LAS VEGAS — It wasn’t supposed to end like this for Ronda Rousey.
She was supposed to make a triumphant comeback to the octagon, finish Amanda Nunes, lift the women’s bantamweight belt into the air and finally break her long silence while thanking her fans in the octagon.
Instead, a long 13-month wait to see Rousey in the octagon again culminated unceremoniously as Nunes defeated Rousey via TKO in just 48 seconds at UFC 207.
We waited 13 months to see Rousey, and in just under a minute, the former champion’s future became murkier than it ever was throughout the last year.
So, what does she do next?
Does she go back to square one, take time off and regroup? It sounds logical, but didn’t she just do that for the past year?
Does she retire content with all of her financial earnings? She reportedly raked in $3 million for fighting Friday night — and that’s not including the pay-per-view cut she’s going to get. But does she really want to end her MMA career on such a sour note? Rousey is a competitor and chances are she doesn’t want Friday night to be her last memory in the octagon.
If Rousey wants to reclaim her glory and return to the top of the women’s bantamweight division, none of these options are any good. The best course of action for Rousey at this point should be to get back in the octagon as quickly as possible and put this loss behind her.
There’s nothing wrong with fighting some lower-ranked opponents, racking up a couple of wins to build your confidence and position yourself to fight for the belt. Other fighters have done it in the past, and one fighter on Friday night’s card is doing it right now.
T.J. Dillashaw was once the men’s bantamweight champion before losing a controversial split decision to Dominick Cruz earlier this year. His win over John Lineker on Friday night was his second straight victory since his loss to Cruz, and he has now positioned himself for a shot at the title in the near future.
Why can’t Rousey follow the same course?
Perhaps she doesn’t want to, and that’s OK. Who knows? She probably doesn’t even know what she’s going to do at this point.
But the only way we’ll see Rousey on top again is if she gets back in the octagon as soon as possible.
Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images