By Lance LeVan
Some athletes come along and you can tell right away there is something different about them. You can tell by watching them compete in their sport that they possess a higher level of skill than most others. Several examples immediately come to mind such as Mike Tyson (boxing), Joe Montana (football), Andre Agassi (tennis), and Nolan Ryan (baseball).
The first time I saw any of these athletes, I could instantly tell they were different and destined for greater things. The UFC is no different. Some fighters just stand out, head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. Ronda Rousey, the current reigning women’s bantamweight (135 pounds) champion, is this type of athlete. Let me say for the record, I am not a Ronda Rousey “fan.” She has had 10 professional fights…and she has won all 10 of them. Not only has she won all 10 of them, but she has either submitted her opponent in every fight or finished by KO/TKO. These stats are VERY hard to overlook. She has finished off 100 percent of her opponents. She has won every single one of her matches. Only one of her matches has gone past the first round. In 80 percent of her bouts, she has finished the fight with her staple, the dreaded “arm bar.” She is one of the most focused athlete/fighters I have ever watched.
Shortly after she defended her crown for the first time in the UFC, fans started throwing around statements like “Ronda is the greatest fighter of all time” and “Ronda is the best pound-for-pound fighter ever.” I laughed when I heard these statements. I laughed because she has only been fighting professionally for a little over three years. Usually, to label someone as the “Greatest of All Time,” that person has to have been competing for quite a while and been at the top of their sport for a large percentage of that time.
But then I started thinking…she has been at the top of the MMA world since Day 1. She has beaten every fighter she has faced. She has never declined a fight or dodged anyone. She always has wanted to fight the best and beaten them all. Just because I am not a fan, that doesn’t mean that she’s not the best. The more I look at it, I couldn’t find a reason to deny her that label. She is proving, day after day, that she has the skills and the staying power to continue to reign for a long time to come.
So, do I think Ronda Rousey is the greatest female fighter of all time? So far, yes I do. You cannot argue with her stats nor her performances. Do I think Ronda Rousey is the best pound-for-pound fighter? No I do not. There are several other fighters who are much more dynamic and exciting to watch. She will, without a doubt, go down as one of greatest female fighters of all time and one of the greatest fighters of all time. But no matter how good you are, no matter how awesome you are, there always is, ALWAYS someone better who comes along. The question now is “how long will Ronda’s reign last?” We will have to wait and see. At this time I do not see anyone challenging her throne anytime soon, but you just never really know do you?