Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann have been linked to one another since they entered the mixed martial arts scene.
Both women are Olympic medalists, both women made their pro debuts in 2011, and both remain undefeated. It has always seemed as if they were on a collision course.
Rousey has steamrolled her opponents and has become a star. McMann's story has taken a little bit longer. She fought up the ranks through regional promotions before signing on to the largest promotion offering women's MMA.
McMann signed to Strikeforce earlier this month and will square off against Liz Carmouche on November 3rd in Oklahoma City. Should McMann get by Carmouche, it would put her in line for a crack at Rousey, the current Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion.
Should that fight happen, it will be the biggest fight in women's MMA history. The two most decorated athletes fighting one another for the championship.
Who will come out on top?
Neither are noted strikers and neither have showcased their abilities.
McMann has been in more brawls than Rousey, but that is because Rousey immediately decimates her opposition on the mat. McMann has a tendency to enjoy the firefights and puts on exciting, rudimentary brawls.
Rousey has been getting rave reviews for her technique from her coaches. Edmond Tarverdyan, Rousey's striking coach, had this to say on Sherdog Radio's Beatdown:
“If I could, I’d turn that girl into a boxing professional world champion. She was sparring with girls in our gym that are like 16-1 and WBA World Champions, Lucia Rijker…and Ronda gets the best out of it.”
Her All Access show on Showtime prior to the Kaufman bout also showed her working with Richard Perez, noted boxing trainer of the Diaz Brothers.
From the little video available, and the credible reviews of her work, Rousey looks to be light years ahead of McMann on the feet.
This is not even close. Rousey is clearly the more accomplished submission artist.
She has dominated everyone put in her way with the same exact submission, and there was nothing that they could do to stop it.
McMann has faced two submission specialists in her short career. In January, McMann went to battle with Hitomi Akano and was placed in several dangerous positions. Thanks to her brute strength, she avoided several submission attempts, but that will not cut it against the likes of Rousey.
In her last outing, McMann once again was put in compromising positions against Shayna Baszler. Once again, she survived and picked up the win.
McMann's submission defense will need to improve if she hopes to avoid tapping the mat against the pound-for-pound best female in the world.
These two women are the apex of the sport. Elite world-class athletes. It is what makes the potential matchup so enticing.
They both have the star qualities that you cannot describe.
The biggest question mark with Rousey has been cardio. No one knows how she will react if pushed in a fight. McMann could test that theory. We have seen her go to war for three rounds and grind out wins.
If McMann is able to drag the fight into the later rounds, we may finally have those questions answered and see how Rousey reacts to adversity.
But that is a big "if."
Rousey and McMann exhibit the same qualities it takes to be a champion. That is why they captured medals when they represented the United States. When looking to give one the edge, however, the needle ticks every so slightly to McMann because we have seen her go the distance.
Rousey's cardio is still a question mark.
This is why everyone wants to watch this fight. Rousey's judo vs. McMann's wrestling. Which comes out on top?
When all things are equal more often than not wrestlers seem to get the better of their judo counterparts in MMA. Things were not equal when she faced Miesha Tate. The former Strikeforce champion, a wrestler, was a Washington State High School champion. McMann is an Olympic medalist.
Things are very much equal for this fight.
Using what we have seen from their male counterparts I have to lean toward wrestling. McMann is powerful and has a remarkable base. That will make it much more difficult for Rousey to utilize leverage and put McMann on the mat.
It is entirely possible that Rousey obliterates that belief, but we will have to wait to see if she is able to keep up her dominance of the competition and put McMann's butt on the canvas.
McMann may have the advantage in the grappling department, and she may get Rousey on her back but if that is where it goes, she will be tapping out.
She does not have the submission defense to prevent Rousey from collecting a limb.
Should either woman chose to keep the fight on its feet, Rousey is the more skilled fighter in that department, as well.
Rousey is head and shoulders above every single female fighter in mixed martial arts today. Every single one. Period.
Even if McMann is able to dictate where the fight takes place, Rousey is the better fighter on the mat and on her feet. She will be the one doing damage in this fight. The good thing for McMann is that she has plenty of time to improve her game before she gets a crack at the title and Rousey.
I think Rousey will continue to seek the easiest path to victory, and that will be to pick McMann apart on her feet. She will do damage and wear down McMann until she is unable to take any more punishment from one of the best fighters, male or female, on the planet today.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey defeats Sara McMann by TKO in the third round.