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UFC 175 preview: Despite credible threat on July 5, Ronda Rousey still in search of 'the one'

Two former world champions? Forced to surrender. Olympic silver medalist? Obliterated by a body shot. Here's why the queen of combat sports is tasked with facing credible challengers, but ultimately still in search of "the one."


Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will put her 135-pound title on the line when she takes on division number one contender Alexis Davis in the co-main event of UFC 175, which takes place on July 5, 2014, inside Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Dating back to her amateur debut in August of 2010, "Rowdy" has won 12 straight mixed martial arts (MMA) fights -- nine of them as a pro -- and does not yet understand the sort of anxiety that comes with hearing a scorecard read aloud in today's fight game.

You know, hands ... judges ... all that stuff.

Rousey is about as perfect a fighter as you can get. Her greatest weapon is her judo, honed on the Olympic circuit, which sets up her patented armbar submission. When the promotion was finally able to scare up a competitor who was equal to her on the ground, she switched gears and ended that fight with a liver shot.

Essentially, there is no place safe left to fight her.

That's bad news for Davis, a talented young Canadian with a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In the old days, that sort of credential meant something in the grand scheme of things, until the assembly line of McBlack Belts -- made famous by Roli Delgado while under inquiry from Frank Mir -- caused the designation to lose some of its luster.

Sure, it still "works," but Nate Marquardt's finish over James Te Huna at UFC Fight Night 43 (watch it) was just the second armbar in all of 2014, across a span of more than 200 fights.

Unless the "Ally-Gator" plans on bringing her actual belt into the Octagon and using it to hog-tie the champ, I'm not sure it will be of much use. The intention is not to discredit Davis, but rather illustrate the gap in talent between Rousey and well, just about everyone else.

It's hard to get excited for a fight that feels, on paper, like a foregone conclusion.

Part of that expectation is a direct result of the bantamweight division's absence of "the one." As in, "the one who is coming to beat Rousey." When that kind of fighter throws their name into the hat, the complexion of the weight class changes dramatically.

Of course, it always helps when they fight for the same promotion.

It's why so many "pros" were picking Chris Weidman to dethrone Anderson Silva at UFC 162, and why the MMA blogosphere lights up like Casa de Griswold on Christmas Eve every time someone mentions a fantasy fight between 205-pound kingpin Jon Jones and heavyweight import Daniel Cormier.

Dominant champions need dominant challengers.

Watching Weidman and Cormier -- both undefeated -- do work inside the Octagon feels unique. There's something different about these guys. Sometimes you watch an athlete perform and you know right away ... Hey man, this kid's got it.

I'm not sure I've ever felt that way about Alexis Davis, who has yet to finish a fight inside the Octagon.

In fairness, I didn't feel that way about TJ Dillashaw, either, and he went and made Renan Barao look like some dope they pulled out of the stands at UFC 173, straight-up Price is Right style. And not even UFC was convinced Alexander Gustafsson could make it a fight against "Bones."

Joe Rogan's best argument for "The Mauler" heading into UFC 165? You guys, he's just as tall as Jones!

That's what's beautiful about this sport. Just when you think you have it all figured out, someone comes along and reminds you that no, you actually don't. Will Davis be that someone when the cage door closes inside Mandalay Bay this Saturday night in "Sin City?"

Not if karma beats her to the punch.

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