Rousey Demolishes Zingano - Is Cyborg Next?
March 2, 2015 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Cat Zingano is one of the greatest mixed martial arts fighters in the world. She was the first woman in UFC history to win a fight by technical knockout, the first woman in UFC history to win Fight of the Night (awarded to both participants in the most impressive bout on a card) and was 9-0 in her professional career, with only one of those fights going the full five minutes (she won by unanimous decision). It took Ronda Rousey 14 seconds to beat her in the headliner match of UFC 184.

Rousey said at the post-match press conference that she will take some time off to film a movie, which will likely only fuel the speculation of a superfight with Cris "Cyborg" Justino. Justino currently fights with Invicta, an all-female MMA promotion with strong ties to UFC (Invicta cards are broadcast on UFC's internet Fight Pass network). She holds the Invicta featherweight (136-145 pounds) title and TKO'd Charmaine Tweet in 46 seconds the night before Rousey beat Zingano. Rousey was unimpressed, pointing out that she beat Tweet in just 40 seconds in Rousey's second professional fight nearly four years ago (however, the official time of that fight was 49 seconds).

Rousey fights at 135 pounds in the bantamweight class (UFC's highest weight class for women), and when asked whether she wants a fight with Justino, Rousey says "If she'd like to come to the UFC and fight at '35, then yes, I would." Justino has said that she intends to do just that after her next fight in July against an as-yet-unnamed opponent.

Rousey previously and previouslier, and women's MMA generally on MeFi.
posted by Etrigan (95 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Zingano made a huge mistake. She rushed Rousey with a jump knee, risky enough, then clinched. Clinched with an olympic medal-winning judoka. Exactly the opposite of what anyone fighting Ronda Rousey should do.
posted by TheRedArmy at 9:46 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


As someone who knows nothing about MMA, I'd like to rank these fighters in order of ludicrously awesome names:

1. Cat Zingano

I had never heard it before, but Zingano might be one of the all time top ten last names. I've been sitting here just saying "Zingano" at my desk for the past ten minutes.

2. Charmaine Tweet

Wins the "this can't possibly be a real-oh it is?" contest.

3. Cris Cyborg

I feel like "Cyborg Cris" would be rated higher.

4. Rounda Rousey

Even the lowest ranked name has awesome alliteration.
posted by selfnoise at 9:46 AM on March 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


As someone who hasn't followed in a long time, what's the current state of evolution in fighting style (for mens and womens) ?

My dumb-by-stander remembrance is the Gracie family won lots for years with their BJJ style, but some how that started getting beat by guys who were top-ranked college wrestlers. Then there's guys who are stand-up fighters against grapplers/technique against ground/pound -- has a very rock/paper/scissors feel to it.
posted by k5.user at 9:53 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Arm bar?

Arm bar.

Learn judo, kids.
posted by leotrotsky at 9:59 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


TheRedArmy -Zingano made a huge mistake. She rushed Rousey with a jump knee, risky enough, then clinched. Clinched with an olympic medal-winning judoka. Exactly the opposite of what anyone fighting Ronda Rousey should do.
I dunno. Alexis Davis tried to stand and start slow with some punching exchanges, and still ended up in an arm bar really quickly. There is currently no woman within Ronda's weight class that is anywhere near her level.
posted by onehalfjunco at 10:02 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


what's the current state of evolution in fighting style

IMO, while you still see differences, the fighting styles have been converging for quite some time. Now, instead of seeing wrestlers vs. BJJ guys vs. boxers, you're seeing athletes that have known nothing but MMA. Soon, we won't be talking about the differences, because the only style will be "MMA style."

It took Ronda Rousey 14 seconds to beat her in the headliner match of UFC 184.

An interesting thought experiment is how far up the ranks Rousey would go competing against men.

Like in other sports -- Serena Williams comes to mind -- it's no question that the top female athletes can beat some upper echelon male athletes. The question is how many. Would Rousey crack the top 20? A fun barstool debate.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


There's a lot to be said for Rousey but I'd like to see her fighting opponents at or near her skill level. Her weight class is kinda filled with trash right now.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:04 AM on March 2, 2015


Yeah Rousey won her last fight (against Alexis Davis) in 16 seconds. I'm not sure there's a mistake you can pick out in Zingano's performance except being very good but not as good as Rousey.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:05 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine how Cyborg would even drop the weight to get into Rousey's weight class, barring her getting off the juice.
posted by Sternmeyer at 10:11 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Like in other sports -- Serena Williams comes to mind -- it's no question that the top female athletes can beat some upper echelon male athletes. The question is how many. Would Rousey crack the top 20? A fun barstool debate.

I don't know anything about MMA, really, at all - but the first question that comes to my mind is one of weight classes. So, Rousey fights at 135, and that's the top end for women? How do the weight classes break down for men? Obviously a 200 pound guy has a huge advantage - I mean, I'm a 200 pound guy and she could break me into 19 pieces by just looking at me wrong, but I'm just more generally wondering how the weight classes compare between the sexes.
posted by kbanas at 10:13 AM on March 2, 2015


As someone who hasn't followed in a long time, what's the current state of evolution in fighting style (for mens and womens) ?

Evolution is a good word, in the sense that evolution is about taking the things that work and propogating them, and taking the things that don't work and discarding them down the Darwin Hole. In much the same way, MMA is now a hybrid practice that incorporates many disciplines, taking the things that work against many other fighting styles and incorporating them, and discarding the others.

My dumb-by-stander remembrance is the Gracie family won lots for years with their BJJ style, but some how that started getting beat by guys who were top-ranked college wrestlers. Then there's guys who are stand-up fighters against grapplers/technique against ground/pound -- has a very rock/paper/scissors feel to it.

