Ronda Rousey’s return to the Octagon ended in devastatingly quick fashion, as Amanda Nunes scored a 48-second TKO win in the main event of UFC 207. It’s perhaps the final time we’ll see Rousey in the UFC, and if so, she’ll have done so on the back of two brutal knockout defeats.
Whatever you think of Rousey as a person, or her excruciatingly obvious flaws that were exposed by Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, she’s had a terrific run in the sport and an extremely successful career. Within a year of turning pro, and 3 years after winning Olympic bronze in judo, she won the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight title away from Miesha Tate, and then completely and utterly dominated the best fighters in her division for more than 3 years. Apart from the Tate rematch and the very early part of round 1 against Liz Carmouche, Ronda was almost comically and consistently vastly superior to all of her title challengers. It was a marvel to watch, and to add to that, she became one of the biggest PPV stars in UFC history. Rousey is/was the women’s MMA superstar that neither Gina Carano nor Cris Cyborg ever became, and is a multi-millionaire through an avenue that Dana White famously once said was never going to happen in the UFC.
But as is often the case in the world of sports, the hype just got a little too overbearing. It wasn’t enough to just admire and heap lavish praise on what she’d already achieved. Instead, we were treated to a heaping plate of wholly ludicrous and unrealistic projections (sanctioning Rousey vs. Mayweather, anyone?) as to what she could do outside of just merely schooling her fellow UFC women’s 135ers. Some of the bigger quotes came from her coach, mainstream media figures and publications, Joe Rogan, Dana White, and yes, even Ronda Rousey.
This is a retrospective look back at how silly some of these proclamations were then, and how much sillier they look now.
Future boxing star
Edmond Tarverdyan, September 2012: “If I could, I’d turn that girl into a boxing professional world champion” (Sherdog)
“What she has is amazing, but people don’t understand: Ronda’s boxing is so good right now,” her striking coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “If I could, I’d turn that girl into a boxing professional world champion. She was sparring with girls in our gym that are like 16-1 and WBA world champions, Lucia Rijker … and Ronda gets the best out of it.”
“Now everybody knows she can strike,” Tarverdyan said. “I don’t care if people know or don’t know, to be honest with you. I know she can strike. She’s a great striker. She’s not going to have a problem with any of these fights we have in front of us.
Edmond Tarverdyan, February 2014: “We get boxing world champions in here – girls – and she drops all of them with body shots” (UFC 170 media scrum)
“I’m not going to give out what she’s going to do, but I’ll be honest: We get boxing world champions in here – girls – and she drops all of them with body shots,” Tarverdyan said. “So if you’re dropping people with 14-ounce gloves, you guys should be seeing that (in her UFC fights).”
Ronda Rousey, March 2015: “Honestly, I think I could beat [Laila Ali] at boxing” (TMZ)
“Honestly, I think I could beat [Laila Ali] at boxing, too. I’m an Olympic athlete, and I would want time to focus on that entirely, but if I can go from judo to MMA, why couldn’t I go from MMA to boxing? I think that having that kind of belief in yourself is really important to be the kind of level that I’m trying to be, and I think that a lot of people are really offended by the mindset that it takes to be the best in the world. Just because I could be the best in the world at anything? That’s not offending anyone and insulting anyone. I wasn’t insulted by Laila Ali’s thinking that she could beat me, because she’s a world champion boxer! That’s the way that she has to think! I’m not insulted by it at all, I’m like ‘good for you, you should think like that!’”
Edmond Tarverdyan, July 2015: “I think Ronda beats Holly Holm in a boxing match any given day” (MMA Fighting)
"I know she can do it. I know she wins the boxing world title. Ronda has nothing to prove to me. I know what kind of fighter I have on my hands."
"Ronda spars with boxing world champions that punch way harder than Cyborg. Ronda has never lost a round in the gym. A round. With boxing world champions. What is Cyborg?"
"I think Ronda beats Holly Holm in a boxing match any given day, so it doesn't matter."
Oscar De La Hoya, October 2015: “Whenever she's ready to step into the ring as a fighter, as a boxer, then obviously Golden Boy Promotions will be right there with her” (FightHub interview)
"Absolutely. Look: we've discussed it, and whenever she's ready to step into the ring as a fighter, as a boxer, then obviously Golden Boy Promotions will be right there with her."
"She's tough. She's really good. Speed, power and instinct - which is very important. She dares to be great. That's the difference with a lot of fighters, she takes the risks and that's what I love about her."
Ring Magazine, October 2015: “She’s conquered MMA, is boxing next?”
