The sport of Mixed Martial Arts has been exploding all over the world for the last decade. However, as with other professional sports, the women's division has not gained as much momentum.
Gina Carano was the first real big name of the sport, and it was perceived that she would be instrumental in launching WMMA into the spotlight. She was well on her way to doing so, until she lost to Cyborg Santos and subsequently fell off the fighting map to pursue an acting career.
Santos kept the momentum going from that win over Carano by winning fights in dominant fashion and earning the Strikeforce Women's Featherweight Championship. She was creating buzz and was even starting to be considered as perhaps being included in the universal pound-for-pound rankings. However, a failed drug test after her most recent fight ended that talk and cast a shadow on the viability of WMMA.
Now, for the first time, Dana White is consistently promoting the upcoming Strikeforce title fight between Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. The fight will be held on Saturday, March 3rd at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Fans will have no problem getting used to seeing the face of "Rowdy." It's a good thing too, because she will be the face of WMMA for quite some time.
Ronda Rousey is synonymous with "armbar." Her signature move launched her into the spotlight, and will continue get fans excited to see from her in the cage.
The way in which she can change the complexion of a fight through a seemingly effortless transition into a dominant position is simply beautiful.
Let's face it, Cyborg Santos had no chance of becoming the face of WMMA because of her physical appearance.
Quite honestly, Gina Carano garnered so much buzz not because of her fighting prowess, but because of her good looks.
Rousey has the beauty that most fans look for in a WMMA fighter. What is unique about her is that she combines her good looks with the skills of an excellent fighter.
She can attract attention in the cage for her fighting, as well as sponsors outside of it for her sex appeal.
If you know anything about Ronda Rousey, you know she is always communicating with her fans. You can count on a few tweets per hour from her, and she appears to be very accessible with the media.
She is doing everything right as far as her fan interaction goes. To be the face of WMMA, she will have to strengthen these positive attributes.
There are few things more exciting than a fighter who ends fights in the first round. You can expect great things to happen from the start of the fight when watching Rousey.
Not only has Ronda won all four of her fights in the first round, and they have all ended in under 49 seconds.
Each fight, she has stormed the opponent, taken them down and made them tap via her signature armbar.
When a fighter has a signature move, and is known for making quick work of their opponents, people will pay to see him/her fight. It doesn't matter if they are male or female.
"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey is quickly becoming one of the best trash talkers in the game.
While some fans dislike the trash talking, most would agree that it helps hype a fight.
Ronda is unique in the sense she can flash a brilliant smile and appear to be your best friend in one interview, then flip a switch and become the Chael Sonnen of WMMA in the next.
The face of a sport needs to strike a balance between talking trash and being respectful.
Fighters like Nick Diaz are always in trash talk mode, and that is a turn off for many fans. On the flip side, somebody like Jake Shields is so soft spoken that most don't get excited for his fights.
Rousey is the best of both worlds. She is willing to take shots at an opponent, but appears thankful for the chance to fight at the same time.
For somebody to be the iconic image of a sport, there must a reason to like the athlete.
Georges St. Pierre and Jon "Bones" Jones are arguably the faces of the UFC. Players like Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers represent the NFL. Matt Kemp is emerging in the MLB as the image of that sport. These are all individuals who are respectful in the media, and take the time to be involved with fans and charities.
The NBA is a mixed bag, but certainly LeBron James is not the face of that sport because of how disliked he is.
The point is, to be the face of a sport you need to be successful and gracious. Success will soon find Rousey in her fight with Tate. There is no doubt she will continue her sincere gratitude to her fans and the sport, once she becomes a champion.
If Rousey is going to be the face of WMMA, she needs to win this fight against Miesha Tate.
There is no doubt that Tate expects Rousey to rush her like she has in each of her previous fights. It would be irresponsible for Rousey and her camp not to have an alternate gameplan, should that initial rush not be successful.
The importance of this fight is unparalleled to any other fight WMMA has had. This may very well be the event that propels WMMA into the UFC. If this fight were to have been on a UFC PPV card, it still would have been one of the most anticipated fights of the night.
Unfortunately, the talent pool for WMMA is not very deep. The good news is that with every promoted women's event, it perks the interest of women that much more. Eventually the number of female fighters will be large enough to sustain a division in the UFC.
Get a good look at "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey, when the belt is wrapped around her waist, she will be have it for a while.
For additional information follow Joe Chacon on Twitter (@JoeChacon).