Well, yes, sort of, maybe at first. They really got beat by guys who were wrestlers (or other things) who evolved and added things to wrestling, while many of the Gracies were pure BJJ. Pure anything doesn't succeed for long in modern MMA unless you're olympic-class.

Wrestlers in particular have an additional problem, in that wrestling is boring to watch compared to MMA, to the point of wrestlers having been shown the door by UFC because while they had acceptable records, they had boring fights. And people will pay to watch an exciting fighter, even if they don't win all the time. So if you're a wrestler, it's also important to develop some striking skill so you can stay active and actually do things to your opponent once you're on top of him.

Looking at Ronda as an example of someone who successfully evolved: yes she's primarily still a Judoka, but anyone who things that she can't end you with strikes would be sorely mistaken, pun intended. That makes her even more dangerous: someone who has knockout power, but who is even stronger on the ground; even working from the bottom. If you stand with her, she can end you (see Sara McMann). If you stand with her and let her close, you'll throw you and then use your face as a punching bag (see Alexis Davis) or just take your arm as a trophy (see EVERYONE ELSE). So because you have to respect her striking, you it makes her grappling more dangerous, much like running and passing in American Football.

And that's why Ronda Rousey is scary as all hell.
posted by parliboy at 10:16 AM on March 2, 2015 [8 favorites]


The weight thing strikes me as weird, too. Invicta's heaviest women are only 145lb. Where the fuck are the 150, 160, 170 and up female MMA fighters? You're basically putting an upper ceiling on the amount of muscle a woman can have, because muscle is heavy.

The obvious answer is that women are limited in their weight class due to the problems of marketability because once you climb out of relatively petite status your chances of being on television are way lower, but Jesus, imagine the fights we could be having if we opened up the weight classes.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:18 AM on March 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


So, Rousey fights at 135, and that's the top end for women? How do the weight classes break down for men? Obviously a 200 pound guy has a huge advantage - I mean, I'm a 200 pound guy and she could break me into 19 pieces by just looking at me wrong, but I'm just more generally wondering how the weight classes compare between the sexes.

MMA weight classes are mostly but not entirely standardized (especially when you're talking about the differences between Imperial and Metric countries) and aren't standardized at all for women (largely due to the relative lack of competitors), but UFC and Invicta line their classifications up with the male weight classes, and Invicta adds two lower weight classes.
posted by Etrigan at 10:22 AM on March 2, 2015


"As someone who hasn't followed in a long time, what's the current state of evolution in fighting style (for mens and womens) ?

My dumb-by-stander remembrance is the Gracie family won lots for years with their BJJ style, but some how that started getting beat by guys who were top-ranked college wrestlers. Then there's guys who are stand-up fighters against grapplers/technique against ground/pound -- has a very rock/paper/scissors feel to it.
"

MMA has gone through a pretty amazing growth in technical abilities over the last 20 years. Anyone who gets into the UFC will generally have high-level skills in striking, clinching, takedowns, takedown defense, and ground fighting. You can still see "style vs style" matchups, but now it's the personal styles (i.e. how they choose to blend all the afore-mentioned elements) of fighter x vs fighter y, not wrestling vs kung fu or jujutsu vs boxing.

Women's MMA is generally lagging behind men's MMA because it's drawing from a much smaller talent pool. That said, Ronda Rousey's technique is at a par with the very best male fighters on the planet. I'm a 175-pound guy with 33 years of martial arts experience and a black belt in BJJ - and I feel no shame in stating that Ronda would kick my ass in a fair fight.

It will be interesting to see if women's MMA can catch up enough to produce a fighter who can give Ronda a fair fight before she retires and moves on to Hollywood.
posted by tdismukes at 10:23 AM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Where the fuck are the 150, 160, 170 and up female MMA fighters?

You beat me to it - it baffles me that women's MMA weight classes stop so low. I know everyone cuts to make weight, but 145 is really not that much, especially for a taller woman. Cris Cyborg's walking weight is more like 175.
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:25 AM on March 2, 2015


Cris Cyborg's walking weight is more like 175.

And that's three fucking days after weighing in at 145.
posted by Etrigan at 10:28 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


The women's division of the UFC has only been around a few years. It exists because of Rousey, so her weight class was the first added. The smaller (115?) weight class was rolled out very recently. I hope they add a heavier division too, but they'll need to be able to fill the roster and I don't know if they can yet. (But I'd love to see Gabby Garcia in the UFC.)
posted by Bookhouse at 10:29 AM on March 2, 2015


Cris Cyborg's walking weight is more like 175.

And she does it in a size zero, girls! (Your link says "Internal Error: Missing Template ERR_ZERO_SIZE_OBJECT").
posted by resurrexit at 10:30 AM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


"The weight thing strikes me as weird, too. Invicta's heaviest women are only 145lb. Where the fuck are the 150, 160, 170 and up female MMA fighters? You're basically putting an upper ceiling on the amount of muscle a woman can have, because muscle is heavy.

The obvious answer is that women are limited in their weight class due to the problems of marketability because once you climb out of relatively petite status your chances of being on television are way lower, but Jesus, imagine the fights we could be having if we opened up the weight classes.
"

The other consideration is that the talent pool in women's MMA is smaller, so it's harder to find enough qualified women to make up a division in the heavier classes. I imagine (and hope) that as the sport grows the UFC will be able to add more weight classes for women.
posted by tdismukes at 10:33 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The weight thing strikes me as weird, too. Invicta's heaviest women are only 145lb. Where the fuck are the 150, 160, 170 and up female MMA fighters?

I would love to see a professional women's basketball league instill a 145 pound weight limit. Think there might be some blowback to that?

It has always seemed to me that MMA became so popular largely because of race. The best and most famous boxers were all black. Sure, there are a bunch of Russian heavyweights now, but we know that the American public doesn't like foreigners. They have always wanted The Great White Hope.

