Ronda Rousey seemed like an unstoppable force throughout 2015 … right up until Holly Holm made her look mortal by boxing her up for two rounds and then knocking her out with a headkick. All of a sudden, everyone declaring her the perfect athlete had to take a moment to re-assess their statements, and the conclusion most have made is that Rousey’s boxing skills are in dire need of an overhaul.
Whether it’s unfair or not, her coach Edmond Tarverdyan has taken the brunt of the blame for making Ronda think she could hang on the feet with the likes of boxing champion Holly Holm. Many have suggested she consider changing camps, but with that not happening Ronda has done the next best thing: she’s brought in high level sparring partners to help bring her training to the next level.
Olympian Mikaela Mayer missed out on winning a medal in boxing at the Rio games by one victory. Now she’ll be helping Judo bronze medalist Rousey prepare for her comeback fight against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on December 30th. While Nunes doesn’t have the ridiculous boxing pedigree that Holly Holm had, she’s still a dangerous striker and no doubt took notes on what worked so well for Holm in her victory over Rousey.
That’s the thing about MMA: once a hole in your game is detected, every future opponent will work as hard as they can to exploit it again and again. It’s up to Rousey and Mayer to close those holes as best they can in the months leading up to the fight. Fortunately, Rousey doesn’t have to completely transform her game. She just needs to tighten it enough to execute her own exploits, namely her judo takedowns and unstoppable arm bars. Having an Olympic caliber athlete like Mikaela Mayer in the gym will definitely help her get there.