Chael Sonnen doesn’t want to come across as being disrespectful to one of the all-time female greats, but ‘The American Gangster’ was never quite sold on Ronda Rousey.
Rousey ruled the women’s bantamweight throne for three years before being dethroned by Holly Holm at UFC 193, losing the fight via second-round knockout. ‘Rowdy’ was then knocked out by Amanda Nunes in the first round of the UFC 207 main event, which led to the Olympic bronze medallist retiring from the sport for good.
During her reign as champ, Rousey was compared to boxing legend Mike Tyson and even touted as a threat to her male bantamweight counterparts.
Sonnen, however, believes many in the MMA sphere — including Rousey herself — got carried away with the hype and claims the WWE star was simply in the right place at the right time.
“I do admit I never thought that Ronda was the best fighter in the world,” Sonnen said on Ariel and The Bad Guy (via MMA News). “The division was just forming and she was in the right place at the right time. And that sounds insulting but that’s the way I see it.”
“Ariel, I think she actually deserves a compliment,” Sonnen went on to say. “When she took her ball and went home as you put it, I think that actually left a message. I think that decision looked kinda like a fine wine and got better in time in this way, when you’ve had enough in this sport get out of it. Whether that means opening up your spot on the roster or in her case, her spot in title fights and main events and giving that chance to somebody else, or just for her own sanity and physicality.
“If it’s not what you wanna do anymore, get out of the way. Don’t go one foot in and one foot out. I think Ronda’s decision, while judged and criticized at the time, I think it looks better with age. And I think that she made the right decision and helped to set a good example.”
Rousey retired with a professional record of 12-2 and is considered one of the best UFC champions of all time.