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 411mania » MMA » Columns

Is Fighting Ronda Rousey First in Gina Carano’s Best Interest?
Posted by Lorenzo Vasquez III on 07.31.2014

On July 5th Ronda Rousey reasserted her supremacy in the women's bantamweight division by dismantling Alexis Davis in brutal fashion. Prior to that she had smashed what I believed would have been her toughest challenge to date, fellow Olympian, Sara McMann. These two bouts left many wondering who was left, if anyone, to legitimately threaten and perhaps confiscate the crown from Rousey. For the causal fans, it is hard to imagine that any of the women currently under contract in the UFC could seriously pose a danger to the ever improving Rousey. You have Cat Zingano who was the number one contender after defeating Miesha Tate over a year ago. However, considering what she has gone through over the past year and months she likely wouldn't be a threat to Rousey at this point and she still has to show she is back to form come UFC 178. The seemingly only viable challengers would be Christiane "Cyborg" Justino, who is campaigning for a bout with Rousey but is not under contract with the UFC for well known reasons, and Gina Carano, who is reportedly close to making a deal with the UFC.

Two weeks ago Dana White exclaimed that he would have Carano signed to a deal the following week. Yet, after UFC on FOX 12 Dana announced that there are "complications" in getting the deal done but assured he is working hard on signing the original face women's of MMA. Should Carano and the UFC come to terms, Dana White has made it clear her first fight in the organization would most likely be in December against the Rowdy Ronda Rousey. The former queen of MMA versus the reigning queen! The match would be a classic for the fans, money maker for Zuffa and both ladies, and a crowning achievement for the winner. Rousey, herself, has expressed interested in taking on Carano and for good reason. A win over Carano for Rousey is a win over the former face of women's MMA and one of the best women mix martial artist with name value. Now, which women wouldn't want that on her résumé? However, despite being a money maker and publicity grabber, is it really a good idea for Gina Carano to take on the "Rowdy One" first, should she return?

So should she fight Rousey first?

Absolutely not! The only reason Carano should fight Rousey first is if she's looking for one big fight and/or payday, which, is perhaps her reason for wanting to come back. In that regard make everybody happy, jump in there, try to put up a good fight, more than likely get your butt handed to you, and walk away a satisfied woman. If Carano is looking to re-establish herself as a force in women's MMA and true contender she'd do better to look elsewhere than to pick a fight with Rousey right off the bat. Should these two meet in December it is safe to bet Rousey will likely destroy Carano as she has done to previous opponents. Looking at what Rousey has accomplished and her improving game, specifically her striking, it is not unfathomable to believe the fight could be a one-sided affair.

The Reason Rousey Steamrolls Carano

Carano has not fought in five years and her last outing resulted in a lost to Christiane "Cyborg" Justino, albeit, Cyborg was possibly juicing up. Nonetheless, five years of ring rust can not be ignored. It will show and it will affect Carano's performance. It doesn't matter if Carano has been training for those five years. Five years is a long absence in an ever evolving sport like MMA. We must also take into account their records. The women's divisions are not too deep, specifically during Carano's reign, so it is hard to say both fighters have fought a murderous row of opponents; however, Rousey has been tested by perhaps a set of more skilled opponents than Carano has. Having fought more dangerous opponents than Carano clearly gives Rousey an advantage. Rousey has done more than held her own against dangerous foes. Rousey has, with the exception of her rematch with Miesha Tate, disposed of her foes quickly and in the first round, whereas Carano has taken longer to dispose of her toughest foes. Rousey would also have the advantage in takedown ability. Her judo is second to none and she possesses some of the nastiest throws in not only women's MMA but all of MMA. Carano's takedown defense is not something to brag about. Although, she was able to muscle out of takedown attempts, she was taken down by Julie Kedzie, Kelly Kobold, and Tonya Evinger and if those three can take her down there is no doubt Rousey can too.

On the ground it looks bleak for Carano who is primarily a striker. Eight of Rousey's ten wins come by submission whereas one of Carano's seven wins come by submission. Although, Carano was able to submit Evinger after being takedown, Rousey's ground game will prove far superior to what Evinger had to offer. Essentially, all Rousey has to do is close the distance, grab a hold of Carano, then rag doll her to ground with a throw, work some ground and pound, and go for the submission. If Carano has an advantage it is in the striking department. Her Muay Thai will suit her well in this fight. If she can avoid clinching, keep the distance, move laterally, utilize her low kicks, counter punch, find the right, and make Rousey pay with a solid knee or front kick each time she comes in Carano definitely has a chance to score the upset. I just don't see that happening if she takes this fight first upon her return. Rousey's striking is quickly improving as showcased in her last two outings. Combined with her aggressiveness it could spell problems for Carano. One must not forget to mention that Carano has had a tough time making weight occasionally at 140 lbs. and presumably if the fight where to be held at 135 lbs. the weight cut could affect Carano's performance, especially, if she struggles to make weight. However, I will note, that Rousey has offered to go up in weight to fight Carano.

Overall, regardless of what weight class the fight takes place at, it is Rousey domination. Rousey has been on an absolute tear, one of which every fighter wishes they were on. Her athletic ability, motivation, competitiveness, drive to learn and improve, and aggressiveness would more than likely prove too much for Carano's first time out in five years. Regardless of what Dana White and Rousey say about Carano and how good she is, Rousey is just on another level as a mix martial artist practitioner. The only reason to have this fight now is for the all mighty dollar. A better route for Carano would be to take a fight or two with lesser rank opponents and shake off the ring rust. Besides, wouldn't you want to see Carano more than once in the octagon? At that point a fight with Rousey would make more sense and be more competitive.


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