Ronda Rousey Needs Worthy Challenger to Take Women's MMA to Next Level

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Ronda Rousey Needs Worthy Challenger to Take Women's MMA to Next Level
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Ronda Rousey's historic debut was a success at UFC 157. She can continue to gain popularity with a few more wins, but to truly take women's MMA to a new level, she needs a rival.

Rivalries elevate the careers of the participants and the sports they compete in. They are best when they aren't designed, but there are just a few ways a rivalry can come into fruition.

Previous history is perhaps the most common route, but with Rousey having dismantled seven opponents with relative ease, that seems unlikely. 

Liz Carmouche and Miesha Tate gave Rousey her toughest fights, but like the other five women that have faced her, they too submitted to the armbar in the first round.

Here is Rousey abusing Tate's arm in their March 2012 meeting.

video from Strikeforce

It would be far-fetched to push either of them as a rival. Making either lady the fighter marketed as Rousey's biggest UFC challenge would be an example of rivalry by design.

Another way to erect a formidable challenger would be to have another woman build her own impressive string of victories.

Who is most likely to emerge as Rousey's rival?

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If another fighter in the women's division begins to prove themselves as a solid contender, that could be the spark needed to create a rivalry.

A few vicious knockouts, or even a woman that proves to be excellent in defending submissions, would make for an intriguing potential opponent.

Of course, the requisite calling out and trash talk would play a role in building anticipation.

It's fun to speculate on how Rousey would do against a powerful striker. The thing is, at her weight (135 pounds), that may not exist in the division. The most realistic skill set to challenge Rousey is a woman equally adept at grappling, and submissions.

That too, may be an impossible find.

We can all enjoy Rousey's glory now, but her fame and impact on the sport will only grow when she has someone to that pushes her.

 

Follow Brian Mazique and Franchiseplay on YouTube and Twitter for reactions, analysis and news from the world of sports and sports video games

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