Ronda Rousey put on as dynamic a performance as a fighter can jam into 30 seconds. She was steely-eyed focused. She was a bundle of forward-moving energy.
What a walkout it was on Saturday night. From the moment Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” began blaring and the women’s bantamweight champion appeared under the spotlights at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, headed from backstage to the octagon, the UFC 175 crowd was captivated.
Oh, the fight? That was considerably shorter and less eventful.
Here’s how the evening’s co-main event went down, in case you were stuck in the kitchen nuking a plate of hot wings: Rousey rushed from her corner and stepped right into the pocket with Alexis Davis, traded a few shots, landed an overhand right that rattled the challenger’s cage, then a knee to the midsection, then sent her flying onto her back with a judo throw.
The building went electric as Rousey immobilized Davis (16-6) on the canvas and pummeled her with nine hard right hands to the face before referee Yves Lavigne mercifully jumped in ... after 16 seconds.
Somewhere, Cris “Cyborg” Justino snickered. It’s getting increasingly difficult for the UFC to sell us on there being a woman on its 135-pound roster who can hang with “Rowdy Ronda.” The 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist remained undefeated (10-0) and largely unchallenged. This was her fastest finish ever, but her seventh within a minute. And perhaps of greatest concern to those women who plan to step into the cage with Rousey, it was her second straight victory in which her vaunted armbar never needed to come out of the holster.
“I box six days a week, and I grapple and wrestle four days a week altogether,” the 27-year-old said of her training. “I have more to catch up on with my striking, so I do that the most.”
Clearly, the all-around work is paying off, as is the champion’s attitude about her craft. Immediately following the fight, Rousey was being interviewed by Joe Rogan inside the cage when the pay-per-view analyst suggested she could not possibly perform better. “I think I can, actually,” she shot back. “I got clipped once, so I don’t want that to happen again.”
Before letting Rousey go, Rogan relayed a question he said he’d just been instructed to ask by one of the telecast producers: Would she be willing to step back in the cage on Aug. 2, just four weeks hence, to take a fight that would save UFC 176, which earlier in the week lost its main event to a José Aldo injury? Rousey took the question in stride, but Dana White didn’t. The UFC president, seen in the background, was visibly upset his champ, his star, his greatest performer was being put on the spot.
Maybe White needs to think outside the box. Maybe he and his matchmakers should schedule Rousey for every single PPV the company has on the schedule. There does not appear to be a woman alive, at least one who’s not actually a cyborg, who can give Rousey a credible fight.
If the women of the UFC think differently, they should line up and step up, month after month after month. Just keep cueing up the Joan Jett.