Someone obviously had the idea, "Wait -- we can't seem to ever really get this Great White Hope. What if we just completely change the sport and make it white?"

Bingo. Solution! Why make white Americans choose between rooting for blacks or rooting for foreigners? They would much rather root for white Americans. As such, the popularity of MMA has skyrocketed and boxing has fallen apart.

That weight requirement for women is completely consistent with the race angle. Both are about giving the fans someone to root for who the fans like looking at.
posted by flarbuse at 10:41 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


An interesting thought experiment is how far up the ranks Rousey would go competing against men.

Like in other sports -- Serena Williams comes to mind -- it's no question that the top female athletes can beat some upper echelon male athletes. The question is how many. Would Rousey crack the top 20? A fun barstool debate.


I wonder if Rousey may have an edge against a male fighter of comparable size because of her reputation. (Imagine being the guy who rushes in over-confidently and loses as a result). I don't imagine that edge would last long, but I would think initially the mental aspect of going up against someone as utterly indomitable as her would be significant, male or female.

I have very little personal understanding of MMA, but I do somewhat follow the women's fights. I'm thinking more of - odd comparison I know - pro e-sports like StarCraft, where I have seen enormously skilled players absolutely crumble in the face of a less-skilled pro who's on a hot streak and looks unbeatable.
posted by averysmallcat at 10:41 AM on March 2, 2015


selfnoise Even the lowest ranked name has awesome alliteration

It's even better than you think: she takes her nickname from Roddy Piper and had it personally okayed by him, so she gets announced as "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey.
posted by Qberting at 10:42 AM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Bingo. Solution! Why make white Americans choose between rooting for blacks or rooting for foreigners? They would much rather root for white Americans. As such, the popularity of MMA has skyrocketed and boxing has fallen apart.

That weight requirement for women is completely consistent with the race angle. Both are about giving the fans someone to root for who the fans like looking at.


Damn, you caught us. This is totally correct. Good job.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:44 AM on March 2, 2015 [7 favorites]


Why make white Americans choose between rooting for blacks or rooting for foreigners? They would much rather root for white Americans. As such, the popularity of MMA has skyrocketed and boxing has fallen apart.

Of the ten current UFC champions, seven are not "white Americans".
posted by Etrigan at 10:49 AM on March 2, 2015 [31 favorites]


For us non-experts, those armbars look so... uneventful... I had to look at it for a while to realize that that arm was about to be pulled out of its shoulder socket.

What would be the difference between women and men in the same weight class, physiologically and biomechanically speaking? Would they be evenly matched?
posted by mondo dentro at 10:51 AM on March 2, 2015


What would be the difference between women and men in the same weight class, physiologically and biomechanically speaking? Would they be evenly matched?

Various experts of varying levels of expertise (and virtually no medical training) claim that women can't withstand strikes (punches, kicks) as well as men. Joe Rogan is an example -- while saying that Rousey could beat probably half of UFC bantamweights, he also says "The ability to take punches is a significant difference. The structure of the face, the muscles in the neck. Women just cannot take the same kind of punches that men can."

Fallon Fox is a transgender MMA fighter, which has of course caused controversy (previously and previouslier on MeFi).
posted by Etrigan at 11:00 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


flarbuse, let's run through the champions together. Cain Velasquez is a Mexican-American with, I am not joking, an enormous BROWN PRIDE tattoo on his chest. The interim heavyweight champion is Brazilian Fabrício Werdum. Jon Jones is black and fabulous and yes, has been the target of some race-baiting. Chris Weidman is a white guy from Jersey, but he took the title from the black Anderson Silva who is widely recognized as the Greatest Of All Time. Robbie Lawler is white in what was white Canadian GSP's division. Anthony Pettis is Hispanic-American who took the title from half-black half-Asian Benson Henderson. José Aldo is Brazilian. T.J. Dillashaw is a cornbread and blond, who took the division from Brazilian Renan Barao. Demetrious Johnson is black. Ronda is white and so, I think, is Carla Espanza. I don't recall any Great White Hopes except for the Great White Joke Chael Sonnen. Perhaps you could point me to the specific match-ups that you saw as racially motivated?

But if you can't point to specific fighters, please don't make up ridiculous alternate histories out of whole cloth. MMA took over boxing because boxing lost mainstream popularity at the same time that the Gracies made a worldwide push for popularity.

The women's weight classes are bantamweight (135) and strawweight (105) because the pool of women fighters is frankly tiny. Maybe they could've tried to open up 155, but I doubt it because when you take weight-cutting into account you'd need a large pool of extremely, extremely big women fighters that I just don't think exists. They wouldn't open 145 because it's too close to the extant 135 and anything higher than 155 has even fewer potential fighters than 155.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:00 AM on March 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


What would be the difference between women and men in the same weight class, physiologically and biomechanically speaking? Would they be evenly matched?

Not really. Pound-for-pound, women have comparable lower body strength, but men of the same weight class have significant upper body advantages in strength and power. Barring freakish genetics or steroids, of course.
posted by Edgewise at 11:02 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


"What would be the difference between women and men in the same weight class, physiologically and biomechanically speaking? Would they be evenly matched?"

Given equal levels of training and genetic giftedness, the male fighters will be significantly stronger (pound-for-pound) due to the effects of testosterone. Rousey will not be taking on T.J. Dillashaw, although she could probably beat a number of lesser male bantamweights.
posted by tdismukes at 11:03 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


What would be the difference between women and men in the same weight class, physiologically and biomechanically speaking? Would they be evenly matched?

Not generally, no. But as a prior poster noted, the talent pool is not as large for women as it is for men. As the pool grows, the difference between men and women will shrink.

