The Rise and Rise of Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey-fever hits Melbourne again as the mixed-martial-arts fighter returns to defend her bantamweight title against Holly Holm on November 15, at the Etihad Stadium. Just last month around 1000 fans attended the media conference just to see fighter talk. A testament to her rising popularity, it’s no secret she is one of the most talked about athletes this year.

She is undefeated in 12 of her professional fights, 11 of those she won in the first round and 9 via armbar submission.

Rousey comes from a judo fighting style background

Dubbed “The Arm Collector,” Rousey has a reputation for defeating her opponents in very quick fashion. She made headlines defeating challenger Cat Zingano in 14 seconds. The shortest fight in UFC Championship history.

“If i make the the fight fast that means i like you. Thats me at my most merciful” — Rousey, on Jimmy Kimmel Live back in July.

If all 12 of Rousey’s fights were fought at the maximum of five minutes per round, the most time she would’ve been in the cage is four hours and 10 minutes. Instead her total fight time thus far equates to a mere 25 minutes and and 36 seconds. She’s won eight fights in under one minute and only been taken beyond the first round once; by arguably her only competitive rival Miesha Tate.

From top to bottom the methodical list of opponents Rousey fought and their fight time. *The colour coding follows the first graph.

Rousey announced on The Ellen DeGeneres Show her position as the highest paid UFC fighter male or female. She is also the first American to win an Olympic medal in judo at Beijing Olympics in 2008. As well as starring in box-office films The Expendables 3, Furious 7 and Entourage, Rousey has also featured in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. Most recently she won two ESPYs. One for ‘Fighter of the Year’ notably beating Floyd Mayweather (who had earlier in the year defeated Manny Pacquio, in what was billed as ‘The Fight of the Century’) and the second for ‘Best Female Athlete’ edging out Serena Williams (who came off a stellar season, capturing her second career “Serena Slam”). Simply put she’s a very decorated athlete on and off the arena.

But what the facts and statistics don’t show you is her very cool and down to earth personality. She is confident, intelligent and is not afraid to speak her mind. Aside from dislocating her opponents limbs she also likes to indulge in some Pokémon, Mario Cart, Dragonball Z and World of Warcraft.

In the span of five years she’s managed to attain a high celebrity status. (View a timeline overview on the life of Ronda Rousey)

UFCs biggest star, Rousey, has been credited for the sudden rise in popularity for the sport.

The current UFC attendance record is 55,724, where Georges St-Pierre fought Jake Shields in April 2011 .UFC President Dana White is optimistic Rousey's star power can fill the 70,000 seats at the Etihad Stadium, setting a new record. In addition the pay-per-view event is the first time two women’s fights headline as the main events.

“I think that how much you get paid should do with something about how much money you bring in. I’m the highest paid fighter not because Dana and Lorenzo wanted to do something nice for the ladies. They do it because i bring in the highest numbers, they do it because i make them the most money” — Rousey at the media conference in Melbourne last month.

The underdog in this Cinderella story is Holly Holm, Rousey’s next opponent. Holm boasts 19 world boxing titles (before she transitioned to MMA in 2011) and a nine match winning streak coming into the bout.

“You have to walk in there believing in yourself… if you don’t feel like you can do it then you shouldn't even be there — because you’ve already lost mentally, don’t expect to win the fight,” said Holm.

Rousey maintains she will beat Holm.

“I can’t be really aggressive right away because Holly’s a counterpuncher. She has a reach advantage on me and she's the kind of person i have to be a lot more careful with and a lot more methodical and set things up. That being said she’s the 19 time boxing world champion, not MMA world champion and i believe that i’m better than every other girl in every area of MMA. MMA striking is different and i believe i’m the best at it”

Sportsbet places odds for Rousey to win at $1.08 while Holm sits at distant $9.30.

With each victory the pool of competition in the bantamweight division grows thinner and Rousey continues to rise. Nobody wants to entertain the thought of her actually losing. Holm summaries it like this: “Is it tough to beat her? Absolutely, I think everybody has tried to bring their best game. But on the flip-side everybody is beatable. Everyone is human and everybody is beatable.”

Arguably, the last time Rousey was beaten was back in her judo days by German Edith Bosch.

That being said Rousey isn’t your typical female athlete. Unbeaten in MMA, with success pouring out every direction: Into the UFC, the professional sports community, movies, in your lounge room; though her talk shows appearances, covers in multiple magazines resulting in multiple accolades including, The ‘first women’s this and the first female that’. There is no refund for her achievements that win or lose her success speaks for itself and she will rise regardless.

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