was literally hanging on by a thread. The hype train was about to come crashing to the ground. Then, just 59 seconds into the second round, Rousey went tumbling face first into the ground.

It was over.

But even the likes of Georges St-Pierre fell by way of knockout. Anderson Silva was another.

If Rousey wants to put the sole loss of her career behind her, she’ll need to revisit her roots, the part of her game that got her to the UFC to begin with.

FIGHTER KD SIG. STR. SIG. STR. % TOTAL STR. TD % TD % SUB. ATT PASS REV.
ROUND 1

Ronda Rousey

Holly Holm

0

0

15 of 50

27 of 40

30%

67%

19 of 54

27 of 40

0 of 1

1 of 1

0%

100%

0

0

0

0

0

0

ROUND 2

Ronda Rousey

Holly Holm

0

1

2 of 15

11 of 13

13%

84%

2 of 15

11 of 13

0 of 0

0 of 0

0%

0%

0

0

0

0

0

0

Rather than standing and exchanging with the best the women’s division has to offer, Rousey will need to grind out in the clinch, and eventually work Holm to the ground. I know, that’s easier said than done, but it can be done.

Numbers never lie. Rousey was simply outclassed on her feet, connecting on just 26% of her strikes through the time she was finished. Despite losing position, Rousey did take Holm’s back for a brief moment, but failed to revisit the clinch and the takedown.

If Rousey stands and trades with Holm, expect a similar outcome. It will almost mimic the second meeting between T.J. Dillashaw and Renan Barao at UFC on FOX 16. But, if Rousey can work her way inside of Holm’s range, it immediately becomes a much different fight. The type of fight Rousey thrives in.

The truest test of a champion is not whether they can triumph, but whether he or she can overcome obstacles. Rousey has an enormous obstacle in front of her.

It won’t be easy, but if Rousey rededicates herself to the sport, she can reunite with the bantamweight title.