Ronda Rousey established a couple of firsts Saturday night at UFC 170. The UFC women's bantamweight champion captured the first knockout victory of her pro career and also set a record for the young division she rules by finishing Sara McMann in only 66 seconds.
The UFC announced the record through its official Twitter account.
.@RondaRousey's KO/TKO at 1:06 is the fastest in UFC women's BW history. Rousey is the 1st female to record a knockdown in her division.— UFC (@ufc) February 23, 2014
In the opening seconds, McMann dictated the terms of the fight, taking the center of the cage and tagging Rousey with a right hand. McMann continued to swing heavily and attack the champion, and the aggression appeared to at least catch Rousey off guard, if not cause direct damage.
Either way, Rousey regrouped, got a hold of McMann's upper body and initiated a clinch along the fence. From the clinch, Rousey began to land knees through McMann's defense. At approximately the one-minute mark, a Rousey knee struck McMann squarely in the liver. McMann fell heavily to the canvas; a few groundstrikes later, and referee Herb Dean called a stop to the contest.
The Las Vegas crowd booed Dean's decision, while observers took to Twitter to decry what they viewed as an early stoppage.
In the cage immediately after the fight, McMann indicated in her comments to broadcaster Joe Rogan that she believed the stoppage was early but not unfair.
"I got hit in the liver, and no matter how hard you train you can't make your liver stronger," McMann told broadcaster Joe Rogan in the cage after the fight. "...I was trying to get back up, but it's my own fault. If you see a fighter drop, you have to protect us."
Rousey, 27, is now 9-0 in pro MMA, including three consecutive defenses of her UFC title. McMann fell to 7-1 as a pro fighter.
It is unclear what the future holds for Rousey. In the current UFC official rankings, Cat Zingano is listed as the top contender, though Zingano is still recovering from knee surgery. Miesha Tate, whom Rousey defeated at UFC 168, is ranked No. 2. Alexis Davis, who defeated Jessica Eye on the UFC 170 undercard, is the third contender.
Scott Harris writes about MMA for Bleacher Report. Follow Scott on Twitter.