Ronda Rousey is probably an aberration in all of this. She wouldn't be the 135 champ in the men's division, because of differences in upper-body strength and reflexes. But her actual skill is high enough to compete, and she'd be ranked. I don't know if you could say the same thing about Esparza. (Though the fact that the male 115 pool is smaller might help.)
posted by parliboy at 11:04 AM on March 2, 2015


For us non-experts, those armbars look so... uneventful... I had to look at it for a while to realize that that arm was about to be pulled out of its shoulder socket.

Elbow subluxation was probably the threat there, not shoulder dislocation.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:04 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd love for this fight to take place, especially if it takes place in 2015.
Manny versus Mayweather?
Ronda verus Cyborg?
Oh man, what a year!

I assume after her bust and suspension that Cyborg is off the juice, but cutting 10 pounds would be difficult at best. 5 pounds could be water weight, but those last five would be a bitch.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 11:07 AM on March 2, 2015


So Ronda Rousey is a superstar athlete; she easily defeated her opponent. Her match was the match on the card; the entire event was billed as "Rousey vs. Zingano". Despite all this, you'll never guess who the top paid fighter last night was. (Sadly, you will be easily able to guess what his gender was.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:09 AM on March 2, 2015


Thanks for clarifying that for me, Etrigan, Edgewise and tdismukes (et al.)

Testosterone. Guess I should have thought of that.

daveliepmann: subluxation--at the elbow, right? Yeah, I thought of that, too. But as a non-fighting desk jockey, it all just came through as "man that would fricking hurt." I actually had a few years of judo as an undergrad. I was never good, but I was on the receiving end of choke holds and armbars. Yep. They work all right. They're just not as dramatic as a left hook in the face.
posted by mondo dentro at 11:09 AM on March 2, 2015


For us non-experts, those armbars look so... uneventful... I had to look at it for a while to realize that that arm was about to be pulled out of its shoulder socket.

As daveliepmann says, an armbar threatens the elbow, not the shoulder. As someone who has had an elbow damaged (though not badly) by a misapplied armbar-esque move, let me tell you it is not at all pleasant to have your arm locked out that way. It is actually quite terrifying. I have never had someone armbar me with their whole body (it looked to my like Rousey was threatening the joint with her hips), but I can't imagine it's any more enjoyable than the standard kind. We had a thread around here not all that long ago about Rousey breaking someone's elbow with her bar. Yikes.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:15 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


What would be the difference between women and men in the same weight class, physiologically and biomechanically speaking? Would they be evenly matched?

I don't know MMA, but I know a bit about Judo:

Rena Kanokogi: Rena "Rusty" Kanokogi (July 30, 1935 – November 21, 2009), née Glickman, was a renowned Jewish-American judo expert from Brooklyn, New York. In 1959, disguised as a man, she won a medal at a YMCA judo tournament, but had to return it after acknowledging that she was a woman.

Generally, women tend to have less muscle mass as compared to men of equivalent weight. However ... look Rousey was an Olympic Judo gold medalist. Her mom was a Judoka. She's been training for elite competition since she was a little kid. It's an extremely physically demanding sport, and Rousey is very very good at it. She may not necessarily have a strength advantage, but she probably has a technique advantage against most people her size, men and women included.
posted by Comrade_robot at 11:15 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Various experts of varying levels of expertise (and virtually no medical training) claim that women can't withstand strikes (punches, kicks) as well as men.

I've always wondered about this. I've kind of assumed that idea is from this research, which proposes that men are more likely to hit each other 'round the head and thus the bone structure reflects that. My problem with this evolutionary assumption is, of course, that the likelihood of a woman being hit repeatedly by men in her lifetime is also crazy high, so where is OUR protective buttressing?

Or maybe the various experts are basing it on something else. I don't know. All the speculation about sex variance in build and how men fighting women would go bugs me. We don't know. Yes, men are stronger up top, on average, right now. Women are, on the other hand, more flexible and have higher pain tolerance, on average, right now. Yes, it's possible that women are pound-for-pound not as muscular as men-- but until we have societies where the resources are distributed equally, there is no distinction in how men and women are socialized about exercise and diet, and there is no mental distinction between men and women in terms of aggression, we won't know for sure. I think it's very likely, based on glimpses of evolutionary and worldwide data, that the sexual dimorphism will hold (albeit at a lower level than in societies where things like exercise are strongly gendered), but holy cow people are not good about qualifying their statements and it annoys the shit out of me.

Anyway yeah, I don't know if Roussey could take on the best of the men's bantamweights, but I suspect she'd get a lot higher than many folks expect, especially if she could get them on the ground.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:17 AM on March 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


What would be the difference between women and men in the same weight class, physiologically and biomechanically speaking? Would they be evenly matched?

There appears to be at least some scientific evidence to support the idea that men's faces are much better suited to taking punches.
posted by saladin at 11:17 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Homeboy Trouble: I'm willing to be Ronda went home as the best paid fighter for this event, even though the contracted salary is lower. Note the disclaimer at the bottom of that page: " It should be noted that these numbers do not reflect a fighter's total earnings, as this does not include the post-fight bonuses, discretionary locker room bonuses, taxes, or sponsorship money

Top-tier fighters often negotiate for points on the Pay-Per-View sales as well, which is not mentioned in that disclaimer or in the official fighter salaries.
posted by onehalfjunco at 11:18 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Note that rant isn't really directed at anyone in this thread-- it's more a thing I hear coming up in discussions about female MMA in other places on the web. It seems like it always turns into a "but but but men are stronger"-fest and, just, ugh.
posted by WidgetAlley at 11:18 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Jinx! And also, very good points.
posted by saladin at 11:25 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Top-tier fighters often negotiate for points on the Pay-Per-View sales as well, which is not mentioned in that disclaimer or in the official fighter salaries.

That seems to be the case here -- Rousey took less guaranteed money than Zingano ($65K vs. $100K) but will likely clear $1M due to getting a cut of any buys over 300K. She also won a $50K performance bonus, but so did Ellenberger.
posted by Etrigan at 11:28 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Ronda would beat the hell out of the bottom half of the men's bantamweight top 10.

