Ronda Rousey came into the main event of UFC 157 as a star in both women's MMA and female sports in general. Ater predictably finishing off Liz Carmouche with a first-round armbar, she left the event as a legitimate star within the UFC ranks.
It's obvious Rousey is the perfect trailblazer for women's MMA in the UFC. She's incredibly talented, has a charismatic and forthright personality and boasts a signature move. She's very marketable, and she proved that in the lead-up to UFC 157.
Be honest—you weren't watching because you were salivating over the prospect of Lyoto Machida facing Dan Henderson, a fight that ended up being very dull. Nope, Rousey carried this card from the start, and her exciting (albeit short) bout against Carmouche was exactly what the fans wanted to close the night.
"Imagine how this place would have been had [Machida-Henderson] been the main event," UFC president Dana White said. "Everyone would have left here [angry] and it would have ruined the show."
Rousey and Carmouche also carried the show on the promotional end. White said early estimates are that the results will be far higher than anticipated, squelching concerns in some corners that it might flop.
They were witty, colorful and passionate in telling their stories and the public bought in.
White said in the post-fight press conference that it "would make sense" for Rousey to next face the winner of Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano. That's not a guarantee it will happen, but it's a pretty good indication.
Rousey did defeat Tate in March of last year, though a rematch would do big numbers. Tate is a very talented fighter.
Of course, MMA fans everywhere would love to see Rousey face Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, a fight that many people thought would end up happening at UFC 157 were it not for disputes over which weight class to fight at.
Hopefully, this fight won't become the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather non-fight of women's MMA. It would do enormous numbers if it ever happened.
But regardless of who her next opponent is, one thing is for certain—Rousey is going to take the UFC by storm. Ten fights. Ten first-round armbars. A whole lot of folks clamoring to see her in action next.
"Ronda is a big star, man, and people want to see her," White said after the fight (via Iole).
We sure do.