A night of anticipation ended exactly the way everyone thought it would. Everyone except Sarah Kaufman.
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Ronda Rousey proved why she is the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion by submitting former champion Sarah Kaufman via armbar 54 seconds into the first round of their bout at San Diego’s Valley View Casino Center Saturday night.
Entering this fight, some critics questioned Rousey’s jaw, believing that if she got into a brawl with a hard-hitter like Kaufman that she would have sincere difficulty imposing her will. Others questioned whether Rousey would be able to stand up to the pressure of the occasion with this being her first title defense. They questioned if she was distracted by the publicity surrounding her ESPN The Magazine shoot, appearance on ‘Conan’ and the attention she was receiving from UFC head honcho Dana White
Yet, after a menacing staredown, Rousey charged directly at Kaufman as if she was telling everyone to shut up. And they all did. In what may be Rousey’s most dominating performance to date considering the quality of her opponent, Rousey has now distanced herself from every other woman in MMA.
But that doesn’t mean the ‘Rowdy’ one doesn’t have other targets.
"First of all I need to send out a challenge to Miss Cyborg out there," said Rousey just minutes after her triumph.
That’s right, Rousey threw fuel on the flames. She and Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos, who was suspended in January for a positive steroid test, have shared a war of words over social media. Santos has stated that she wants Rousey to come up 10 pounds in weight so that they could fight. However, Rousey, on the mic, saw things differently.
"I’m the champ now," she said. "The champ doesn’t come to you. You go to the champ. Come down to 135 and let’s settle this!"
Rousey even agreed to meet ‘Cyborg’ outside.
"If you still want to go out in the parking lot, my friend Wetzel brought my set of gloves and I’m going to be right there!"
The cheers echoing through the arena were deafening.
Whether this is posturing for an upcoming blockbuster fight or truly bad blood, Rousey knows what she is doing.
She’s selling women’s MMA. And the world is certainly buying in.