SHE CONQUERED MMA. IS BOXING NEXT?: Check out the latest issue of The Ring featuring @rondarousey on the cover, along with our exclusive rankings— THE RING 100 WORLD’S BEST FIGHTERS. ON NEWSSTANDS NOVEMBER 15!! Subscribe here (http:// ringtv.craveonline.com/subscribe) and download your digital edition today! (Rousey by @ewillphoto) Also, see Ronda Rousey in the first episode of #InTheRing featured on the RINGTV/FACEBOOK page
Ronda Rousey, October 2015: “I would love to have the chance to be the boxing world champion” (UFC 193 Media Luncheon)
“What I would love to do: I got an Olympic medal, I would want to retire from MMA as one of the greatest of all time. I would love to have the chance to be the boxing world champion, and I would love to have the chance to be a jiu-jitsu world champion. I'd love to have the chance to be the [WWE] Divas world champion and just be the best of everything at one point."
Edmond Tarverdyan, November 2015 (two weeks prior to Holly Holm fight): “I hope [Holm] stands there at a boxing distance and engages with us” (UFC)
“I hope she stands there at a boxing distance and engages with us or tries to run away and box with us,” Tarverdyan said. “Then we can see how great Ronda’s hand skills are. But MMA is not a typical boxing match. We know that.”
Ronda Rousey vs. Male UFC Fighters (was never going to happen, was something Rousey had already said was never going to happen, and wasn’t necessary)
Ronda Rousey, November 2013: “It is possible” that I could beat Cain Velasquez (Hoy newspaper)
"In any given moment, under the right circumstance, I think it is possible," Rousey said of beating Velasquez when asked if she thought she could.
"You cannot tell me that it is physically impossible. It is possible that in any given moment that I could beat him. I simply believe in my possibilities."
Joe Rogan, October 2014: “I don’t have any problem” if Ronda Rousey fought Bryan Caraway (Fight Companion)
"I think if Ronda Rousey and Bryan Caraway talked enough s**t and they decided to go at it, I don't have any problem with that if they both agree to it."
Joe Rogan, March 2015: “She might be able to beat 50%” of the UFC men’s bantamweights (ESPN interview with Dan LeBatard)
"There's a lot of guys her size she could beat," said Rogan. "I mean, a lot. If you took the roster of the UFC's bantamweights, 135 pounds, and you paired them up against Ronda Rousey, she might be able to beat 50 percent of them. That's not a joke."
"The ability to take punches is a significant difference," said Rogan. "The structure of the face, the muscles in the neck. Women just cannot take the same kind of punches that men can. That's the only reason why I only give Ronda a chance at beating 50 percent of the men. If she could take the kind of punches that some of these guys might possibly land it might get up to like 60 percent. She's a truly special talent."
Joe Rogan, March 2015 (just over 2 weeks after his original quote): “They've never rolled with a girl who is really good” (Joe Rogan Experience)
"People got upset when I said that I think she could beat a lot of men in her weight class," Rogan said on his podcast. "They don't know. They've never rolled with a girl who is really good.
"Technique is paramount and her technique is so laser sharp. If she got in there with a guy who doesn't have that good of technique, just because he's a man, the physical strength, the benefits of being a male, whatever advantages he may have, aren't necessarily going to counter the technique that she has when they're the same weight."
"She competes at 135 pounds," said Rogan. "OK, if you deal with her versus a guy at 170 like [former UFC welterweight champion] Johny Hendricks, Jesus, of course that's a mismatch. Johny Hendricks is a powerful, big strong man and he'd most likely beat her up.
"But talking about a guy who is her weight and then even if he's physically stronger than her, maybe he can hit harder, but how much of a technical advantage does she have on the ground? She could easily catch you in something in a scramble. Easily. She's one, two, three, four steps ahead of you."
Brendan Schaub, March 2015: “She could definitely beat some of the 135ers in the UFC” (Fighter and the Kid Podcast)
"I like Ian [McCall]. He'd be surprised," Schaub began. "If he put on a gi, Ronda would rag-doll him around the gym. He would be surprised. I've seen her rag-doll bigger, very skilled fighters. MMA, professional fighters. I've seen her destroy men. Fighters who were way bigger than him. She could definitely beat some of the 135ers in the UFC."
Bruce Buffer, March 2015: “Yeah, in the bantamweight division, I think she probably could... Not top ten, top twenty” (TMZ)
“Can't tell you until she fights the first guy... Well, I mean there's no reason that you can put her in the top ten amongst men, because it's not fair. No woman has ever professionally, to my knowledge, fought a man in a professionally commissioned, sanctioned fight. And it's not going to happen. I mean, I'd be amazed if that ever happened. It's not gonna happen.”
“Top twenty... Yeah, in the bantamweight division, I think she probably could... Not top ten, top twenty.”