It would never get sanctioned and the UFC wouldn't schedule it, but I'd love to see her beat up one of those guys and then fight someone like Faber or Barao. (But not Dominick—he would destroy her.) I don't know how she'd do against the latter but it would be a great fight.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:28 AM on March 2, 2015


I don't know why it always needs to be brought up that pound-for-pound, men are stronger, but here we are. Does anyone ever point out in these threads that, pound-for-pound, women can create life in their wombs but men cannot?

Still, Rousey is so dominant that it's pretty clear she could beat a significant number of male bantamweights. She wouldn't be the champion, but she'd be doing shockingly well. She's so good it defies explanation; it's like she's fighting children. It's beautiful to watch. She just takes them apart.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 11:32 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't know why it always needs to be brought up that pound-for-pound, men are stronger, but here we are. Does anyone ever point out in these threads that, pound-for-pound, women can create life in their wombs but men cannot?

I'll bet if it had any relevance to fighting whatsoever it would come up. However, it doesn't, so it doesn't!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:35 AM on March 2, 2015 [16 favorites]


Does anyone ever point out in these threads that, pound-for-pound, women can create life in their wombs but men cannot?

I did consider pointing out in the FPP that Zingano was the first mother to compete in UFC, but her ovaries aren't very relevant to whether she can knock someone the fuck out.
posted by Etrigan at 11:36 AM on March 2, 2015 [10 favorites]


I just noticed that Rousey is #7 on the pound-for-pound UFC rankings.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I just noticed that Rousey is #7 on the pound-for-pound UFC rankings.

One spot above her weight-class equivalent, bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw.
posted by Etrigan at 11:42 AM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Probably because of her title defenses trumping his.
posted by daveliepmann at 11:44 AM on March 2, 2015


Like in other sports -- Serena Williams comes to mind -- it's no question that the top female athletes can beat some upper echelon male athletes. The question is how many.

If you are kidding I missed it but Serena is the perfect example of this NOT being true (Serena getting destroyed by the 200th ranked male player is an extremely well known tale).

I know nothing about MMA but cannot think of a sport (golf?) where the top female athletes can eat upper echelon male athletes.
posted by Cosine at 11:53 AM on March 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


I know nothing about MMA but cannot think of a sport (golf?) where the top female athletes can eat upper echelon male athletes.

Shooting sports.
posted by Etrigan at 12:16 PM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'll bet if it had any relevance to fighting whatsoever it would come up. However, it doesn't, so it doesn't!
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 11:35 AM on March 2


You're correct. But also women's and men's sexual dimorphism is and should be irrelevant in these discussions because they fight in different leagues entirely. You might as well ask hey, can a men's heavyweight champ beat a men's flyweight champ? Yeah, it would be a grotesque beat-down. BFD. They are structurally different human beings. It's a jerk-off question that adds nothing to a discussion but women's sports are constantly being derided because of these biological differences.

So I submit to you instead that ovaries have as much to do with fighting as the sexual dimorphism of men and women, that is to say, none. The only reason I spoke about it in my response is because the thread immediately went to that boring and irrelevant tangent.
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 12:17 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


Speaking of Ronda vs a male fighter, I thought I'd just leave this here.

(Yeah, it's just grappling rather than actual fighting, but it helps demonstrate just how good she is.)
posted by tdismukes at 12:21 PM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


I think the most irritating thing about this men-are-stronger-than-women derail that we have to go over in these threads is that no one looks at a male champion who tests clean for PEDs and says WELL SOMEONE WHO'S JUICED THE FUCK OUT ON BUCKETS OF TEST AND METH WOULD BEAT HIS ASS
posted by Awful Peice of Crap at 12:24 PM on March 2, 2015 [6 favorites]


Some internet person thought to total Rousey's total professional fight time and her 11 fights add up to less than 25 minutes in the ring, 15 of those minutes against Miesha Tate. She's unstoppable.

Also looking up how many fights she's had I found out she's going to be in Furious 7, which will own even harder than it was already going to.
posted by edeezy at 12:25 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


Another (arguably better) angle of those 14 seconds [gfycat]. It's incredible how frenetic the first half of their clash is, and how much in the second half Rousey is able to slow the fight down as she applies her snake and frog technique.
posted by daveliepmann at 12:33 PM on March 2, 2015 [3 favorites]


Zingano made a huge mistake. She rushed Rousey with a jump knee, risky enough, then clinched.

I told her: "Circle XXY". I don't know WHAT she was thinking.
posted by happyroach at 12:34 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


The most fascinating thing to me about this was Rousey's interview with ESPN right after the fight. The fight took 14 seconds, but she remembered every moment of it in minute detail. One presumes that for Rousey and other top tier fighters the entire thing happens in slow motion.
posted by ob1quixote at 12:51 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Another (arguably better) angle of those 14 seconds

I wish more fights were won by combat cartwheel
posted by edeezy at 1:02 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


So I submit to you instead that ovaries have as much to do with fighting as the sexual dimorphism of men and women, that is to say, none.

Well, the only reason it comes up is because someone ALSO always says, "I wonder how [FEMALE ATHLETE] would do against the men," which at this point I would say is not "an interesting thought experiment" so much as a way to not so subtly denigrate the accomplishements of female athletes, since anyone who gives a flipping shit has already had the same thought occur to them, but without actually DOING it, the thought means very little.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:10 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm impressed with the number of mefites that know so much about this mma thing.
posted by notreally at 1:12 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


One presumes that for Rousey and other top tier fighters the entire thing happens in slow motion.

