Women’s mixed martial arts have been a point of discussion for several years now. While many loyal MMA fans enjoy watching the ladies, its shallow pool of fighters is the biggest reason it’s still struggling to stay afloat in the larger organizations. Although the playing field is narrow, women’s MMA is not without its stars.
We are only two weeks removed from one of the biggest women’s MMA fights in the last three years. Undefeated judoka Ronda Rousey defeated Miesha Tate to win the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight title.
Rousey, in just five professional fights, has catapulted herself into the MMA spotlight once owned by a former headliner, Gina Carano. Carano was the unofficial ambassador for women’s MMA. She participated in the first televised MMA fight featuring women as well as the first women’s MMA contest to headline the fight card of a major organization.
Since her loss to “Cyborg” Santos, fans have been practically begging for Carano to come back to the ring—including myself.
Now that her Hollywood career is taking off, there hasn’t been much hope that she will return. Although, with the emergence of Rousey, I believe this is just the fight to lure Gina back to the ring. Given the allure of these two fighters, this fight must happen and here are a few reasons why.
Ok, let’s just go ahead and get this one out of the way. Gina Carano is absolutely hot. The fact that she can kick your face in makes her that much hotter. The fact that she plays it down like just another average girl raises her hotness into the stratosphere.
On the other hand, Ronda Rousey is pretty cute herself. While I wouldn’t put her in the same category as Carano, she’s more of a Danica Patrick-type “hot.” She’s attractive, but her profession raises her “hotness” profile.
Let’s face it, Danica is cute, but her love for driving fast cars gives her a boost. The promotion and selling of this fight will be the key to its success.
Ronda Rousey essentially talked her way into her fight with former champion Miesha Tate. Her record was 4-0—3-0 as an amateur—and had nowhere near the ring experience of Tate.
Yet Rousey got her shot and added Tate’s arm to the list of others she has collected along the way—all seven career wins were by armbar submission. Her tough-talking style and ability to make quick work of her opponents has thrust her into the limelight.
Gina Carano has moved into the Hollywood scene with her recent lead role in the action film Haywire. Starring aside Hollywood heavyweights like Michael Douglas and Antonio Banderas has done wonders for Carano’s celebrity.
A return to the ring to face the current champion would bring in a totally new fanbase, leading me to the next topic…
This fight could not happen at a more opportune time than 2012. Ronda Rousey is a world-renowned judoka. She took the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
She has also won three gold medals in the Pan American games and a silver medal in the 2007 World Championships. Rousey would certainly bring in fans of the Olympiad. At a time when the whole world is watching the games, she could capitalize on the publicity.
Gina Carano is cementing herself as the next female action star in Hollywood. As MMA has grown, we have seen more and more celebrities and Hollywood faces attending the fights.
Carano already has the attention of the MMA die-hards. However, those who saw her fight for the first time on screen will potentially be inclined to see her do the real thing.
Picture this, Gina Carano fighting Ronda Rousey in the cage with Angelina Jolie—minus Brad hopefully—watching ringside. Yep, that could happen.
A matchup between these two fighters creates a contrast of styles. Gina Carano is a hard-hitting striker with a muay thai background.
The one bright spot in her fight with “Cyborg”—a Brazilian jiu-jitsu purple belt—was that she was able to defend on the ground and avoid Santos’ dangerous submission attempts. She would certainly need those skills against the judo expert Ronda Rousey.
Rousey wasn’t much of a striking threat against Miesha Tate, but she demonstrated some impressive takedowns and immediately looked for submissions. Carano has struggled with defending takedowns at times, especially against Santos.
If the fight remains standing, the advantage is largely in Carano’s favor. Her muay thai and striking prowess could possibly overwhelm Rousey.
However, Rousey has proven to be a submission wizard and will certainly look to get the fight to the ground whenever possible.
If you’ve watched the Santos vs. Carano or Rousey vs. Tate fights, you can plainly see that there is definitely a draw and an appeal for women’s MMA.
The problem is not a lack of interest; it’s an issue of a limited talent pool. UFC President Dana White has stated several times that while he is not against women competing, he doesn’t feel that there are enough top-level fighters to populate the divisions.
There are a large number of women who practice martial arts or compete at some level in another combat sport. As Rousey has shown us, a female judoka can be very successful in MMA. Putting on more high-profile fights will ultimately grow the sport.
A fight like Rousey vs. Carano could launch women’s MMA further into the mainstream. Women who have dreamed of competing in MMA need to see that the sport is being taken seriously and that there is a future in the sport.
Rousey’s fight against Tate is another step towards solidifying the female stake in MMA.
Rousey facing Carano would bring that star power to not only show that there is an audience for women fighters but also that there is the potential for women to make a career out of it.