Ronda Rousey vs. Floyd Mayweather (was obviously never going to happen)
Joe Rogan, April 2014: “She keeps her chin tucked, hands high and gets a hold of you. There is going to be a lot of things she is doing that he doesn't understand" (ESPN)
"It is too hard to avoid the clinch. If you watch a Floyd Mayweather fight, they very rarely end in a one-punch knockout. He has brittle hands. His hands break. You are talking about small gloves where hands are going to break even easier. She keeps her chin tucked, hands high and gets a hold of you. There is going to be a lot of things she is doing that he doesn't understand."
"He would have to go with the very best trainers in the world and spend a good, solid six months to a year on nothing but grappling."
Dana White, April 2014: “If Ronda gets her hands on him, she'll hurt him” (ESPN)
"You take Ronda Rousey and you put her in a boxing match, obviously we know what's going to happen there. But a real fight, Ronda Rousey will hurt Floyd. I don't know if anyone has seen Floyd in real life, but he's [a smaller guy]. If Ronda gets her hands on him, she'll hurt him. I've seen her throw big men and hurt them."
Manny Pacquiao, March 2015: “She's strong and she's strong enough to beat Floyd Mayweather in MMA" (ESPN)
“I believe so. She's strong and she's strong enough to beat Floyd Mayweather in MMA."
Brian Michelino, July 2015: “Rousey is pretty proficient in boxing” (Business Insider)
Brian Michelino, a coach at Long Island Mixed Martial Arts in New York, a gym that trains several UFC fighters, predicted Rousey's more diverse skill set would help her defeat Mayweather in an MMA fight. While boxing strictly involves punching, MMA incorporates kicking and grappling techniques designed for fighting on the ground.
"In an MMA fight I’m pretty confident that she would mess him up, especially since Floyd Mayweather does not have grappling experience," Michelino said.
"Rousey is pretty proficient in boxing," he said, adding, "When you start adding in punches, kicks, and takedowns, a lot of techniques in boxing lose their power."
Michelino predicted this would give Rousey the upper hand.
"What’s going to happen is she is going to grab him — she’s going to grab him quick," Michelino explained.
Michelino also said Rousey's grappling skills are such that Mayweather would not be able to compete even if he had "a year" to train in martial arts.
"He's not going to make it up," Michelino said
All that being said, if it was a pure boxing match, Michelino conceded Mayweather would win handily.
Oscar De La Hoya, November 2015: Ronda taps Mayweather in “about 16-17 seconds” (Bleacher Report)
"Ronda taps him out easy, no doubt about it," De La Hoya said. "Most likely obviously, Mayweather's going to run. They go in the center of the ring, that's 5 seconds. By the time that she catches him that's another 5, [she] taps him out. So I would say about 16-17 seconds."
...This last one is deliberately out of chronological order, for reasons which you’ll soon find out.
Clay Travis, August 2015: Ronda Rousey and Floyd Mayweather need to fight (FOX Sports)
“This would be a modern day battle of the sexes, a story that transcends sports, a contest between the preeminent boxer of his era, undefeated and coming to the end of his career, and the greatest female fighter in UFC history, a woman with no competition in the present day and none on the horizon either. Rousey and Mayweather are pretty much the same height and weight and according to fight prognosticators much smarter than me it's impossible to predict who would win. Would Rousey be able to get her hands on Mayweather or would Floyd be too quick for her? Could Mayweather land enough punches to keep Rousey at distance? Or would Ronda take Mayweather to the ground and force him to tap out via submission hold?
“But here's the deal, I think Rousey would win. I really do think, she would beat Floyd Mayweather's ass. (Chances are, many of you feel the exact opposite way. Which is why this fight needs to happen. When was the last time that we entered a big fight with relatively even odds?) “
The bold lines in the paragraphs are mine. Are you still with me after almost 2500 words of content? Here’s Clay Travis’ impressive 180 as of literally two days ago.
Clay Travis, January 2nd, 2017: “She is the most fraudulent creation in the history of sports” (Fox Sports)
“I believe this 100% with every fabric and fiber of my being — Ronda Rousey was entirely a media creation from people who wanted to be a part of the ‘I am woman, hear me roar!’ Like the whole ‘Hillary Clinton’s gonna shatter the glass ceiling!’ and like, ‘Oh Ronda Rousey is here! And women can beat asses as bad as men!’ No they can’t. Ronda Rousey was a media creation. She is the most fraudulent creation in the history of sports, and I bought into it! I’m not lying. I’m not going to sit here and be like, ‘Oh I never saw this, I was a doubter, I was a disbeliever. I was a person who told you Ronda Rousey wasn’t anything.’ This girl was beating the crap out of a bunch of girls who otherwise couldn’t fight. She finally got to the point where there were other women who could fight, and she just got her ass kicked twice in a row, Holly Holm and now Amanda Nunes.”
There’s more that he spews out, but I don’t have the patience to transcribe even 2 more minutes of that audio clip.
That’s the end of this supersized quote compilation. You can check out past editions in the related links section.