For the first time in her mixed martial arts career, Ronda Rousey is listed as less than a two-to-one betting favorite to emerge from her upcoming fight victorious. Considering the rocky path Rousey has walked down since her 2015 loss to Holly Holm, UFC analyst and color commentator Dan Hardy can understand exactly where the oddsmakers are coming from.
“The interesting thing is Ronda’s mindset,” Hardy said recently on The MMA Hour. “You’ve got to think, she’s been away for some time, and the last time she stepped onto that canvas, it was a very traumatic experience for her, which has been relived over and over again.
“It was interesting, the early adverts for the fight also showed the knockout, which now they don’t. It raises a lot of questions as to where Ronda is psychologically.”
The former bantamweight champion – Rousey, 29, was riding high as one of the biggest mainstream stars the sport had ever seen prior to her her loss to Holm at UFC 193. Her list of accomplishments was remarkable. She had blazed a trail for women to compete in the UFC, won 11 of her 12 professional bouts inside the first round, and dominated her competition, her division was close to being cleaned out when Holm and Rousey landed in Melbourne, Australia last November.
But then Holm shocked the world, dominating and then landing a head-kick which knocked Rousey out cold. It is by far the biggest upset in the sports history. After the loss, Rousey completely hid herself. The former champion became a recluse, removing herself almost entirely from the public spotlight overnight.
That hasn’t changed much in the lead-up to her return either, as Rousey has blacklisted all forms of MMA media and only given interviews to a few late-night talk shows.
Dan Hardy says “If she comes in absolutely fierce and tries to bully Amanda Nunes early on, then it may go her way again,” Hardy said. “She may be able to overwhelm Amanda Nunes. But if she comes in timid and allows Amanda to find her rhythm and start letting her hands go, then every time she locks up, Amanda is going to be prepared to defend that takedown. And that’s when Ronda is going to start to struggle.
“It’s imperative that she comes in with confidence, and if she doesn’t, that’s when the tides are going to turn for her. That’s the question. We just don’t know where her confidence is at.”
Is Ronda Rousey going to come back with the same confidence? Or is her head not truly in the game anymore? Let us know in the comments below.