It wasn’t supposed to go like this. After a year of near total seclusion, Ronda Rousey’s 2017 was supposed to start in triumphant fashion, with the UFC superstar back on top of the mixed martial arts world with the women’s bantamweight title — her former title — back around her waist where it belonged.
But instead, Rousey suffered the kind of fast and destructive defeat she used to deal out so readily to her own opponents. Current 135 pound champion Amanda Nunes put on a 48 second striking clinic, hitting Ronda with a hard straight right that left her stunned and then following up with a barrage of head shots and body blows that had the face of women’s MMA literally reeling across the Octagon. The referee ended up stepping in to save her, and Ronda was left bloody and wondering how things went so wrong.
The loss to Amanda Nunes is a bigger deal to Ronda than losses are for most other fighters. The repercussions are much larger in this case. This fight was supposed to be the start of a big push for the dominating Olympic medalist. Her second act. Her epic comeback. While Rousey and her team refused to share her plans with anyone, past comments before she became so media shy pointed towards big ambitions in Hollywood and beyond, ambitions that could only be realized if she recreated that aura of ass kicking invincibility she channeled during her run as the first UFC women’s champion.
With this second stunning and definitive loss, many of the doors she hoped to pass through are now closing. It’s so bad that even the WWE, who have aggressively courted Ronda since her Slammy-winning Moment of the Year at Wrestlemania 31, may not be willing to take her in should she decide to step away from cage fighting.