The night was February 23, 2013. That is the day the sport of mixed martial arts changed forever….and not just women’s mixed martial arts, but the sport as a whole. It was on this night that the first ever UFC women’s fight took place, with “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey defending her bantamweight championship against challenger Liz Carmouche in the historic UFC 157 main event.
Ronda Rousey would make short work of Carmouche, earning the armbar submission victory in the first round. And save Miesha Tate, Rousey would go on to make even shorter work of her other world title defenses on her journey to megastardom. It is fair to say that at one point, Rousey was hands down the biggest star in the entire promotion male or female, and with her title reign beginning only at 26 years of age, the world was seemingly at her feet for years to come.
Meanwhile, Rousey’s first title opponent, Liz Carmouche, was three years her elder and just the first rung on Rousey’s meteoric rise. And yet, here we are, 2019, and only of the two women is in a position to have UFC gold around her waist tomorrow night, while the other appears to be settled into retirement. Who would have thought that between the two, the title challenger would be Liz Carmouche and the retired fighter would be Ronda Rousey? Liz Carmouche would have; that’s who:
“No, I’m not surprised. I’m really not,” Carmouche told ESPN of Ronda Rousey’s decision to retire from MMA. “Because I knew, her going into it, she had an image of what she pictured the fights for her to go like, and none of which included a loss of any sort. So to have two losses the way she did, I think that that debunked the theories that she had for herself and how she pictured her fights going. And when it didn’t go in that way, she didn’t prepare any other way. So I don’t think she was invested in having a loss on her record. So I wasn’t surprised at all that she didn’t continue on.”
Were you surprised at Ronda Rousey’s apparent (yet still unofficial) retirement from mixed martial arts?