A year and a half is a considerably long lay off for any athlete in any sport. In the case of combat sports, so-called ‘ring rust’ might end up costing you more than a successful return to the spotlight.
‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey found that out the hard way last night as she suffered her second consecutive TKO loss in the octagon at the hands of reigning bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
Rousey, who had opted out of all non-essential media engagements leading up to the fight, looked expectedly stone-faced as she headed towards the cage for what many now believe will be the last time for the former face of the UFC.
Nunes approached the cage looking similarly determined and showed no fear in the face of the woman who, at one time, looked unbeatable and was famous for finishing opponents within seconds.
Little did we know the role-reversal that was coming.
Straight from the off it was clear Nunes possessed the much sharper punching ability and was able to land cleanly on the former champion with considerable ease, marking her up around the eyes and nose with her very first shots.
Sensing her early advantage, Nunes began injecting some serious venom into her punches and rocked a wide-eyed Rousey several times, forcing her into retreat.
As her confidence quickly dissipated Rousey attempted to strike back only to find herself caught again. In the Holly Holm fight she had some time to regain her senses between rounds. No such luck this time.
With only the cage wire to hold herself up Rousey absorbed a couple more hurtful fists to the face before a “Merciful” Herb Dean stepped in.
In the end, it was all over in 48 seconds.
As a new female superstar is born in Amanda Nunes we must now ask the painfully mandatory question: What next for Ronda Rousey?
With rumours circulating before the fight that this would be her last time in action whatever the result, it’s likely Rousey may end up hanging up her ring gear for good.
But, with a successful autobiography on the shelves and numerous film roles confirmed, including a starring role in the upcoming ‘Road House’ remake, this multi-talented individual has plenty of alternate options heading into the future.
An insatiably respectable figure who transcends sport Ronda Rousey has left an indelible mark on the world of mixed martial arts but her greatest achievement simply can not be measured by wins or losses. No, this woman’s legacy will be found in all those she has inspired with her message of persistence, dedication and positivity.
Congratulations to Amanda Nunes and best of luck to former champion Ronda Rousey, whatever her next move.