UFC fighter Ronda Rousey announced she would take time to contemplate her future in the sport after Amanda Nunes knocked her out in 48 seconds at Friday's UFC 207 in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena.
Rousey spoke about her pending decision in a statement to ESPN on Saturday, per Ramona Shelburne:
I want to say thank you to all of my fans who have been there for me in not only the greatest moments but in the most difficult ones. Words cannot convey how much your love and support means to me.
Returning to not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year. However, sometimes -- even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly -- it doesn't work how you planned. I take pride in seeing how far the women's division has come in the UFC and commend all the other women who have been part of making this possible, including Amanda.
I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future. Thank you for believing in me and understanding.
The loss to Nunes was Rousey's second straight defeat. Holly Holm knocked her out at UFC 193 in November 2015.
Rousey, 29, was once arguably the biggest star in the UFC and was a pioneer in the women's division. She won her first 12 professional fights and her first six in the UFC, ending each either by knockout or submission. Her signature armbar finished Cat Zingano in 14 seconds, Miesha Tate on two separate occasions and Liz Carmouche in Rousey's first UFC fight, among others.
But her dominance has disappeared in her last two bouts, a fact Nunes blamed on a new strategic approach from Rousey and her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan.
"He thinks she's a boxer," she said after the fight, per Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times. "He's put that in her head. I don't know why he did that."
She added: "She had great judo. She could do more in this division, but [Tarverdyan's] done this crazy [strategy] with boxing, and it's had her go down."
And while Rousey will take time to think, Nunes doesn't expect to see her fighting in the UFC again.
"That's it for her. For sure, she's going to retire," she predicted, per Pugmire. "She can't take any more. If she wanted a rematch, it'd be the same thing."
UFC President Dana White, meanwhile, expressed gratitude for Rousey, regardless of what she decides.
"[It] wasn't her night, and none of this would be here without Ronda Rousey," he said, per Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie. "Rousey built this. She talked me into letting women come into the UFC, and it was the smartest thing I've ever done. Regardless of whether she comes back, she doesn't come back—she's a winner. She built this whole thing."
Certainly, Rousey changed women's MMA forever and was the division's first true superstar. If she returns to fighting, she'll remain one of the sport's most compelling figures, if only to see if she can regain her prior dominance.
If she retires, she'll leave the sport in a far better place than she found it.
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