Due to Ronda Rousey’s self imposed media ban, not a lot is known about what she’s been up to over the past 13 months. Where was her head at leading up to her terrible defeat at UFC 207? What kind of training has her head coach Edmond Tarverdyan been putting her through? Details are scarce. We know from Instagram that she had help from US Olympic boxer Mikaela Mayer for part of her camp. Via ESPN, we know she also spent a lot of time training in seclusion at her home in the foothills of California.
If she had a large roster of rotating sparring partners, we’d probably have heard about it. Which is why these comments from Kenny Florian and Jon Anik from their podcast sound credible.
“My understanding is that perhaps Rousey didn’t really spar leading up to this fight,” Kenny said (transcript via Bloody Elbow). “I get that they’re trying to preserve her from not getting hurt. But you’ve got to have some rounds. You’ve got to ready for the worst case scenario, which is Amanda Nunes striking with you. She wasn’t able to move her head, do anything defensively to avoid the striking skills of Amanda Nunes, and really paid for it.”
Florian, like many others in the mixed martial arts world, pins the blame on Tarverdyan, who has been having problems keeping many of his fighters like Ronda and her boyfriend Travis Browne in the win column.
“I like Edmond. I spoke to him in various occassions, but he doesn’t have the experience for high level mixed martial arts,” Florian said. “That’s my opinion. He hasn’t been keeping up with it. I just think she needs a knowledgeable, experienced coach, wherever that is. She’s going to need much better coaching, and a much better team around her. That’s for sure.”
There are several high level camps out there that Ronda could consider. Even with Jackson-Winkeljohn and American Top Team out of the question due to the presences of Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes respectively, there are still tons of great options. Duane Ludwig trained TJ Dillashaw’s striking up to champion levels. Duke Roufus has done wonders for the Pettis brothers. And Rafael Cordeiro is responsible for teaching many of the best Brazilian brawlers in the world how to use their ferocity effectively.
Clearly, something went horribly wrong in Ronda’s last camp, and the definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome. Rousey should listen to the growing number of people telling her to expand her training horizons. She wouldn’t even have to abandon Edmond … plenty of fights split their training up amongst various gyms. But if she’s going to keep fighting (not a certainty by any stretch of the imagination), she needs to evolve. And that’s going to require going outside of her comfort zone.