UFC 207 was supposed to be the big comeback party for Ronda Rousey. More than a year removed from her shocking defeat at the hands (well, it was really the legs) of Holly Holm at UFC 193, Rousey returned to the octagon in an attempt to reclaim the Women’s Bantamweight Championship. There was just one problem: Amanda Nunes.
Amanda Nunes won the bantamweight title during Ronda Rousey’s sabbatical
Beginning with Ronda Rousey’s bout with Holly Holm in November 2015, there was a fun little game of hot potato with the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship as nobody seemed to want to hang onto it. Rousey, who’d held the title since its inception in 2012, obviously lost it to Holm. In her first fight as champion, Holm suffered the first loss of her UFC career, choked out by Miesha Tate in March 2016. It was then Tate’s turn to defend, only she ran into the fastest rising star in MMA in Amanda Nunes.
Nunes came into the Tate fight at UFC 200 on a three-fight winning streak. She had come into her own as a fighter after taking some tough losses early in her career but was primed to win her first title. And on a monster card that also featured the likes of Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar, Amanda Nunes was the star of the show, winning Performance of the Night honors as she submitted Miesha Tate just three minutes and 16 seconds into the first round, setting up the biggest fight of her life.
The fight lasted just 48 seconds
After losing to Holly Holm, Ronda Rousey went down a dark path. She admittedly contemplated suicide and many wondered if she would ever fight in UFC again. Well, the answer came in October 2016 when it was announced that she would battle Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 that December in an effort to reclaim the title she’d lost the year before. But it wasn’t meant to be as Nunes had become the most dominant female fighter in MMA, a title once reserved for Rousey.
Ronda Rousey looked ready to go upon entering the octagon in Las Vegas on December 30, 2016. But I don’t think anyone, except maybe Amanda Nunes herself, expected what happened when the bell rang. Nunes was on the attack the moment the fight began. Just over 10 seconds in, she hit a solid combination, followed by a big right hand. And it was essentially over from there. She kept Rousey on her heels the entire fight, never giving her a chance to go on the offensive. Nunes hit big shot after big shot, the last sending Rousey into the cage, her body nearly limp as referee Herb Dean stepped in at the 48-second mark to stop it before things got worse. To Rousey’s credit, she never hit the canvas but she was out on her feet and Amanda Nunes had cemented her status as the greatest female fighter in UFC, a position she still holds to this day.
Ronda Rousey never fought in UFC again while Amanda Nunes has become the most decorated female fighter in the sport
Following the loss, Ronda Rousey never fought in UFC again, instead choosing to compete in a WWE ring. She made her debut in early 2018 at the Royal Rumble and competed in her first match at WrestleMania 34. She later won the RAW Women’s Championship and took part in the first-ever women’s main event at WrestleMania 35, losing her title to Becky Lynch. Citing her desire to start a family, Rousey hasn’t competed since.
On the flipside, Amanda Nunes has become the most decorated female fighter in UFC history. While continuing to defend her bantamweight crown, she also went on to win the Women’s Featherweight Championship, destroying Cris Cyborg in 51 seconds in December 2018 at UFC 232. With the victory, she became the first woman to win titles in two divisions and just the third fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. She also holds the women’s record for most victories in title matches with seven and hasn’t lost a fight in nearly six years.
Amanda Nunes defends the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship this Saturday at UFC 250 against Felicia Spencer.