People were expecting a lot out of Ronda Rousey in her return to the Octagon at UFC 207 last month. As one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts (MMA), those expectations were well warranted. UFC 207 marked the first time Rousey stepped back inside the cage since losing to Holly Holm at UFC 193 and it lasted a whole 48 seconds opposite champion Amanda Nunes. Despite raking in over 1 million pay-per-view (PPV) buys, the pressure of the moment at UFC 207 was too much for Rousey to handle, as explained by her nutritionist, Mike Dolce.
"I can say externally, she does put a lot of pressure on herself to win, like most great athletes do in every sport," Dolce told Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting. "Ronda, I believe, of all the athletes I've worked with, and I've worked with the greats — ‘Rampage Jackson,' Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, I've worked with some of the best ever — Ronda puts more pressure on herself than any of those athletes. She does have this unique desire to win, not just for herself, but to win for everyone who supported her, but also to spite those who have hoped against her."
With so much at stake, Rousey fell victim to the powerful striking of Nunes, offering little offense and defense en route to dropping one of the more lopsided title fights of all time. But unlike her loss to Holm back in 2015, Dolce says Rousey is handling this defeat to "Lioness" a little differently.
"I’ve been with athletes — and I don’t want to name names — that just destroy locker rooms, as you’re probably aware, they destroy hotel rooms, they become extremely despondent and belligerent to the people closest to them," Dolce said. "Ronda doesn’t do any of that. So I think it’s just different. Each athlete is different. Their internal drive is different. Their external representation of what’s happening inside is different. Ronda becomes rather quiet and standoffish. She needs her space, which is very important. Some athletes, they act out in a more aggressive manner."
Although Rousey looked terrible in the fight, she looked amazing leading up to it. Safe to say Dolce's program is working and giving the former champion what she needs to make healthier cuts down to 135 pounds. But if Rousey is no longer interested in fighting, it will be one less fighter the nutritionist has to manage.