Ronda Rousey: Is the New Strikeforce Champion the Best Finisher in All of MMA?

Jonathan Snowden@JESnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterMarch 4, 2012

Rousey: in this case looks can kill!
Rousey: in this case looks can kill!

We don't know the extent of the damage yet, but it looked bad. Real bad. Ronda Rousey, a 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist, bent Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate's arm in a direction no one ever intended an arm to bend.

As Showtime shared the brutal submission with us in the slowest of slow motion—and don't think we didn't notice the sick gleam in your eye, Showtime—Tate's arm appeared to break. She was willing to take things that far before finally giving in and tapping out.

Slow-motion replay confirms Tate did indeed tap. But by the time she did, it was too late. The damage was done.

In some ways, it's fitting that the fight ended this way. Tate and Rousey had talked trash for months leading into the fight. At the weigh-in, they got physical and went head to head. If the war of words had been intended to hype the fight, things had gotten out of hand. The referee made it clear as he gave his opening instructions that the two women viewed this as a real grudge match.

"I understand," he said. "We are not touching gloves."

Many MMA fans question the talent of the female athletes in MMA. Women are not as strong, fast or explosive as men the same size. Some won't like me pointing that out. It's just science.

But Ronda Rousey showed that a female fighter can be every bit as skilled as her male counterparts. Even more so. Her grappling is on another level altogether. Between her judo throws and her armbar setups that come out of nowhere, fighters—both male and female—will be replaying this fight all day Sunday to figure out exactly how she did what she did.

Ronda Rousey is a monster clad in silk. She's a pretty package, but one you open up with caution. Rousey is the best finisher in all of MMA. Her record speaks for itself. In five Strikeforce fights, Rousey has five first-round armbar finishes. She also has three amateur fights on her record. All ended by armbar. None lasted a minute.

Rousey is a fearless and merciless finisher—an assassin on the ground. That's a big thing. Some fighters flinch before doing their opponent serious harm. Rousey won't hesitate. She's learned that lesson. After showing some restraint in an earlier fight, trying to protect an overmatched Sarah D'Alelio, Rousey vowed that she would break an arm if needed to in order to get the win.

She may have lived up to her word Saturday night against Tate.

"I don't feel that bad about it," Rousey said after the fight. She shouldn't. They give you the chance to tap, and Miesha didn't want to concede. That was a choice. Ronda did what she had to do.

Sarah Kaufman, Rousey's next opponent, will start training armbar defenses next week. No doubt Tate did as well, but it did not matter. Rousey is competing at a different level. Gina Carano had the looks. "Cyborg" Santos had the ferocity. Rousey combines them both. Women's MMA may have just found its first long-term star.

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