UFC welterweight contender Jake Ellenberger believes women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is talented enough to hang with her male counterparts inside the cage based on her skill and work ethic.
"The Juggernaut" made the bold proclamation in an interview with Fox Sports on Friday:
"Oh, yeah. She could and she would," Ellenberger said. "I've known her for a few years but what really stands out with her is she works harder than most people in this sport. Male or female, it doesn't matter. She's always in the gym whether she has a fight coming up or not. And it shows ... There's no secret to success but hard work, and she's one of the hardest-working people in the sport in my opinion ... She absolutely could beat a lot of the guys in that division"
Rousey, a former Olympic bronze medalist in judo, is a perfect 9-0 inside the Octagon and has only gone beyond the first round in a fight on one occasion.
Currently boasting four successful title defenses, the "Rowdy" one will step into the cage for the third time in just six-and-a-half months or so when she again defends her belt against Alexis Davis at UFC 175 on July 5.
According to FoxSports.com, Davis seems to believe karma is on her side and that Rousey is due for a letdown. Whether that is wishful thinking will be decided inside the Octagon.
The 27-year-old part-time movie star has yet to truly be tested inside the cage, seeing virtually no offensive output from her opponents outside of her bouts with Miesha Tate and her UFC debut against Liz Carmouche.
According to the UFC's official pound-for-pound rankings, Rousey is the No. 10 fighter in the world, behind UFC welterweight champ Johny Hendricks and in front of middleweight title contender Vitor Belfort.
While Rousey and Ellenberger train at two different gyms, MMA Fighting reports that the heavy-handed wrestler has been boxing with Rousey's head striking coach, Edmond Tarverdyan.
Furthermore, Ellenberger has been frequenting the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy to round out his grappling game—a facility Rousey also visits regularly.
Considering women's MMA has only been a part of the UFC for 15 months, fight fans are probably a ways off from seeing Rousey slug it out with the likes of Urijah Faber or Dominick Cruz.
But if it could happen, would the fans be interested in watching?