Ronda Rousey: Can She Continue Destroying Opponents and Be a Huge Draw?

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Ronda Rousey: Can She Continue Destroying Opponents and Be a Huge Draw?
Michael Bacos/EXTRA Bilingual Newspaper

Ronda Rousey was called a "female version of Mike Tyson" by Dana White at the UFC 184 post-fight press conference. Her last two fights lasted a combined total of 30 seconds. She has only been past the first round once, in her second fight against Miesha Tate. 

UFC 184 was a historic event for not only women's MMA, but also women's sports in general. The all-female headlined card packed the Staples Center and drew out stars like Vin Diesel, Mark Wahlberg, Jada Pinkett Smith and Maria Shriver. While the pay-per-view buys will truly tell the story, the card led by the increasing star power of Rousey has truly impacted women's sports. 

The success of UFC 184 may also be hinged on the fact that Rousey was matched up against Cat Zingano, who may have had the physical and mental toughness to defeat her. And true to form, Rousey disposed of Zingano. Despite the increased marketing power of Rousey, without an opponent who will be a perceived challenge, she won't be able draw big numbers on her own. 

This isn't Rousey's fault. She is an exceptional athlete and an exciting fighter to watch. 

But fight fans love to see their heroes challenged. Ronda has easily defeated the top five of her division. Without a perceived threat to her crown, fans will lose interest in a Rousey-headlined card. 

During the UFC 184 post-fight press conference, White mentioned Bethe Correia or Jessica "Evil" Eye as future opponents for Rousey. But do they have a chance at dethroning Ronda? Correia may have defeated two of the "Four Horsewomen," but the combined records of her "Horsewomen" opponents are 1-3 in the UFC. 

As for Eye, she lost to Alexis Davis, who was destroyed by Rousey. So there is no reason to be confident about Eye's chances to defeat Ronda at this moment. 

If Correia and Eye defeat either Tate or Zingano, then maybe there's reason to give them a shot at the title. However, could they still stand up to the dominance of the champ? That is questionable. 

Of course, there is the looming possibility of facing Cristiane "Cyborg" Justino, but White has made it clear that match that will only happen if Cyborg drops down to 135 pounds. 

The overall lack of quality opposition has limited the chances that Rousey can successfully headline another card. Along with beating all of the top fighters in her division, she doesn't have the option of moving up in weight to another established division like her male counterparts, such as BJ Penn or Anderson Silva.

Ronda Rousey's performance throughout her career has deservedly earned her the right to be called the "female" Mike Tyson. It would be sad to see her legacy limited by the lack of perceived threats, similar to what the Klitschko brothers faced. 

All quotes obtained firsthand via press conference, unless otherwise noted. 

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