Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey is the face of the Strikeforce mixed martial arts fighting promotion.
Her utterly dominant performance Saturday night against challenger Sarah Kaufman is yet another loud statement by the reigning bantamweight champion. She was expected to utilize her Olympic bronze medal level judo skills to control Kaufman and wear her down.
There was no "wearing down" needed.
Instead, 54 seconds into the bout, Rousey snapped on her grueling armbar move and that was all she wrote. Kaufman had no choice but to submit.
The most impressive fact was how fast it all went down. Not even a minute into the main event.
It may not have provided an exciting, hard-fought culmination for those in attendance at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. However, the main event of the night went down as it should have: Rousey’s arms raised victorious.
Like Chuck Liddell, Ken Shamrock, Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture of the UFC, Rousey is in a position to take on the role of the face of the fledgling promotion. Additionally, she’s taken over for the retired Gina Carano as the face of the entire women’s MMA movement.
Rousey has become somewhat of a media sensation in the wake of her explosion onto the MMA scene. She was featured on the cover of ESPN The Magazine and made an appearance on Conan. There’s not a media opportunity that 25-year-old should or would pass up.
She’s blowing up right now and there isn’t any sign of her coming down.
The biggest problem for her career and the continued rise of Strikeforce is that there aren’t enough competent competitors to give her a decent fight. The biggest ideas out there right now circle around having fighters drop to her 135-pound weight class in order to create a significant matchup.
Rousey called out Cris "Cyborg" Santos after her win Saturday night, according to Mike Chiappetta of MMAFighting.com:
I need to send out a challenge to Miss Cyborg out there. People want to see the first fair fight of your life. I'm the champ now. The champ doesn't go to you, you go to the champ. Come down to 135 and let's settle this.
Cyborg has previously stated she wants Rousey to fight her at her weight—145 pounds.
The fight will have to wait, as Cyborg is coming off of a steroid suspension.
Until then, Rousey will continue to win the hearts and minds of the fans as the face of the promotion. We’ll see if Strikeforce can capitalize on her fame and vault itself into the mainstream as the UFC did.