Ronda Rousey is still reeling from her loss at UFC 207 but the hits keep coming for the former UFC champion.
This time, the hits are coming from former WBC champ Dianna Diana Prazak and Olympic boxer Mikaela Mayer. The two women spoke with Sky Sports recently about the validity to Rousey’s boxing skills behind closed doors.
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Edmond Tarverdyan previously claimed that Rousey was dropping world champion boxers with body shots. Considering how guarded Rousey’s training was — we only saw her hit mitts with Tarverdyan — there was always skepticism about Rousey’s striking prowess.
“He was talking about me,” Prazak said in reference to Tarverdyan’s comments. “My trainer rang him to say ‘why would you make that up?’ It’s an untruth. I hope she comes back with a totally different team around her who look after her safety.”
Prazak was part of Team Rousey prior to her UFC 193 clash with Holly Holm. Considering Prazak had previously faced Holm and given her own boxing credentials, Prazak seemed like the perfect sparring partner. However, it’s clear things went awry for Prazak and Rousey’s camp.
Our spars were always battles, they were harder than the fights she was having. We had great sparring – she was getting better. My opinion? It wouldn’t have been good for her confidence to keep sparring me, and not being successful. Edmond made that decision. She isn’t a striker.
The argument that Rousey was a top-level striker was not only fueled by her trainer but also by Ring Magazine. The now infamous image of Rousey on the cover of the boxing magazine prompted discussions of Rousey becoming a crossover star.
Mayer was recently part of Rousey’s camp in the lead-up to her fight with Amanda Nunes. While she was complimentary of Rousey’s skills, Mayer was less than confident of Rousey’s ability to compete with high-level boxers.
I have been training for 10 years to be at this level. For her to just walk in to the Olympic level and be competitive – that’s just not probable…We do four two-minute rounds – it’s the pace and scoring that you need to learn. Of course [Rousey isn’t at the same level] just like I wouldn’t be at the same level in MMA or judo.
Mayer and Prazak provide some validity to beliefs many MMA fans already have of Rousey and her team. It’s easy to believe Prazak when she says Rousey was improving. There’s no way an athlete the caliber of Rousey works on a particular skill and not show any kind of improvement. However, it’s clear there was no way of her implementing those improvements once the cage door closed.
She didn’t show any fluidity with her feet, head movement and looked as stiff as one could be against Nunes. It’s clear Rousey was in amazing physical shape prior to UFC 207 but if she keeps getting fed the wrong message, such as the idea that she can strike with anyone, it’s going to be detrimental to her career.
Yes, she can punch hard (just ask Bethe Correia) and we’ve seen her look fluid with her grappling game. We know she’s capable of being like water as Bruce Lee once said. Is she going to get to that level while staying at Glendale Fight Club? If you ask the majority of people within MMA, they’re less than sure.
As a specialist, Rousey has plenty of flaws to improve on but her career in MMA remains uncertain. Considering she’s unlikely to leave GFC considering how loyal she is, questions of Rousey’s training may continue to be a major talking point if she stays in MMA.