Experiments have shown that psychological time dilation does not actually occur [CITATION NEEDED]. More likely is that she has just practiced so many times under conditions that a normal person would find very harsh, to the point where she is able to disregard the blanking effect adrenaline would have on a normal person in those circumstances, and her training likely revolves a lot around actively going over her practice fights in excruciating detail to glean every last piece of gleanable information from them. If you trained as much as she did, you could probably do it, too.

tl:dr: TRAINING
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 1:13 PM on March 2, 2015 [5 favorites]


However ... look Rousey was an Olympic Judo gold medalist.

Actually, she earned bronze.
posted by tetsuo at 1:21 PM on March 2, 2015


Yes her gold medal is for the World Junior championships.
posted by Justinian at 1:26 PM on March 2, 2015


Well, the only reason it comes up is because someone ALSO always says, "I wonder how [FEMALE ATHLETE] would do against the men," which at this point I would say is not "an interesting thought experiment" so much as a way to not so subtly denigrate the accomplishements of female athletes, since anyone who gives a flipping shit has already had the same thought occur to them, but without actually DOING it, the thought means very little.

Maybe this is true among laypeople, but I have to stand up for fight fans asking this question.

The central question of all spectator sports is "Who would win?" Fans discuss every possible match-up, ignoring all rules of sport, states, nations, time, and space to do so. A superfight between champs of every adjacent weight-class is perennially imminent. Fedor "in his prime" against the current heavyweight champ is a constant topic, as is Conor McGregor versus a wrestler, Anderson Silva versus Roy Jones Jr., the two lightest male champions versus the heavyweight champ, and in general any two top-5 fighters of a weight class who haven't fought recently. Fight fans ask this question of every fighter imaginable, and strength is always one of the considerations: GSP was hella stronger against almost all his opponents until his last fight; we wonder how fighters would do if they moved up or down a weight class because of what it would do to their relative strength; Brock versus Mir and Royce versus Everyone Else In UFC 1 was essentially an exploration of strength versus technical breadth; Daniel Cormier said Jon Jones beat him not just with his innovative striking but by being deceptively strong for his size. Hell, Cyborg vs Rousey, the centerpiece of this FPP, is a thought experiment with strength and size at its core: they fight at different weights, in different organizations, and we know Cyborg is brutishly powerful.

"I wonder how [ATHLETE] would do against [OTHER ATHLETE OR CLASS OF ATHLETES]" isn't a women-specific question; it's the central question of spectator sports plus the central question of martial arts: "can X beat Y?", where X and Y are people, or styles, or a mix of the two. Except for a minority of jackass misogynists who you can identify because they hate women fighters anyway, these questions aren't about denigrating women, it's just applying the questions we have regarding all fighters. One of the reasons fight fans ask it of Rousey is because there's pretty universal agreement that she'd do well, and fight fans always want to see: how well?

So, yeah, someone whose understanding of the sport is limited to "yeah, but she'd get her ass kicked by the guys" is a misogynist moron, but "how would she do against the men?" is an interesting question in the same way "how would Dominick Cruz do against TJ Dillashaw?" is an interesting question.
posted by daveliepmann at 1:44 PM on March 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


It seems pretty natural to wonder how the best in a smaller/unfamiliar/less popular/marginalized league would do against those in the dominant league. I'd really like to see American baseball teams compete against Japanese teams, and it's not because I think less of Japanese baseball.
posted by spaltavian at 1:46 PM on March 2, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm really unhappy with the idea of women punching the crap out of each other. (Unless, of course, you are Toph Beifong.)
posted by SPrintF at 2:10 PM on March 2, 2015


Well, they seem to be pretty ok with it.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 2:22 PM on March 2, 2015 [13 favorites]


I didn't see any punches. Maybe watch the fight before commenting on it?

(It won't take long, I promise!)
posted by ODiV at 2:32 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


... but "how would she do against the men?" is an interesting question in the same way "how would Dominick Cruz do against TJ Dillashaw?" is an interesting question.

Not only that, it can be asked from the perspective of promoting gender equality. I asked the question because (a) I am curious about the science behind it, and (b) because I thought maybe there was no reason that women of the same size as men should not compete with men. For all I knew, it was just another example of encoded social bias.

It's still not 100% obvious to me (a fighting ignoramous) how much finesse and skill can compensate for raw strength. Rousey doesn't seem like the kind of person who wins by pounding her opponents into the ground (though I'm sure she could lay a hurtin' on someone).

This is something that's interesting in many, many competitive contexts, from fighting to golf to auto racing to... warfare. I mean, in general finesse and skill count for a lot. But maybe not in a professional setting, where everyone is pretty much at a similar very high skill level.
posted by mondo dentro at 2:34 PM on March 2, 2015


The most fascinating thing to me about this was Rousey's interview with ESPN right after the fight. The fight took 14 seconds, but she remembered every moment of it in minute detail. One presumes that for Rousey and other top tier fighters the entire thing happens in slow motion.

True. But it's also true they broadcast had time to show the entire thing in slow motion on the big screen in the arena. Repeatedly. Helps you to take it in when you can watch the entire fight right after the entire fight.
posted by parliboy at 2:57 PM on March 2, 2015


I know nothing about MMA but cannot think of a sport (golf?) where the top female athletes can eat upper echelon male athletes.

Let me point you to equestrian sports, and you can check out how women like Beezie Madden or Charlotte Dujardin are doing.

Count me as someone else who'd love to see women competing at +145. I imagine there are some deadly ones who are more naturally in the 160-200 range...
posted by TwoStride at 3:08 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Equestrian sports is a great example; golf really really not.
posted by Justinian at 3:08 PM on March 2, 2015


I have no real horse in the MMA race, but Rousey apparently trotted out the same old tired transphobic knee-jerks against Fox's status as a woman and an athlete. So there's that.

