For three solid years, Ronda Rousey was deemed as an unstoppable force in women’s MMA. That all changed when she went on the receiving end of Holly Holm’s left high kick in late 2015.
“Rowdy” tried to get herself back in the groove when she immediately challenged Amanda Nunes for her former title at UFC 207 a year later. Instead, she was stopped inside 48 seconds of action and ultimately caused her to turn her back on the sport at 29 years old.
There was a lot of hype surrounding Rousey’s 2016 return, as she was even billed as the betting favorite by most bookmakers. But Nunes’ coach Din Thomas says he knew from the get-go that the former women’s bantamweight queen wasn’t really the beast she was being deemed as at the time.
“I think the first one that I really invested so much into, that I put into, was Amanda and Ronda Rousey,” Thomas told MMA Junkie Radio. “And this was when I was like, ‘This is a fool’s bet.’ Because Amanda was the underdog in that fight, I think.
“After studying Ronda, I realized that she was ‘smoke and mirrors,’ is what I could say, and she wasn’t as good as everybody thought she was. She did some things better than everybody else, but she wasn’t as good as everybody thought she was.”
After doing his homework, Thomas knew that the fight was theirs to win.
“So I put a lot of effort into that, and I watched her, and I saw that she would throw punches at the same time with two different hands, and she was really awkward in certain spots,” he explained. “So I was like, ‘Wow, this is gonna be a really easy fight for Amanda.’ And it turned out to be a really easy fight for Amanda.”
As the bantamweight and featherweight champion, Nunes sits at the top spot of the pound-for-pound rankings in the women’s division. She will defend the 145-pound strap for the first time at UFC 250 on June 6th against Felicia Spencer.