After Holly Holm knocked out Ronda Rousey on Saturday night — yes, it actually happened — stunned fans’ questions quickly turned from “What?” to “How?”
Simple, really. Holm’s camp never saw Rousey as anything more than a fighter, with flaws that could be exploited. Just like the rest of them.
“It was pretty much what we thought would happen,” Greg Jackson, who along with Mike Winkeljohn trains Holm, told ESPN after the UFC 193 bout in Melbourne, Australia. “Obviously, she’s an amazing athlete and we have nothing but respect for her, but she’s been very successful doing the same things for a long time, and we were able to capitalize on that.
“The other coaches and I got together, and we’re not fans. We’re not like, ‘Oh God, Rousey is the greatest ever.’ It’s just a math problem to us. So it’s hard to understand the perspective just because this is what we do for a living. This is my job to figure it out.”
Figure it out, they did, even as self-doubt crept in Holm’s mind. Now she’s the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, undefeated at 10-0.
“I couldn’t tell you how many times I cried in the gym leading up to this fight,” Holm said, via UFC.com. “It was a lot to take in, but those are the kind of fights where a loss is that devastating, but a win is that sweet of a victory.”
That devastation lies with Rousey’s trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan. He’s a polarizing figure, even within Rousey’s own family, as her mother called him “a terrible coach” only one month before the fight. Some of Rousey’s fans joined the chorus after her loss. Who knows? She might, too. Fighters who’ve never lost, then shockingly and suddenly taste defeat as Rousey now has, can do rash things.
Tarverdyan told ESPN the game plan was to press — “We knew Holly Holm was going to keep the distance,” he said — but the only thing pressed was Rousey’s face to the octagon mat, just 59 seconds into the second round.
“There are no words I can say right now how I feel,” Tarverdyan said, via ESPN. “I’m just staying strong now next to Ronda. … I’m just heartbroken right now. Champ is the best. She is an amazing champion.”
Only she’s not the champion. Not anymore. Seems strange, doesn’t it?
“She’s got some good people who have helped her out,” Winkeljohn said of Rousey, via MMAjunkie.com. “But if they overlooked what Holly can do, no one will again in the future. That’s for sure.”
Thumbnail photo via Matt Roberts/USA TODAY Sports Images
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