Ronda Rousey vs. Fallon Fox Head-to-Toe Breakdown
Whether she agrees or disagrees, the time may soon come when Ronda Rousey has to step into the cage and defend her UFC women's bantamweight title against openly transgendered fighter Fallon Fox.
At Cage Fighting Alliance 11, Fox submitted Allanna Jones with a brutal shin choke in the semifinals of the promotion's inaugural featherweight tournament. The victory extended Fox's unbeaten record to 3-0 and guaranteed her a spot in the finals against Ashlee-Evans Smith.
If she defeats Smith, Fox will become the first ever CFA women's featherweight champion. While this feat would be a monumental one in itself, Fox's goals and dreams lie outside of the fledgling promotion.
During an interview with Inside MMA's Ron Kruck, she admitted that her ultimate goal was to one day compete in the UFC. The idea of Fox being allowed to compete against other women hasn't gone over well with some of the UFC's biggest stars, including Rousey.
In April, Rousey told the New York Post that she would fight Fox if the UFC came asking, but ultimately, she believes the bout would put her at a disadvantage:
"She can try hormones, chop her pecker off, but it's still the same bone structure a man has. It's an advantage. I don't think it's fair. ...What if she became UFC champion and we had a transgender women's champion? It's a very socially difficult situation."
UFC President Dana has already gone on record in claiming he doesn't believe in allowing Fox to fight other women, but he will leave the decision up to the athletic commissions. If Fox keeps winning and continues getting cleared to fight, she could one day compete under the bright lights of the UFC.
Is she ready for the big show? What would happen if she stepped into the cage with the top pound-for-pound woman on the planet?
Here is a head-to-toe breakdown of Rousey vs. Fox.
The recently released video of Rousey sparring with multiple bantamweight boxing champ Vic Darchinyan really shows the dramatic improvements she has made in her boxing.
The fluidity at which she moves around in the pocket is astounding for someone who has only been fighting professionally for two years. She could present a lot of problems for Fox on the feet, but the best bet here is for Rousey to set up takedowns and avoid the standup exchanges.
Few women pack the kind of punch Fox has demonstrated in her short MMA tenure. It's tough erasing the image of Ericka Newsome's limp body crumpling to the canvas after eating a vicious knee from Fox at CFA 10.
Despite her ever-improving standup, Rousey still becomes a bit flustered when heavy punches come her way. Exchanging in the pocket is quite possibly the toughest transition for any grappler to make, and Rousey still has a ways to go.
Allanna Jones was able to expose some serious holes in Fox's boxing defense. Rousey can find some success on the feet as long as she avoids getting clipped by any haymakers—which is asking a lot against a fighter like Fox.
Edge: Fallon Fox
Fox, a purple belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is certainly no slouch in the grappling department, but there is only one Ronda Rousey.
It's tough envisioning Fox fending off the same world-class judo Rousey has used to toss grown men around like toddlers. Those familiar with grappling understand that superior technique trumps size and strength.
"TUF" Season 17 cast member Uriah Hall would be glad to tell you all about Rousey's impeccable technique.
Rousey is an Olympic bronze medalist in Judo who has finished all of her MMA bouts in the first round with an armbar. No other fighter in the sport—man or woman—can make those claims.
An interesting challenge for Rousey against Fox would be finding a way to close the distance and getting to an offensive position in the clinch against the cage. This is typically Rousey's favorite position to initiate trips and throws, but it could prove difficult muscling Fox around.
With that said, it's hard not to like Rousey's chances if this turns into a grappling match.
Edge: Ronda Rousey
Fox is likely the stronger fighter, but it'll take more than strength to derail Rousey, who would have a major edge in conditioning and experience.
There is nothing quite like fighting in the UFC. Some fighters with worldwide experience come to the UFC and still manage to shrink under the bright lights. Most in the MMA community call this phenomenon the "UFC jitters."
While Rousey hasn't had tons of experience, she has already headlined a UFC pay-per-view and two Strikeforce cards. Fox is just getting her feet wet under the CFA banner.
Another concern for Fox would be conditioning. Against Jones, she faded after the first round, which led to telegraphed takedown attempts and sloppy striking. Rousey has never been out of the first round, but it's far-fetched to think her cardio isn't built for the long haul.
With Rousey owning an advantage in the grappling department, Fox's conditioning could be her undoing in this bout. Her best chance to win this fight would be by knockout, which becomes less likely every round.
If Rousey can survive the early storm, she should have no trouble taking advantage of Fox's depleted gas tank.
Edge: Ronda Rousey
There is always a chance Fox lands something spectacular or ends up on top in a wild ground scramble, but Rousey is just too talented and experienced at this point.
The bout against Jones really showed some holes in Fox's game that she'll have to patch up to even hang with UFC contenders.
People rarely take the time to appreciate how great of shape women MMA fighters stay in. It's rare to see any woman gas out after only a round of action in Invicta or the UFC.
Fox has to figure out a way to fix her cardio woes if she ever hopes to compete with the upper-echelon fighters in the division.
She's strong enough to fend Rousey off early and make it out of the first round, but it'll only be delaying the inevitable, as Rousey will eventually secure a takedown and latch on another one of her patented armbar submissions.
Prediction: Ronda Rousey by Submission Round 2 - Armbar