UFC 175: Can MMA Handle a Ronda Rousey Loss?
This Saturday’s UFC 175 card features another tightrope walk for Ronda Rousey.
Once again, Rousey is expected to defend her UFC women’s bantamweight title with ease, this time against seasoned veteran Alexis Davis. Judging by the odds, no one is giving Davis a shot at winning. Of course, that’s very fair. Not only has Rousey utterly decimated every opponent she’s faced, but she’s made it look very routine against former MMA champions and a fellow Olympic medalist.
But what if “Rowdy” loses at UFC 175?
Even though most gambling books have Davis pegged as low as a 20-1 underdog, betting odds are never 100-percent accurate. If they were, Renan Barao would still hold the UFC bantamweight title. However, based on recent upsets handed to former champions by the likes of Chris Weidman and T.J. Dillashaw, there are a few things we can expect if Rousey loses this weekend.
First of all, there will likely be an immediate rematch. Shortly after losing the UFC Middleweight Championship, Anderson Silva got two immediate rematches against Weidman. According to a Wednesday report from UFC Tonight (via MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani), Barao is also getting an immediate rematch of his own, facing Dillashaw yet again for the UFC bantamweight belt.
If Rousey loses, you can expect the same thing to happen.
Davis could beat Rousey from pillar to post in a brutal five-round smashing, but the reality is that the UFC can’t afford to lose their biggest star. That means the promotion will do whatever it takes to keep Rousey on pay-per-view and headlining events as long as she draws fans.
Secondly, there will be plenty of excuses. Shortly after Silva lost to Weidman, many MMA fans said that “The Spider” wasn’t taking it seriously, labeling Weidman’s win a fluke. When Barao lost, rumors quickly spread that the former champion was “sick” and just “didn’t look like himself” in the Octagon that night.
If the unthinkable happens at UFC 175, similar excuses will surely happen following a Rousey loss, regardless of truth or accuracy.
“She underestimated Davis.” “She must have had a bad camp.” “She was fighting too often in too little time.” It won’t be surprising if any one of those arguments pop up, barring some horrible unforeseen injury TKO like the broken leg that Silva suffered at UFC 168. Let’s hope that doesn’t happen twice in one year.
Lastly, there are sure to be haters everywhere. Although many UFC fans love Rousey, there are just as many who dislike the women’s champion and can’t wait to see her lose.
It’s a sick habit in just about any sport, but if Rousey comes up short for the first time in her MMA career against Davis, lots of people will suddenly question the judoka’s abilities, wondering if she was simply a “one-trick pony” this whole time. Nothing could be more demonstrably false, but it’s happened to plenty of dominant fighters. Rousey wouldn’t be the first, and she wouldn’t be the last.
In short, the MMA universe would probably handle a Rousey loss just as poorly as when any seemingly untouchable star loses. It’s unlikely Rousey allows that to happen at UFC 175 this Saturday, but stranger things happen in this sport every day.