After suffering the largest upset in UFC history, there is much speculation surrounding what's next for Ronda Rousey. It seems almost certain that the former women’s bantamweight champion will get a rematch with Holly Holm, but it isn’t clear when that will take place or how she’ll bounce back from the first loss of her career.
Entering the fight as an incredibly heavy favorite, Rousey looked like the underdog in nearly six minutes of action. Holm dominated the sport’s top star even before a kick to the head and several punches forced referee Herb Dean to stop the fight. Holm clearly won the first round, landing several clean punches to her opponent’s face, and not allowing Rousey to lock in the armbar that has made her so successful.
If Rousey and Holm do meet again, it likely won’t happen until at least the summer. Before the UFC 193 fight, Rousey indicated that she didn’t want to fight before UFC 200 on July 9, 2016 in Las Vegas. Rousey has denied rumors that she was seriously hurt in Saturday’s loss, but she said less than 24 hours after the fight that she is “going to take a little bit of time.”
Rousey finds herself in a position that she’s never faced. Not only had she won her first 12 fights, but she did so in incredibly dominant fashion, needing just over 25 minutes total to remain undefeated. As she gained popularity, Rousey seemingly got better, defeating her last three opponents in 64 total seconds.
After losing for the first time in her professional career, it will be important for Rousey to get her confidence back. The 28-year-old was adamant that she would remain undefeated, but she was manhandled in a one-sided fight.
Rousey might still be the best female fighter in the world, but Holm’s victory was no accident. The champ is an accomplished boxer with a perfect MMA record, and Rousey was unable to stop her, even though she knew what was coming. Rousey had previously talked about Holm’s dangerous kicks to the head and her ability to defend takedowns, and she still barely made it to the second round.
Holm has drawn comparisons to Buster Douglas, which is unfair to the 34-year-old. Douglas’ famous win over Mike Tyson quickly proved to be a fluke, as he suffered a third-round knockout to Evander Holyfield in his next bout, losing for the fifth time in his career and then fading into obscurity. Holm improved her MMA record to 10-0, and looks like a legitimate fighter for her weight class.
Holm used her experience as a 19-time world champion boxer to defeat Rousey, as Rousey unsuccessfully tried to trade punches with the new champ. If Holm is able to stay upright against Rousey in a rematch, she can give her a second straight loss, a possibility that seemed impossible just a few days ago.
Rousey will have at least an eight-month break before getting her rematch. She had less than a four-month break between her last two fights, and she hasn’t gone eight months in between fights since she defeated Miesha Tate on Dec. 28, 2013, after a 10-month respite. That fight proved to be the toughest of Rousey’s career, before losing to Holm, needing more than one round to win for the only time in her career.
But Rousey's extended time away might be for the best, as she regroups with new strategies and considers a split from polarizing trainer Edmond Tarverdyan. A month before the fight, Rousey's mother described Tarverdyan as "a bad person" and a "terrible coach," and claimed Rousey had only stayed with him out of "superstition."
Holm last fought four months before defeating Rousey. When she defeated Raquel Pennington on Feb. 28 in her first ever UFC fight, it was Holm's first fight in nearly 11 months.