(Please don't debate the status of trans athletes' gender or ability as athletes. Please don't do the "but men are stronger" thing. Please do research on actual sex differences, effects of hormones, etc. re: muscle mass, bone density, RBC count, reflex and coordination, etc. It is not as clearly divisible or weighted in favor of men as you think, and there aren't enormous unbridgeable gulfs between trans and cis athletes' bodies.)
posted by byanyothername at 8:34 PM on March 2, 2015 [4 favorites]


From Dr. AnnMaria de Mars twitter: E. Spencer Kyte On Ronda Rousey, Female Athletes and Forced Comparisons:
...a lot of the conversations coming out of UFC 184 have been about Rousey facing male fighters and comparing her to Mike Tyson.

We don’t talk about female athletes the same way we do their male counterparts – they’re often relegated to second billing and the lengthy discussions about legacies and where they fit in the pantheon of all-time greats in their sport very seldom occur. At the same time, we don’t ever look to compare male athletes to their female counterparts – no one ever calls Chris Paul, “the male Sue Bird” – so why do we force the reverse so often?

Rousey deserves to be talked about free of these cumbersome comparisons and unrealistic questions. If anything right now, she should be held out as a paragon of excellence for the sport of mixed martial arts.
I think the Mike Tyson comparison is apt: young, ferocious, undefeated fighters that scare their opponents with an aggressive first-round blitz. And the "lengthy discussions about legacies and where they fit in the pantheon of all-time greats" is an interesting catch-22: it's impossible to have those discussions without comparing her to the existing pantheon, which, since she's a trailblazer, is just about entirely male.

On a brighter note, Rousey recently hit two birds with one stone by calling for fighters to get paid more than ring girls.
posted by daveliepmann at 10:41 PM on March 2, 2015 [1 favorite]


Coincidentally, just before seeing this post, I watched the movie Haywire. Then I looked up the lead actress, Gina Carano, who, I discovered, is credited with helping to start women's MMA fighting.

There was supposed to be a big Gina Carano/Ronda Rousey battle but it doesn't look like it is going to happen. I'm not surprised. Gina Carano turns out to be a decent actress, and she seems to want to do more. (And now I know why the fight scenes looked so realistic).
posted by eye of newt at 11:45 PM on March 2, 2015


byanyothername: have no real horse in the MMA race, but Rousey apparently trotted out the same old tired transphobic knee-jerks against Fox's status as a woman and an athlete. So there's that.

(Please don't debate the status of trans athletes' gender or ability as athletes. Please don't do the "but men are stronger" thing. Please do research on actual sex differences, effects of hormones, etc. re: muscle mass, bone density, RBC count, reflex and coordination, etc.


The article you linked undermines your second point, though. The medical experts quoted in the piece say "that trans female athletes who undergo hormone treatment face a disadvantage in bone strength and muscle density."

It's not like it matters, prize fighting isn't actually about winning combat (they would use guns if that was the case), it's about winning a match within a given constraint. Obviously, Rousey could beat any man in a fight, no matter how strong, by gouging out his eyes, but that's not within the constraints either.

Pure strength doesn't really make for interesting fight, I'd rather watch women with technical skill fight each other than two unskilled mutants clobber each other. I don't really see people doing "but men are stronger" here per se, I see "how does this obvious technical skill match up despite the strength disadvantage?" I mean, it's not too different from asking how today's best major league hitters would fare in the deadball era, or wondering how Negro League stars would have fared in the majors. (My guesses would be terrible in the first case and dominating in the second.) I don't see anyone denigrating Rousey as a fighter; she's aggressive, quick, tough and skilled.
posted by spaltavian at 6:03 AM on March 3, 2015


I gotta say, I'm amazed this thread is so active. I think that, whatever else trouble Ronda may bring, she is definitely bringing a lot of people to the sport. MeFi MMA threads from a couple of years ago felt like they had maybe ten participants.
posted by ignignokt at 7:12 AM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah. Speaking as a schmuck who doesn't follow the sport except for jokes on Twitter that are opaque to me, the thread has been really interesting, aside from the long, predictable-even-to-the-ignorant "what if she fought men" conversation.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:36 AM on March 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


spaltavian, I don't think you understood my comment. To be fair, it's a pretty bad, rushed comment; "that trans female athletes who undergo hormone treatment face a disadvantage in bone strength and muscle density," is the opposite of Rousey's basis for protest, there. When I advocate for doing actual research before spouting off some navel-gaze about what you think gendered bodies are like, I mean becoming aware of things like how hormone treatment affect bodies and athleticism. In this case, estrogen and testosterone blockers reduce muscle mass and bone density, meaning trans women are more or less on even footing with cis women in terms of strength and endurance, or even potentially at more of a disadvantage. Again, this is the complete opposite of the typical reasoning. Rousey is just wrong, and comes across as bigoted there.

This is something that gets stretched out across a bunch of areas any time female athletes are discussed, but it's not really a conversation I want to have again, either, so I'll just duck out now.
posted by byanyothername at 10:28 AM on March 3, 2015


Justinian: why is golf a bad example? Just length off the tee?

I am not a golfer, but it doesn't seem to me that there's a reason why women and men couldn't compete together in that sport.

I feel the same way about bowling.
posted by uberchet at 12:25 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell: An interesting thought experiment is how far up the ranks Rousey would go competing against men.

Like in other sports -- Serena Williams comes to mind -- it's no question that the top female athletes can beat some upper echelon male athletes. The question is how many. Would Rousey crack the top 20? A fun barstool debate.
I wouldn't be surprised if Rousey is the best in her weight class, regardless of gender.

The question for me is: just big a (world-class MMA) man could she compete against and still win?

It's like if no WNBA stars were over 5' tall. They'd have to be extra, extra damn good just to put up a challenge against the NBA stars.

Naturally, the height difference isn't as big as the weight difference - it's an x versus x^3 problem. And when we say "weight", we really mean "muscle and bone strength" - which is why 225-lb me would be dropped in under two seconds by this very powerful champion.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:37 PM on March 3, 2015


Justinian: why is golf a bad example? Just length off the tee?

