And here we go. The MMA world was formally introduced to Ronda Rousey Saturday night. And what an introduction it was. As is her typical result, Ronda Rousey submitted Liz Carmouche in the first round of their UFC Women's World Bantamweight Championship fight.
But this fight was perhaps Rousey's toughest. After trading blows early in the first round, Carmouche was able to put Rousey in a rear-naked choke.
Rousey never looked as though she was close to tapping out. She withstood the rear-naked choke, which Carmouche turned into a face-crunching submission hold while riding on Rousey's back. Rousey worked to get Carmouche's leg within her grasp, then promptly threw Carmouche to the ground.
From that point on, it was only a matter of time before Rousey finished off Carmouche in signature fashion. But that would not come easily.
Rousey and Carmouche wrestled for what seemed like an eternity. Rousey grabbed Carmouche's head and pounded away. And kept pounding. And then pounded some more.
Eventually, Rousey had hit Carmouche enough that she moved in for the kill. The crowd could sense the end was near. But Carmouche was fighting feverishly to survive the round. She staved off the armbar time and again, holding fast and locking her arms together.
But Rousey would not be denied. With less than a minute remaining in the first round, Rousey pushed her left leg down hard on Carmouche's forehead and ripped her right arm free. Carmouche, in an instant, was beaten.
The hyper-extended elbow caused so much pain that Carmouche tapped the moment the hold was locked in.
Carmouche deserves a lot of credit. She took it to Rousey more than any other female fighter ever has. And Rousey could easily have been forced to tap if Carmouche could have cleanly gotten her arm around her neck early in the fight.
And Carmouche was able to successfully defend herself from the armbar for an extended period of time.
But in the end, this match ended as each and every one of Ronda Rousey's previous six fights: a win by submission via an armbar in the first round.
But unlike the other fights, this match meant so much more. Casual MMA fans who may not have been regular viewers of Strikeforce got to see Rousey fight for the first time.
And whatever any Rousey camp fan may say, Rousey absolutely had to win this fight. With this win, she established herself as the next big thing in MMA. A loss would have been a major disappointment, and actually could have set women's MMA back.
But none of that matters now. Rousey came out firing on all cylinders, took every last punch and hold Carmouche could muster and walked out of the Honda Center as the UFC Women's World Bantamweight champion.
Rousey's trainer, Leo Frincu, spoke with me before the fight. He believes that Rousey is unlike any other athlete, male or female. Frincu stated "Carmouche, or any other female fighter, doesn't understand Ronda's skill level. She's a different breed. You cannot prepare for something you don't know exists. Ronda's ability to concentrate and focus on her training, it's immeasurable. Her level of self-awareness helps her experience growth in every training session. It's actually amazing. I personally haven't meet someone like her before. The majority of fighters probably don't even know what I'm talking about."
Frincu, a champion in his own right, knows a winner when he sees one. And Rousey is certainly that.
With this win, Rousey has established herself as a superstar. And she has shown Dana White and every MMA fan that she deserves to be the champion.
Time will tell how long Rousey can stay on top of women's MMA, but at only 26 years old, she has a very bright future ahead.
Special thanks to Ronda Rousey's trainer and wrestling champion Leo Frincu for taking time to speak with me about Ronda Rousey and UFC 157. To learn more about Leo Frincu and his training techniques, visit his websites at www.leofrincu.com and www.highperformancementality.com.
An immigrant from Romania, Leo has overcome many obstacles to become a top trainer for one of the best athletes in the world. His book, called Choosing Freedom, chronicles his personal journey from Romanian poverty to American success.