The other day, on ESPN’s Mike and Mike, Dana White said that Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm would be squaring off against one another in their next fight. He added, ‘Lorenzo and I should probably lose our promoter’s license if we didn’t make that rematch.”
Bravo. Dana White is 100% correct for three reasons.
1. Money Money Money
Short term, Holm vs. Rousey II will draw huge on pay-per-view. Early estimates are pegging their first fight, at UFC 193, around 1.1 million buys. It’s likely, when all the numbers come in, that UFC 193 will be the second most successful pay-per-view in MMA history. A rematch between Holm and Rousey will draw even better; possibly approaching the record set by UFC 100, of 1.6 million buys. The dynamic between Rousey, coming back to avenge the only loss of her career, and Holm, putting up her Championship and undefeated record, is money. This fight could headline UFC 200 or draw incredibly well on another show; whenever Rousey and Holm both are ready.
2. Time is NOT on Ronda’s Side
Long term, UFC execs would assuredly like to see Rousey win the rematch. She is the company’s charismatic cash cow and biggest star. Clearly, she has a better chance of winning sooner rather than later. In their first fight, when striking, Rousey was dominated by Holm. Many journalists have argued that Rousey needs time to improve her striking skills if she wants to beat Holm. Unfortunately, Rousey, who made her MMA debut in 2010, has been training striking for over five years. Even if she trained standup for another six months to a year, Rousey will not be able to trade strikes effectively with the former boxing champion Holm. Another year of kickboxing training, on top of five already, is not the answer for Rousey. That would be a losing battle.
In essence, Rousey’s best shot at beating Holm is focusing on her strength; judo. The sooner the rematch happens, the more likely Rousey will be able to take Holm down to the ground. A year from now, Holm will have even better takedown defense and jiu jitsu. In their first fight, Rousey got Holm down to the ground, but could not finish the fight. In the rematch, Rousey should focus more on her bread and butter (takedowns, throws, and ground game) if she really wants to beat Holm. If Rousey can take Holm down four or five times, instead of one, her chances of clamping on the armbar increase exponentially. It’s her best path to victory. The chances of Rousey beating Holm on the ground will decrease more and more over time as Holm improves that aspect of her game.
For Rousey, and the UFC’s bottom line, a quick rematch is definitely the way to go.
3. One in the hand is worth two in the bush
(we didn’t mean it like that)
Booking Rousey and Holm against other fighters could blow any chance of a rematch. This is MMA after all. As Holm proved in the first Rousey fight, anything can happen inside the cage. If Holm fought another top contender, like Miesha Tate, she could lose and the Rousey rematch would be squandered. Risking the rematch is silly and bad business.
Many don’t like to say it, but Dana White is right.
And don’t forget, all month long we’ll be featuring our 27 UFC Gifts for the Fight Fan in your life post just for you so you can make Christmas easier on yourself while also being a hero!