Primarily, though more upper body strength helps even for somewhat shorter shots. Remember, small differences become magnified as you move to the professional level.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on March 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


Oh, we don't realy have to wonder about this since women are allowed in the PGA. Annika Sorenstam (who won over 70 titles in the LPGA) missed the cut when she tried to play in the PGA.
posted by Justinian at 3:07 PM on March 3, 2015 [3 favorites]


Another viewpoint on both the "Ronda vs a Chris Cyborg" and the "Ronda vs a man" discussions from Rener Gracie:

"I think people are giving Cris ‘Cyborg' more credit than she deserves, in the sense of beating Ronda," Gracie said on The MMA Hour.

"No offense to her, she's obviously an amazing athlete and has done amazingly well in MMA, and from what I hear is a great person as well. This is just me personally, I know what it feels like to roll with a very athletic, strong person. People say rolling with Cris ‘Cyborg' is like rolling with a man, you don't have to go easy, you're rolling very hard. And I've rolled with a lot of world class men, martial arts, jiu-jitsu, MMA, and I know what they feel like. Ronda doesn't feel like them.

"That's the whole point," Gracie continued. "She's beyond. I don't say rolling with Ronda is like rolling with a man. I've never said those words and I never will. Rolling with Ronda is like rolling with an alien."

posted by tdismukes at 4:27 AM on March 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


That may be true, but Ronda is still Mayweathering the matchup.

She fought Julia Budd, Autumn Richardson, and Taylor Stratford at 145, and Charmaine Tweet at 150. She said (after becoming the W135 champion) that she's willing to make an "exception" to fight Gina Carano at 145. In judo she fought a large portion of her career in the middleweight class (under 70kg/~155 pounds). She literally stopped competing at half-middleweight (under 63kg/~139 pounds) in judo because of bulimia. (Ronda's mother, who I respect greatly, makes the point that judo and MMA weight considerations are significantly different, and that's true, but the point remains that she would have the advantage of not cutting weight for a catchweight fight with Cyborg.)

For her to say now that she can't do a catchweight of 140 or 145 with Cyborg is plainly ridiculous. She's obviously willing to take fights above 135. Just not this fight. Her refusal is partly a favor to the UFC's contract negotiations with Cyborg and partly plain fear that she'll mar her record. All of the bluster from her and her team boils down to "I don't have to fight her and so I won't". OK. That's what we're saying: that you don't want to fight Cyborg. That's what ducking is: talking smack about the obvious opponent, but not fighting them.

Except for Bethe Correia, Ronda has cleared out her (thin) division. Calling out Holly Holm after the latter won her first fight in the UFC by split decision is absurd. So we do what we always do when champions clear out their divisions: call for the superfight. After Bethe, the only logical choices are Hollywood, Cyborg, or a top 10 but not top 5 men's bantamweight.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:04 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or a lion.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 7:52 AM on March 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov recommends an appropriately sized bear, if we're calling out the animal kingdom.
posted by daveliepmann at 8:02 AM on March 4, 2015


Or a lion.

Are you not entertained?
posted by Justinian at 9:59 AM on March 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Sports are, as was said above, artificially constrained competition. Almost all of them evolved, were developed, or were designed, by men and for men (most definitely including martial arts). It would be shocking if they were not optimized for men's physiology.

Give it a couple of centuries of fully supporting women's athleticism (and we're far from that now) and let's see what new sports emerge. It should be pretty fun.
posted by Salamandrous at 4:06 PM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Data point of one, but we now know how Rousey would perform against an idiot (though I'm fairly sure this was a pretty good-natured idiot). Having trained in boxing for years with very little sparring, I do have a bit of perverse desire to find out just what it would be like to be hit by someone who is light years more skilled or stronger (or thrown by Rousey). Even after punching a bag for years, I still can't fathom what it would be like to be hit by Roy Jones Jr. But I am foolishly curious.
posted by 99_ at 4:40 PM on March 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Salamandrous: Give it a couple of centuries of fully supporting women's athleticism (and we're far from that now) and let's see what new sports emerge. It should be pretty fun.
You have a point, but it's pretty hard to argue that any sort of combat will evolve from this. MMA female athletes already have at their disposal every conceivable, non-maiming/non-lethal attack and hold.
posted by IAmBroom at 7:46 AM on March 6, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's like if no WNBA stars were over 5' tall. They'd have to be extra, extra damn good just to put up a challenge against the NBA stars.

The WNBA comparison is interesting because there are positional differences -- we don't expect guards to match up against centers, but they're both on the court at the same time.

I happened to see Teresa Edwards set the ABL single-game scoring record. The ABL was the precursor to the WNBA. At the time, the 12th man on the Seattle Sonics was Steve Scheffler, a guy that could barely move up and down the court.

I remember thinking, why isn't Teresa Edwards playing for the Sonics? You can't tell me that she couldn't provide some off-the-bench scoring, something that a giant stiff like Steve Scheffler couldn't ever do.

I think a lot of it is simply a failure of imagination.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:19 PM on March 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you want to see the entire fight in 8x slow motion, you can. It really helps in seeing Cat's initial sprint, Ronda's expert slip of the knee, and then the tremendous complex coupled fall and roll that ended with Ronda in position to attack.
posted by daveliepmann at 6:13 PM on March 17, 2015 [1 favorite]


OMG as foolish as the flying knee was, in the slo-mo, you can see that Zingano still landed on her feet with an underhook and could have intentionally thrown Rousey with an uchimata or harai-goshi or something. Instead, she sort of accidentally threw Rousey over her but did not control the landing and instead let Rousey (very efficently) work her way into the inverted armbar.
posted by ignignokt at 7:25 PM on March 17, 2015


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