When the Joan Jett song "Bad Reputation" begins playing -- the walk out music for UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey -- it takes 19 seconds before one of the baddest women in Rock and Roll history starts singing the first verse. Last Saturday night at UFC 175, the baddest woman in MMA needed just 16 seconds to dispatch of her latest challenger, Alexis Davis.
In the world of radio, that would be referred to as "hitting the post."
16 seconds! That's all it took to land an overhand right, a knee from the clinch, one of her trademark throws which landed her directly on top of Davis, immediately followed by about eight right hands to the face until referee Yves Lavigne called a halt to the action (recap).
Now, most experts and pundits had Rousey winning this one easily, but not like this. This showed that Rousey is continuing to evolve with each fight rather rapidly, and it also shined the light on the fact that she is outgrowing her competition by leaps and bounds.
With the victory, the champion improves to 10-0, and the 16-second finish over Davis marked the third time she has finished an opponent in under 30 seconds. In fact, seven out of her 10 career victories have occurred in under a minute; the win over Sara McMann at UFC 170 took 1:06.
Liz Carmouche lasted until just before the 10-second clappers in the opening round at UFC 157, and Miesha Tate stands alone by lasting the longest, going almost a minute into the third round against the champion in their rematch at UFC 168. In their first encounter in Strikeforce, Tate was put away by the patented Rousey armbar late in the first round with a little over 30 seconds left in the round.
That's an average fight time of two minutes and 24 seconds, about 25 seconds shorter than the length of "Bad Reputation." Think about that for a second: she can finish Alexis Davis before Joan Jett starts singing, and has defeated nine out of her 10 opponents before the song ends.
Making that more impressive is the fact that Rousey has fought three times in a little over six months. No other champion in the UFC fights that frequently; most fight about twice a year, barring injury. Not to mention she has also filmed two major movies during her training on top of other media obligations, photo shoots etc.
Rousey was asked at the post-fight presser (watch it) if it is hard to get motivated due to her latest dominant victories and the clearly evident gap between her and the rest of the women's 135 pound division.
"It only seems like that because I am so motivated already and if I stopped being motivated then these fights would probably drag out much longer," Rousey stated. "I still have a lot of improvements to make still. I want to retire undefeated, being known as one of the greatest of all time. That takes a lot more work than what I have done so far."
There you have it.
The champion is not satisfied with just winning, she wants to continue to be that much better than the opposition. If this trend continues it's great for her, but ultimately it's bad for the rest of the women's bantamweight division and women's MMA in general. The UFC is trying hard to build up the popularity now, but Rousey smashing the newest challenger every couple of months will not help the cause.
UFC President Dana White said it many times before Rousey was even in the UFC, that she was comparable to women's boxing legend Lucia Riker, who has helped the champion during training on several occasions. That seems to be the shape that the career path of Rousey is taking.
Many have also mentioned Mike Tyson, due to the gap in talent and quick finishes and the element that her fights have created. I can attest, I was in Columbus, Ohio, for the Strikeforce title fight against Tate and the vibe was palpable. Unlike Tyson though, Riker never had a "Buster Douglas" upset. Riker's only loss was to a man toward the end of her career in an exhibition match, that's how much better she was than all of her competition.
She retired with a record of 17-0 as a boxer and 37-0 as a kickboxer.
Perhaps the UFC needs to scale back Rousey's fights so the rest of the division can build up some viable contenders, or at least space out the severe beatings from each other a little more. The division, of course, wouldn't exist without her, but now that it's here it would greatly benefit from her fighting less.
Yes, many keep saying Christiane "Cyborg" Justino would be a great challenger, but until she is signed to the UFC there isn't much to say about it. As presently constituted, the division's next challenger who makes the most sense would be Cat Zingano, but the undefeated fighter is still coming back from knee surgery and would be fighting for the title after over a year-long lay off.
White didn't want to underline the champion's dominance, or admit there is a lack of serious contenders in the women's bantamweight division. He chose to remind the media that any fighter can be beaten on any given night and brought up the recent upset by TJ Dillashaw over Renen Barao at UFC 173.
"Anybody on any given night can step into that Octagon and have their worst performance, while their opponent has the greatest performance of their life," White said. "That can happen to anybody on any given night. We have seen that so many times in this sport and in the last year we have seen it happen a lot. There's always somebody."
As of now though, the only one who can defeat Rousey is herself and an increased workload.
Rousey was asked by Joe Rogan after the fight's conclusion if she would fight on the August 2nd UFC 176 card -- which was a question relayed to Rogan by the production truck -- and one that drew the ire from White since it did not come from him or Lorenzo Fertitta and because it put Rousey on the spot.
The 10-0 champion said she would fight, but revealed afterward that she is due for an arthroscopic knee surgery due to some lingering wear and tear, while also having to deal with a cyst on her right hand that burst during the fight (pic). The cyst, she said, had developed over the last couple of fights after her knuckle had ripped open several times.
So it would seem realistic not to expect to see Rousey attempt to defend her UFC bantamweight title for the fifth straight time until at least the end of the year, if not longer.
Let's just say, hypothetically, that she did fight on the 176 card which is less than a month away. That would be unprecedented and quite frankly, crazy. It would be her fourth fight in just over seven months. She is a champion, not an up-and-comer vying to make their way to the top of the division.
No champion in any division, in any combat sport, fights that frequently. Yes, she is unlike most athletes, and yes, she said she is "down to fight at anytime" if she was needed and medically cleared, but if she were to go that route at this rate, she would moving toward burning herself out.
Taking care of one's body is paramount to any athlete and pushing herself too hard and too fast is something she's already done in her athletic career prior to MMA.
"That's one of the mistakes that I made in Judo, is I competed too much when I shouldn't have," said Rousey.
She's not going to be around forever, so the UFC would be wise to protect against that, and to also savor the moments of seeing her fight, however brief they are, by cutting back her workload in the Octagon. She doesn't seem like she would say no if she really needed to.
She's a fierce competitor and loves the thrill of a good challenge.
If Rousey keeps fighting more frequently, a bad performance would be more likely and "that somebody" who White was referring too -- as much as we all rolled our eyes at it -- could reveal herself. She rests up and fights twice a year like the other champions usually do and she may very well retire undefeated like she has set out to do, and continue to finish her opponents before "Bad Reputation" ends.