The Perfect Fighter

UPDATE: It has been almost one year since Ronda Rousey was knocked out with a vicious head kick that the whole world heard connect. This week it was announced that Ronda would make her return to the octagon at UFC 197 on December 30 versus the current champion, Amanda Nunes. The following article was my initial thoughts following her brutal loss last November (written immediately following the match) take a look:

Tonight I feel for Ronda Rousey. Not because she lost, as I knew that would happen if she fought long enough. I feel for her that she rose to a position in her career that people viewed her as invincible. She rose to a position in her life that people saw her as superhuman. But she is not. Nor is anyone. 

I am thinking about an article I shared earlier this week from Precision Nutrition that discusses “that person.” “That person” that has “got it all together.” It hits home the point that we are all human and “that person” doesn’t exist. If you haven’t read it yet, take a few minutes (it’s worth it) -

Coming into the fight tonight Ronda was the favorite and all week I answered the question, “Does Holly have a chance?” Despite only having fought three fewer fights than the champion, I have to admit I was skeptical that maybe they had thrown Holly to their money making machine a little early as her other UFC fights thus far, while wins, were not super impressive. However, my response was that if Holly can circle and use her reach and movement to avoid Ronda’s rush, then she has a chance. As far as the stand-up aspect of fighting goes, Holly was coming into this fight with lightyears more experience. Just as Ronda was coming into the bout with lightyears more grappling experience. Congratulations to Holly Holm and her team of coaches and training partners as she had a perfect gameplan and executed it. Flawlessly.

I wish as a society we didn’t feel the need to raise someone up so high when they are doing well because it makes the fall so much harder when they inevitably fall. Fighting is far too complex with far too many aspects for one person to possibly be the best at them all. No one is perfect. Everyone will lose if given enough opportunities. It just takes finding the person that is better than you at one aspect and with the game plan to exploit it.

I don’t know if it was just for promotion or if she actually felt this way but leading up to this fight Ronda stated in an interview that she wants to also win the boxing world championship and jiu jitsu world championship when she retires from the UFC. If she did believe that she was the best at all aspects of fighting, tonight would be a reminder that she is human. And that’s okay! As a martial artist, I appreciate the sacrifice that she and other fighters make to enter the octagon so that I can take these valuable lessons from their performances. I am not disappointed in her or any other great champions that have ever lost.

I will save some of the more technical aspects of the fight for another post or classes I teach on the mat, but I hope that Ronda’s team handles this loss well and that she gets back to the training camp and gets right to work on filling these holes. Ronda was picked apart tonight but not by a “better” fighter. Holly Holm had a better strategy and executed it flawlessly. I believe Ronda could dominate the fight just as well if she comes up with the game plan to take the fight to the areas where she knows she has the advantage. It will require fighting smarter and of course - she'd have to be prepared to counter the counter game plan that Holly will develop for the rematch.

So tonight we did not see “the perfect fighter” and we never will. Tonight we saw the perfect fight. I hope you can take this lesson with you on the mat as well as into other aspects of your life. Remember that while we may strive for perfection, it is not attainable. What’s important is that we grow every day. Let’s try to avoid comparing ourselves to others and never forget that we are all human. Despite some people having great success, they are not perfect and still face struggles and hardships as the rest of us. Tonight Ronda fell, let’s all hope she gets back up and gives Holly one hell of a rematch.

“To Fall Seven Times. To Rise Eight Times. Life Begins Now.” -Daruma