Ronda Rousey returns for arguably the biggest fight of her career at December's UFC 207 when she faces women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in the main event. After a year away from the sport, Rousey looks to regain the title she lost last year, and there are plenty of reasons to think she will get the job done and walk out of the T-Mobile Arena with the UFC title back around her waist.
Getty ImagesQuinn Rooney
She's been written off
Over the past year, Ronda Rousey has been seemingly discounted by almost every contender in the women's division and nothing will fire her up more than past opponents or future challengers writing her off as an afterthought. Rousey has always been one of the most motivated fighters on the UFC roster, and that will only make her push that much harder to win at UFC 207.
Zuffa LLCZuffa LLC via Getty Images
She's had plenty of time off
Rousey kept an extremely busy schedule during 2015, and burning the candle at both ends will catch up to anybody. With three championship fights as well as two blockbuster movies filming and opening last year, Rousey barely had time to breathe. Now with a year out of the spotlight, she should be refreshed and ready to reclaim her throne.
AFP/Getty ImagesPAUL CROCK
She has title envy
Ronda Rousey was the only women's bantamweight champion the UFC had ever known until she fell to Holly Holm. Now the title has bounced from Holm to Miesha Tate to Amanda Nunes, and there's little doubt it bugs Rousey to see that belt around anybody's waist but hers.
Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesJosh Hedges/Zuffa LLC
She's motivated for redemption
Rousey said for years that she wanted to retire undefeated and leave the sport with the title still around her waist. Obviously that can't happen now. Rousey has not only accepted it, but she built an entire Reebok campaign around her "never perfect" slogan. As she said: "Perfect never gets truly tested. Perfect never gets to silence its critics. Perfect never gets a shot at redemption."
Mike Roach/Zuffa LLCZuffa LLC via Getty Images
She's a fast starter
Amanda Nunes is known for being one of the fastest starters in the entire sport and her ability to overwhelm opponents in the opening minutes of a fight. That will be much tougher for her to do against someone like Rousey, who also typically comes storming out of the gate and puts pressure on her opponents as soon as the referee says go. How will Nunes adapt to someone with the same level of ferocity?
Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesJeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
She has the edge in historical matchups
MMA math rarely works, but it can't be ignored what Rousey has done to three fighters who have defeated Nunes in her career. Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis and Sarah D'Alelio all have wins over Nunes and they've all faced Rousey as well. The difference is Rousey has beaten all three of them in a combined 55 seconds.
This is her path back to Holly Holm
This might sound like a strange reason for Rousey to beat Nunes, but ultimately she wants a chance to avenge her loss to Holly Holm and the only way to do that is win back the title on Dec. 30. The championship is most important to Rousey, but there's no doubt she wants to rematch Holm and wash the bad taste of that knockout loss from her mouth. The only way to do that is to win at UFC 207 and hope Holm can bounce back from her last two losses to set up the epic rematch.
This content is subject to copyright.AFP/Getty Images
She out-grapples the grapplers
Amanda Nunes has developed into a powerful striker throughout her career, but the American Top Team fighter is still a very savvy ground technician with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Rousey has feasted on grapplers throughout her entire career and if this fight hits the ground, don't be surprised if she grabs onto an arm and goes back home with it and the UFC women's bantamweight title.
Getty ImagesJeff Gross
Judo vs. judo is just what she wants
In addition to Nunes' grappling skills through jiu-jitsu, she's also a brown belt in judo, which means she may not fear Rousey quite as much as some past opponents if they get locked in the clinch. That could be a massive mistake because Rousey is world class with her judo as an Olympic bronze medalist and she may show off those skills if Nunes opts for that kind of attack on Dec. 30.
Brandon Magnus/Zuffa LLCZuffa LLC via Getty Images
She's perfectly comfortable in the spotlight
Rousey is no stranger to the spotlight but this will be a whole new experience for Nunes. Of course, Nunes headlined UFC 200 with Miesha Tate, but that fight wasn't shifted to the headline spot until a couple of days before the event. Now Nunes is stepping into the biggest fight of her career against the biggest star in the history of women's fighting. Champion or not, Nunes will be tested by that level of pressure at UFC 207.