In the world of mixed martial arts, very few upsets managed to change the entire landscape of the industry.

From Werdum finally dethroning one of the most dominant heavyweights in the history of the sport to ‘the all-American’, Chris Weidman putting an end to Silva, finally ending an era of dominance in the UFC middleweight division, there have been very few upsets that caught the attention of the entire world.


This past Sunday, Melbourne was ground zero for one of the most iconic sights in sports today, as the former boxing world champion, Holly Holm executed an almost perfect game plan to finally knock Ronda Rousey off her perch.

The entire stadium was stunned, as Holly connected with an amazing head kick, sending the former UFC bantamweight champion crashing to the mat. Time almost stood still, bearing witness to a moment that has been relived again and again in the past couple of days.

While the fans wanted to see something truly memorable, no one would’ve imagined or predicted the dominance and an almost telepathic showing by Holly Holm. The PPV, which began rather underwhelmingly soon caught pace with the likes of Whittaker and Mark Hunt putting on impressive performances, but once again, it was the girls who stole the show.

While Joanna and Valerie put on a great fight, it was nowhere close to being as surprising (or surreal) as the main event turned out to be. “The preacher’s daughter” made her way out first, and looked confident as she warmed up inside the Octagon.

While Ronda Rousey made her way out, Holly wasn’t overwhelmed. Reading through Ronda’s list of accomplishments is intimidating enough to put off any opponent, but perhaps, Ronda failed to realize that her opponent was intimidating in her own right.

On that night, Ronda was defeated by Holly Holm, yes, but perhaps, Ronda was defeated even before the fight began. It was Ronda Rousey that defeated Ronda Rousey.

While Ronda has been in the sport only for half a decade, she had the “it” factor that people like GSP and Brock Lesnar did (although Lesnar was in the sport for a couple of years). You cannot teach or instill that swagger, or that confidence in an athlete.

With Ronda Rousey, you got what you saw. Ronda never claimed to be the nicest person in the room; as a matter of fact, it was Miesha Tate who received loud cheers during her fight with Ronda at UFC 168. While Ronda never cared for adulation, the next two years brought a lot of mixed reaction from the fans.

Ronda became a role model, and while there are people who would say otherwise, and would call Ronda a ‘bad’ role model, the fact of the matter is, the young girls look up to Ronda Rousey. Heck, every athlete who dreams of making it big looks up to Ronda.


While some people credit UFC for marketing Ronda ‘the right way’, and the PR team for showing the better side of Ronda Rousey, the opinions of the fans doesn’t matter, at least not entirely.

It isn’t Ronda’s job to change peoples’ opinions about her, or make them realize that she is, in fact, a once – in – a – lifetime athlete. Unlike other sports, MMA doesn’t have the option of creating a nice, your next – door – neighbor persona for an athlete.

Their job is to go inside the cage and batter their opponents; there is no nice way of putting it across.

However, people decided to poke fun at Ronda for being good at her job, or vilify her for beating down her opponents; while Ronda never cared about that, this past Sunday, she forgot the one rule that has brought upon the downfall of many legends. Much like Anderson Silva, Ronda Rousey forgot to respect her opponent’s credentials.

You do not have to like your opponent, or even shake your opponent’s hand before the fight. But Ronda Rousey forgot that she was fighting one of the best counter strikers on the planet, and someone who has tasted championship gold before. Ronda Rousey, while walking to the Octagon, already lost her battle.


Can Ronda beat Holly Holm? Of course; but on that night, Holly was better prepared for Ronda Rousey. When I talked to Holly and asked her about the work she had put into shut Ronda’s clinches and takedowns, she revealed that she had been working on those aspects more than any other during her entire camp.

While that shows that Holly was bringing her ‘A’ – game, while being completely aware of Ronda’s gameplan during the fight, one would’ve imagined that Ronda would’ve done the same thing.

After all, Ronda was aware of Holly’s punching power and her pin – point accurate head kicks. But the difference is, Ronda didn’t seem to care much about them.

During the initial seconds of their fight, Ronda came charging towards Holly with her hands nowhere near her face. It was as if Ronda completely neglected the thought of getting hit by one of the best strikers in the game – no matter how confident Ronda was, she, like the rest of us, is human.


According to Fight Metric, Holly landed a total of 38 strikes out of 53 attempted, with all 38 of them being significant. This totals the significant strikes rate to 71% – an alarming increase from her previous 33% in her fights!

While Holly did her homework and held her own in the clinches and short-range exchanges, the biggest asset to Holly’s game was her ability to take Ronda’s takedowns out of the equation. While Holly took Ronda down once, Ronda was completely thrown into the water, as she didn’t even manage a single takedown – a significant part of her arsenal.

It was obvious from the start that Ronda didn’t prepare well for Holly, while Holly had probably the best gameplan – better than all of her previous fights. On that night, walking to the cage, Ronda was set up to lose, no matter how much she might’ve believed in herself.

Take nothing away from Holly – everything from her stance to her evasive movements was picture perfect. I remember Ronda going for a clinch and thinking, “well, that must be it”, but Holly used her close range jabs with amazing precision, and once she stopped Ronda from taking her down, you could see that Ronda started getting worried.

Ronda’s inexplicable decision to not employ a more defensive game after getting caught with almost everything that Holly threw summed up the night for ‘the female Fedor’. Ronda might’ve been the queen of MMA, but as we saw on Sunday, she definitely isn’t ‘The last queen’.

Dana White suggested that the rematch might happen at UFC 200 in Vegas, but one thing is for sure – Ronda Rousey will not make the same mistake again.

Ronda is at the top of her game – still, and although people have blamed her coach for her dismal performance, once Ronda figures out the chink in Holly’s striking game, and has a plan – B. once her clinches and takedowns are neutralized – essentially opening up a different dimension to Ronda’s game, she will once again be virtually unbeatable.

Until then, Ronda has a huge mountain to climb – a mountain that is now ruled by Holly Holm.