Ronda Rousey is fighting Julia Budd this friday, and you better enjoy it while you can. Not only has Ronda cemented a reputation for finishing faster than Junior Dos Santos, she also doesn’t plan on spending the rest of her life rattling around the MMA scene.
In a conversation with USA Today, she said she saw her career lasting something like four years. Not a bad estimate considering we’ve noticed a trend of fighters rising and falling over that general timeperiod. Any fighter who hasn’t thought about what happens past that is liable to find themselves 35, broke, and being fed to the next generation.
Hopefully before she leaves, she’ll force women’s MMA to evolve to the next level. If her opponents don’t learn what she’s up to quickly, she’s liable to take ALL THE BELTS off the strength of her transitions from throws to submissions. Here she is talking about her current bread and butter finish: the harai goshi to armbar.
You keep winning your fights with variations of the same move. Why do you think opponents keep leaving their arms out there?
They’re not leaving their arms out there. I try to create reactions in people. If you know how people will react to something that you do, you can kind of predict it. It’s very hard to describe, the way that you’re fighting. It’s like thinking without thinking. They’re specifically walking in there thinking about not getting armbarred, but I feel like I know what things to do to create the reactions I want.
But they train too. Presumably they train armbar defenses. Is there a common vulnerability that you see? Are they just not familiar with judo newaza?
Judo is a very different style. Jiu-jitsu, they don’t concentrate so much on the taking down and then starting part. They start on the ground. Wrestling, they don’t really focus on submissions so much. I think judo is one of the very few grappling arts that deals with as soon as the takedown happens, you have to go straight to submissions. I don’t think that any of these other girls are used to transitioning from standing to ground as quickly as I am.
Even among judokas who have gone into MMA and are very good with throws, there aren’t many who go right into a submission the way you do. Why do you think that isn’t seen much?
For a judo player, I had a very, very strange style. I was always very ground oriented. My mom, she blew out both of her knees while she was competing. She probably won only two matches in her whole life by throws. She won all of her fights on the ground because she couldn’t stand up, really. She had me drilling, doing mostly a ground-based game and teaching me armbars when I was 12, 13 years old. I tore out my knee when I was 16. Almost for that whole year, I just predominantly did all ground stuff.
When I continued on later, I was training with the Pedros in Boston. They’re also known for being more of a matwork-dominated judo style. So I had a very unique style of judo that I was lucky enough that applied very well to MMA.
I’ve also included a video of Ronda talking to Ariel Helwani about dropping down to 135 and taking the belt off Miesha Tate. With Gina Carano waffling on her return, there’s not a hell of a lot to do at 145 other than fight Cris Cyborg. Since that’s the one opponent Ronda seems a bit hesitant to fight, perhaps a diversion down to 135 to beat up on the smaller women could be fun.