There was a lot of hype -- and a lot to live up to -- when Ronda Rousey met Liz Carmouche in the center of the Octagon at Saturday night's UFC 157 pay-per-view event in Anaheim. Fortunately, both fighters delivered and in the process, proved that Women's MMA has earned its place in today's combat sports landscape.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) blew the roof off the Honda Center on Saturday night (Feb. 23, 2013) with UFC 157: "Rousey vs. Carmouche," the first-ever mixed martial arts (MMA) pay-per-view (PPV) to feature two women as championship headliners.
I don't think that comes as a shock to anyone out there in fightville; however, there were a lot of things that could have gone wrong. For one, Rousey could have been defeated, essentially negating all the hooplah surrounding her place atop the women's 135-pound throne.
And for a few seconds there, it almost happened, thanks to the craftiness of Carmouche.
The champion weathered the storm and eventually used her background in judo to seal the deal, but the fight was a technical display of MMA and an exciting contest for any gender. Just rewind to one bout prior, when Dan Henderson spent 15 minutes chasing Lyoto Machida around the cage.
And let's not even get started on Brendan Schaub vs. Lavar Johnson.
The point is, for Women's MMA to hit the ground running, both Rousey and Carmouche had to prove they belonged. They did that -- and more -- by setting a frenetic pace and demonstrating high-level grappling. As fans, it really was the best-case scenario.
We have enough sloppy bar fights from the guys, we don't need to add to it.
The big question coming out of UFC 157 is who will be the next in line for Rousey. It's no secret the 135-pound division is still under construction and without "Cyborg" Santos, there aren't any obvious marquee match-ups. Sara McMann, if she can win her first UFC fight, would make a compelling option, as she is also an Olympic medalist and would also be undefeated at 7-0.
If not, I'm confident a suitable replacement will be found.
Right now, the selling point is Rousey. It should be about the actual fight, but it's no different than when people were tuning in a few times a year back in the 80s to see Mike Tyson hurt whoever they could scare up for a quick squash. I'm interested to see how many armbars she can rack up before someone finally figures her out.
Even if they don't, at least we'll enjoy the ride. UFC 157 is proof of that.
For more on Saturday night's "Rousey vs. Carmouche" event, including live results, videos, fallout, recaps and more click here.