Firas Zahabi recently answered fan questions surrounding Ronda Rousey and the fall out from the UFC 207 main event. This is where the Tristar Gym coach gave an honest assessment of Rousey’s skills, and politely addressed all the heavy criticism towards Edmond Tarverdyan.
“I have an open policy at Tristar Gym. I will train anybody on the face of the earth. I don’t care if you’re a total beginner or a world champion,” Zahabi said.
“If you ask me if I would recruit Rousey, absolutely. I would. The only admission to Tristar gym is of course, a good attitude,” he said. “I’m not saying Ronda Rousey has a bad attitude, but if she ever came and showed interest in training with me, I would definitely tell her that the number 1 criteria here is a good attitude. That’s what I would say to all my fighters and all my members.
“That has always been my policy. That’s ahead of money, finances, and anything.”
As for what the main focus would be, Zahabi says he would want to shore up what he perceives to be the talented former champion’s “achilles heel”.
“I would definitely make her defensive skill a priority. Definitely,” Zahabi answered. “If you look at Georges St-Pierre, especially in the (prime) of his career, he was hit very seldomly. Rory too, early on, he was hit very seldomly. I’m a big believer in defense. It is so important, especially when we’re dealing with 4 oz gloves.
“Ronda Rousey’s defensive skill have always been poor,” he said. “Her judo has saved her every time. If you get close enough to hit her, she grabs on to you. But Amanda Nunes was close enough to hit her, but not close enough to be grabbed. She understood the between the two distances, and she’s a world champion because of it.”
When giving an honest assessment of what he’s seen, Zahabi was quick to say that Rousey not fully developing as a striker cannot be completely blamed on just his coach. He did also stress that Rousey will need a better approach, and a new formula.
Now, if that task was thrust onto him, Zahabi says he would first have to figure out why she moves and reacts that way on certain situations, so they can improve on those liabilities.
“Ronda Rousey has poor defensive skill. Now why is that? I will have to watch her in the practice room. I have to do some investigating. I’d have to really split hairs and figure it out. Her defensive skill is her great achilles heel. If you ask me what I would do, I would definitely up her defensive skill.
“Getting knocked out, getting hit over and over, easy shots, getting picked off like that — it’s just not acceptable in a fight,” he said. “It’s a great way to have a short career.”