Over the course of 12 fights and four years, Ronda Rousey developed a reputation for being an unstoppable monster that could take you down and break your arm backwards in less than a minute. As she went from being the Strikeforce champion to inaugural UFC bantamweight champion, her legend grew to the point where she was being called a once in a lifetime athlete and all time great, an indestructible fighter that might never lose. People debated with sincerity whether she could beat then-UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez.
But in her 13th professional fight against Holly Holm in Australia, the unthinkable happened: Holm not only beat Rousey, she routed her from opening bell to the fight’s finish, which ended with Rousey unconscious on the canvas from a thunderous head kick. Had Ronda gotten distracted by the relentless media responsibilities the UFC had pushed on her over the year? Had she underestimated former boxing champion Holly Holm? Maybe. But in the end it was the blueprint that Holm and her coaches at the Jackson-Winkeljohn gym developed and put into practice that day that resulted in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport.
Ronda’s gameplan has never been a secret: she likes to get in quick, initiate a clinch, and then send her opponent flying with one of the dozens upon dozens of judo throws she has honed since childhood to razor sharp perfection. From there, she attacks with another weapon developed en route to her bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Olympics games: the armbar. Judo newaza rule give you mere seconds to work on the ground before a match is stood back up, which explains how she got so good at locking in the fight finishing submission with lighting speed.
But to initiate that chain reaction to victory, Rousey first needs to get her hands on her opponent … and this is where a weakness becomes apparent.