The Evolution of Women’s MMA : The most dedicated fans of mixed martial arts could argue that Gina Carano put women’s MMA on the map. Still, when looking into the history, there’s a clear stamp of approval from the legend that is Ronda Rousey. Before the UFC making the talented female martial artist their headline fights of the night, there was one woman who always headlined the main events of women’s MMA in the mainstream, ‘Rowdy’ Ronda Rousey.
The Beginning – Ronda Rousey
The most prominent name in the world of female martial arts has been Ronda Rousey. After the UFC president, Dana White went on public record to say that females will never compete inside a UFC octagon was a huge statement to make back in 2010. However, his mind would soon flip-reserve while he observed the ever-growing talents of Ronda Rousey.
Ronda’s mother was a Judo practitioner meaning it was inevitable that that Ronda herself would pick-up the sport early on. From age eleven she competed at the highest level before eventual success in the Olympics would put her name on the map.
While eating his words, Dana White announced in 2011 (while Ronda competed in the strike-force MMA organization) that if he were to sign a female athlete, it would be Ronda Rousey. And it didn’t take long before the undefeated Olympian had established her skills inside the world of MMA. Conquering strike-force led Ronda down the path that Dana White had once said was impossible, and then in 2012 Ronda Rousey became the first female in history to sign a contract with the UFC – establishing women’s MMA in the most popular organization worldwide.
After seven unforgettable title defenses in the UFC the eventual end for Ronda was imminent, but not without finding A-class celebrity status and a plethora of job opportunities at the helm. Your favorite female MMA fighter of today might not exist in a mainstream world if it wasn’t for Ronda Rousey. She paved the way for the future of women and will remain as one of the greatest female athletes the UFC has ever seen.
Ronda retired from MMA, but her skills continue to grow as an Actress, Author, You-Tuber, Professional Wrestler.
The Future – Cris Cyborg & Holly Holm
The most prominent name in the world
Cristiane Justino Venâncio better is known to the MMA world as Cris Cyborg was known as the most talented female martial artist to never compete for the UFC. Up until her eleven-year dominant reign in MMA finally convinced Dana White to peruse a heavier weight division for the women of the UFC. Signed to the UFC’s sister company (Invicta FC), it was evident the potential chances of Cyborg joining the company had significantly risen.
After taking the Invicta championship, the devastating striker in Cyborg had UFC gold set in her sights. Back to back career knockout’s put Cyborg as the most feared women in MMA, and two fights into her UFC contract was fighting for the vacant featherweight championship. Two title defenses and four contests in the UFC where Holly Holm was the only opponent of Cyborg who was able to avoid being knocked out, Cyborg parted ways with the UFC to break new records. She’s now the only female ever to become a grand slam champion, claiming championships in four major MMA organizations.
Speaking of the ‘Preachers Daughter’ Holly Holm, that she is still making waves in MMA today; she will face Irene Aldana on the 3rd of October and is currently ranked #2 in the UFC women’s bantamweight division. Has a legacy unforgettable when she head-kicked the undefeated Ronda Rousey into an unconscious state to claim the UFC bantamweight title. Before her step-up in weight class, Holm would become the first female to defeat the legendary Ronda Rousey, which seemingly became the beginning of the end for Ronda.
The shocking defeat will be remembered in women’s history until the test of time, de-crowning the legend wasn’t a predictable outcome for many but the evolution of takedown defense had surrendered the dangerous submission expertise of Ronda – Reminiscent of the downfall of UFC 1 competitor Royce Gracie and the first-ever men’s division.
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