Fighting Like a Girl--It's a Good Thing
Do I need to say it? Especially in the absence of Jon Jones, Ronda Rousey has become the face of the UFC. With dominant victories (mostly by armbar submissions), “Rowdy” (5-0 UFC, 11-0 MMA) is and has been a hot topic of discussion. Since debuting in 2012, the Women’s Bantamweight champ’s star has continued to rise.
As we as MMA fans all know, UFC President Dana White once told the media that women would “never” fight under his banner. He has since written the forward in Rousey's autobiography, “My Fight/Your Fight”.
Rousey's first fight was the marquee matchup of UFC 157, which drew a $1.3 million+ gate, 13,000+ in attendance, and 450,000 pay-per-view buys. Her last fight at UFC 184? Fourteen seconds against Cat Zingano produced 590,000 buys and over double the gate at $2, 675, 560.
Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter was the first ever co-ed season.
THEN the Strawweight division was created. Home to "12 Gauge" Paige VanZant, Felice “Lil’ Bulldog” Herrig, and new champion, Poland’s Joanna Jedrzejczyk--the name no one seems able to pronounce (Yo-anna Yen-dray-check) but everyone should fear--this new division was the result of TUF 20. Not that the Bantamweights have been pushed to the side, but the Strawweights are making a statement.
Of a 31-woman division roster, ten have their win count in the double digits. Herrig currently sits at 10-6 while the undefeated Jedrzejczyk is 10-0-- with four KOs/TKOs and one submission. Oh, and in case you missed her last fight, she forced a referee stoppage against former champion Carla Esparza in Esparza’s first defense of the belt.
Jedrzejczyk was quoted by a number of sources saying, "I follow Ronda," "I am big fan of her. She is simply the best for me. But I want to be Ronda Rousey in the strawweight division."
With a win count almost identical to the woman she respects so much, Jedrzejczyk seems close to accomplishing that goal. Either way, both division leaders have made the rest of the MMA world sit up and take notice. Plus, who can forget about the all-female Invicta Fighting Championships, home to one of the biggest, if not the biggest enemy of Rousey, Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino who fights at 145?
These femme fatales have made such an impression on Dana White that he expects the aforementioned grudge match with Cyborg to fetch two MILLION pay-per-view buys and be everything Mayweather vs. Pacquiao wasn’t. With no pro baseball or hockey leagues for women, and jokes of football leagues, I believe MMA is the sport for women in the future as they have been a huge success on the sports biggest stage so far.
Not to mention, unlike the WNBA, people actually watch. I kid, but seriously--just watch.