It's safe to say that Ronda Rousey is pretty successful.
Not only has the 27-year-old become the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion, headlined pay-per-views (PPV) events, been called "the biggest star we've ever had" by Dana White, and is currently ranked as a Top 10-ranked pound-for-pound fighter, but she's accomplished it all within her first 10 professional mixed martial arts (MMA) bouts.
There's also that whole "getting women into the UFC" thing that might be worth mentioning.
At the moment, Rousey's rise has shown no signs of stopping. Later this evening (Sat., Feb. 22, 2014), she'll headline her third PPV, UFC 170, in promotion's home base of Las Vegas, Nevada. What's more, she recently signed onto lead roles in Hollywood franchises.
Not bad for the "Rowdy" Californian.
The root of her success is undoubtedly her Judo skills, which allowed Rousey to eventually make Olympic history as the first American woman to ever medal in the Olympics. Following in the footsteps of her mother, a gifted judo competitor, and 1988 demonstration medalists like Margaret Casto and Lynn Roethke, an adolescent Ronda began training Judo and was soon recognized as one of the best young talents in the sport.
Looking back at her 2008 performance that earned her a medal, a slightly pudgier (153 lbs) 21-year old in a blue gi steps onto the mat. Her face wears bruises received from earlier matches, but her constant look of supreme confidence, which she is now known for, remains.
Her opponent, German-born Annett Böhm, is a bit taller, a common theme of Rousey's opponent's at this weight class, and is wrapped inside a crisp white gi. After shaking hands, the two women stand at opposite ends of a large mat. The match begins, so the judokas move forward looking for grips and slapping away hands.
Soon, the two gain grips on their opponent's gi. Rousey, controlling a sleeve and lapel, drags Böhm to the side and attempts an inside trip. Böhm scoots her foot out of the way and wrenches on Rousey's gi, dragging her down to the mat into a turtle position.
With a yell of "Matte!" the ref breaks the action and the match resets in the middle with no score.
Rousey quickly grips a lapel and steps in, getting her hip across her opponent. From there, she throws her opponent over her shoulder, where the two roll and reroll, ending with Rousey on top.
Rousey has scored a yuko.
In Olympic Judo, there are three calls a referee can make regarding throws. A full throw, or ipon, automatically equals a victory. If a judoka scores two wazari, or half throws, it equals an ipon. Finally, there are yukos, which are basically advantages. Should neither grapplers score any wazari or both score one, the amount of yukos decides the winner.
Basically, Rousey has a slight edge at the start of the match.
After a moment of hand fighting, Rousey again attempts a similar hip throw. Böhm is wary of it and hops back, only to nearly get swept off her feet by Rousey's inside trip. Though it didn't work, and the two are soon reset in the middle, a hip throw to inside trip is signature "Rowdy" technique inside the cage.
The next time they engage, Böhm drops to her back with her feet in Rousey's hips, attempting to roll her. She successfully elevates her, and Rousey's back does briefly touch the mat, but the American is able to spin before Böhm can get top position.
Once again, the referee resets them.
The two both attempt a couple trips, although Rousey has become the more patient fighter. In fact, even her coach tells her to wait on her opponent to make a move. Rousey does just that and attempts to capitalize on Böhm's failed throw, but her efforts earn her no points.
Her opponent attempts to sit and sweep once more, and Rousey attempts a few tosses of her own, accompanied by a strained scream, but neither manage to score any more points with a minute left on the clock. Thirty more seconds pass without anything noteworthy happening, other than the referee screeching "Matte!" for the umpteenth time.
Böhm needs to make something happen or Rousey will take the victory.
And to her credit, she does try. But, Rousey is in defense mode and is successfully shutting down all of Böhm's attempts. When the match ends, an ecstatic Rousey jumps off of Böhm's back and cries into her hands.
Though her upcoming match is hardly as historic as this one, Rousey will still have to face an elite opponent and deal with her carefully. Additionally, should things go badly late, Rousey may need to stall in the championship rounds to preserve her victory.
Of course, the possibility of a first round arm bar should never be discounted either.