Florian: Rousey & Tate's rivalry is a beautiful thing for women's MMA
DEC 29, 2013 4:45p ET
I'll be honest. I really wasn't sold on the women's UFC division when it was first announced. I enjoyed watching Gina Carano and Chris Cyborg compete but I wouldn't say that I was a women's MMA fan. I love seeing Usain Bolt sprint the 100m but I'm not a track fan. I've always appreciated it and thought highly of track athletes but I don't eagerly follow the track world or set my DVR to record the next big track meet. I had this very same approach when watching women's MMA. To be even more honest, there was a part in my monkey brain that told me, I didn't like it. I didn't want to see two women hurt each other in a cage. I also thought the division was simply not deep enough to gain much interest. I was wrong.
Rivalries are an amazing thing in sports. It brings intrigue and passion to competition. To have an epic rivalry like Rousey and Tate had so early in a division's history was a true blessing for women in the UFC. So many credit the brutal rivalry of the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers from the 1980's as the main reason for why the NBA is so popular today. To be successful, every sport needs someone you can cheer for and someone you can hiss at
“Rivalries are an amazing thing in sports. It brings intrigue and passion to competition. To have an epic rivalry like Rousey and Tate had so early in a division's history was a true blessing for women in the UFC.”
We have some wonderful rivalries in the women's division now and the good looks, toughness, skills and stardom of Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey are largely if not solely responsible. I never thought that I would be as excited to watch a women's UFC fight as I was on December 28th at UFC 168. Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate stole the show. They were a co-main event next to a Main Event that was perhaps the biggest rematch in UFC history and regardless of the terrible injury that the legend Anderson Silva suffered that night, they were still the huge story line heading into Saturday night.
As I expected, Miesha gave Ronda the toughest fight of her career. However, I also expected Ronda to be pretty dominant in her win and she proved myself and the odds makers correct with a vast array of crisp punches on the feet, technical throws and a machine gun spray of submission attempts set up by relentless ground and pound. Miesha showed a tremendous amount of heart and skill to escape sub after sub attempt but it was clear that Ronda was operating at a completely different level for most of the fight. In the end, like death and taxes came Ronda Rousey's armbar for the win. It always takes two to tango in order to receive the Fight Of the Night Bonus and both Miesha and Ronda truly deserved that honor for their amazing back and forth action.
What is more exciting is that the competition keeps getting better. Ronda Rousey is a star whether you like it or not. She is also one hell of a fighter. Her dominance isn't a problem so long as we have fights that you can get excited for and Ronda has some interesting challenges ahead of her. Next up for Rousey is fellow Olympian, Olympic medalist and freestyle wrestler Sara McMann. She has the world-class competition and medals that are on par with what Ronda has experienced. She also possesses the athleticism and toughness that Ronda has. I'm excited for that fight. I'm excited for that division that has other rising stars like Cat Zingano, Jessica Eye, Alexis Davis and others. With Miesha's work ethic and potential, I wouldn't be surprised to see her back in the championship picture again.
Soon, another season of The Ultimate Fighter will begin that will debut yet another division for the UFC. That division is the 115lbs Women's division. The winner of that season will become champion of the strawweight division in the UFC and for the first time, we will have two female champions in the organization. Those 115 lbs females should thank the Fertittas and Dana but perhaps they should also thank Ronda Rousey. To be a champion and a star in the UFC doesn't necessarily go hand in hand. Rousey is the exception and not the rule. Ronda proves that there is plenty of room for female champions and female stars in the UFC.