Ronda Rousey Must Emerge Victorious in UFC 168 to Be Taken Seriously

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIDecember 28, 2013

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 23:  Ronda Rousey (L) attempts to submit Liz Carmouche in their UFC Bantamweight Title fight during UFC 157 at Honda Center on February 23, 2013 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Reigning UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey has been busy despite a 10-month absence from the Octagon. She has taken parts in movies and appeared in a Marc Jacobs T-shirt line. These activities have put the focus on her looks rather than her abilities as a fighter.

It could be conceived that Rousey's focus hasn't been in the right place lately, as her Twitter account suggests just one day before her fight:

Rousey has received criticism from upcoming opponent Miesha Tate due to her actions outside of UFC circles, according to an interview with Marc Raimondi of Fox Sports. Said Tate:

Every single woman that fights MMA has done just as much work as Ronda has, we just haven't gotten as much turnaround. Those women who came before her haven’t been on magazine covers, they weren't plastered everywhere by the UFC. They didn't get the same reward back. She got 10 times back what she was putting in and maybe everyone else was getting 1 to 1.

Tate continued:

I know what it was like to be fighting for breadcrumbs and not to be taken seriously. I didn't just jump into this. It's no disrespect to Ronda, she's a great athlete. But there's another side to the story that people aren't seeing. Girls didn't get the same things Ronda has gotten.

Even a recent article from the New York Post reflected heavily on Rousey's actions in the public's eye before touching on her upcoming bout against Tate.

With her fellow fighters and media outlets concentrating so heavily on her looks, it is up to Rousey to emerge victorious in convincing fashion to be taken seriously in MMA circles.

That being said, all opinions aside, Rousey is a fantastic fighter. She is undefeated with a 7-0 record, as each of her UFC bouts has ended in the first round due to submission from a devastating armbar.

It will be easier said than done for Rousey on Saturday. Tate is a ferocious and experienced fighter. Tate holds a 13-4 record and has the stamina to go the distance in a fight—something Rousey has never had to do.

The last time these two faced off, Rousey was able to defeat Tate by armbar submission. However, that contest lasted for 4:27—the first time Rousey was unable to defeat an opponent within the first minute of the matchup.

We could certainly be in store for another highly contested matchup this time around, as Rousey's absence from the Octagon could prove to be detrimental. After all, Tate has continued to be active with her last fight taking place this past April.

If Rousey is to get away from public attention such as the tweet below from USA Today Sports, it all must begin with an enthralling matchup that culminates in a big win for the UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion.