UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has taken the MMA world by storm with her dominance in recent years, and that continued on Dec. 28 as she successfully defended her title against rival Miesha Tate at UFC 168 in Las Vegas.
From Associated Press reporter Greg Beacham:
Rousey wins by armbar.— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) December 29, 2013
Rousey was forced to fight more than one round for the first time in her career, however; Rousey dominated Tate physically en route to a predictable, impressive victory.
Tate was able to last two rounds, withstanding punishment along the way, but Rousey eventually wore her down and finished things with her patented armbar in Round 3.
This wasn't necessarily Rousey's most impressive victory in terms of a quick finish, but she showed another facet of her repertoire Saturday night by enduring a little bit of punishment herself.
Rousey took part in the first-ever women's UFC fight back in February when she decisively beat Liz Carmouche. She was supposed to face Cat Zingano at UFC 168 originally, but an injury prevented Zingano from competing. Zingano was replaced by Tate both in the title bout and as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter 18.
Although it's possible that a fight against Zingano would have been more competitive, it was certainly interesting to see the rivalry between Rousey and Tate evolve. It is clear that they don't like each other, but Rousey claimed leading up to the fight that Tate's success was good for women's MMA, according to Elias Cepeda of Yahoo! Sports.
It's not like I want her to be like permanently injured or retire or anything like that. It's just like it would be nice not to have to deal with her personally, myself, anymore but the notoriety she's gained from this rivalry has helped all the other girls out so I'm happy that she's actually done better because of it.
The UFC 168 fight didn't mark the first time Rousey and Tate had met in the Octagon as Rousey beat Tate for the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Championship in March 2012. Their rivalry has continued to grow since then, and it came to a head at UFC 168.
Rousey is the unquestioned dominant force in women's MMA, and she proved that once again by beating Tate. Although Tate put forth a valiant effort, she was unable to deal with the aggressiveness strength of Rousey when push came to shove.
It was blatantly obvious ahead of the fight that there was plenty of animosity between Rousey and Tate. That manifested itself during the contest as both women clearly wanted to win decisively. In the end, Rousey once again stood tall.
Who should be Rousey's next opponent after beating Tate?
As great as Rousey is, the main concern relates to finding her some legitimate competition. According to the UFC women's bantamweight rankings, Zingano is still the No. 1 contender, so it would make sense for Rousey to face her next assuming she is able to heal from her injury.
Failing that, Alexis Davis and Sara McMann are definitely options as well. It's questionable whether or not any of them would be able to hang with Rousey, but Rousey's star will continue to rise regardless due to the mainstream attention she has garnered.
With that said, UFC must start putting forth some high-quality women's fights involving Rousey in order for the sport to grow. Watching Rousey dismantle her opponents is entertaining to a point, but true MMA fans would love to see a technical affair.
It's not as if Rousey can or should rein in her dominance, but she is in desperate need of a legitimate challenger. Tate went after Rousey to the best of her ability, but Rousey proved to be the far superior fighter once again.
Even so, UFC 168 was another huge step forward for women's MMA, and its continued growth rests primarily on Rousey's shoulders.
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