Despite there being plenty of stops en route to UFC 207, the talk of the MMA town has been about Ronda Rousey’s return opposite UFC bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes. There are plenty of questions worth asking about that, with the most obvious being, "Can she retake the belt?"
According to former UFC champion Miesha Tate, the answer is yes…if this is the same Rousey that wowed fans back in 2015. Here’s what she had to say:
Tate is one of several women who have faced both Rousey and Nunes.
"I think if Ronda is at her height, I would probably say Ronda [wins]," she stated in an interview with ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto. "I always tend to favor grapplers…it’s more probable for a fight to go to the ground and get finished than it is for a clean knockout."
Tate is most certainly correct that Rousey is the superior grappler and isn’t alone in picking her to win.
Rousey entered MMA in 2010 following an accomplished career in judo, highlighted by a silver medal in the 2007 World Judo Championships and bronze medal in the 2008 Olympic Games. While judoka have largely had mixed success in MMA, Rousey quickly established herself as a force in the cage, kicking off her professional career with seven straight first-round submission victories via armbar.
Rousey was an accomplished judoka before competing in MMA.
Nunes is no slouch, of course. A black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Nunes is comfortable on the mat, most recently taking the UFC women’s bantamweight championship from Tate in July with a rear-naked choke. That said, there are few in MMA whose grappling chops can compare to a bona fide Olympic medalist.
But is this the same Rousey who managed to consistently dispatch foes in under a minute? The aftermath of her UFC 203 loss to Holly Holm has many, including Tate, wondering if that stage in Rousey’s career is done.
"I guess what I don’t know is how Ronda is going to show up. I’m pretty confident about what Amanda will show up, but Ronda…it has been such a long time…It’s hard to say who wins this because it kind of depends on what version of Ronda shows up."
Fans will have to wait until December 30 to find out which Rousey returns. Will it be the one who battled back from defeat to capture a medal at the 2008 Games? Or the more timid one who shielded her face with a pillow at the Los Angeles International Airport?