Much has been made of #RondaRousey's absence from the octagon since UFC 193 13 months ago. It seems like everyone, from Miesha Tate, who has fought Rousey twice, to Cris "Cyborg" Justino, who has been itching to fight her, has weighed in about whether the Rowdy one will be able to be effective in #UFC207 and reclaim her title.
In spite of the naysayers and doubters, Rousey is more than ready.
She's going back into the octagon for different reasons this time. She has something to prove, except this time, it's not to everyone who has supported her and cheered for her at every turn. It's not for the sports broadcasters who have broken down her every move at every fight, analyzing how quickly she dispatched her previous opponents before being downed by Holly Holm at UFC 193.
It's for herself.
You can see the difference in her physique. She's fought even harder than she usually does to get in shape for a fight for her showdown with Amanda Nunes, and it shows. Not that she didn't want a victory those countless other times; this time, though, she's hungry for it, and that's a very good position for a fighter to be in if they're smart about it, which Rousey has been so many times in the past.
What Happened With UFC 193 Anyways?
There have been so many theories tossed around as to why Rousey lost. Some have suggested the loss occurred because she underestimated Holm, or her ego caused her to under-prepare.
Rousey has a different theory, and it has to do with boundaries. She effectively stopped saying "no."
"I was just trying to make too many people happy," Rousey admits. "But when I try and do favors and make everybody else happy, at the end of the day, they walk away happy and I'm the one who has to deal with the depression. All the pay-per-views in the world, all the money in the world, it means f---ing nothing to me because I lost."
Like #UFC193, Rousey has no plans of losing. The plan is that UFC 207 will be different.
She's hungry this time.
A Powerful Mind
She was raked over the coals following her first post-UFC 193 appearance last year. She'd made her first post-fight - her first post-loss - television appearance on Ellen, where she admitted that she'd contemplated suicide following the loss to Holm. It was clearly a painful admission for Rousey, one that host Ellen DeGeneres comforted her about. Rousey was open discussing her thoughts during that interview.
"Honestly, my thought in the medical room, I was sitting in the corner and was like, 'What am I anymore if I'm not this?'" Rousey said. "Literally sitting there thinking about killing myself. In that exact second, I'm like, 'I'm nothing. What do I do anymore? No one gives a s--- about me anymore without this.'"
She credited boyfriend Travis Browne with saving her, saying that she needed to stick around to have his children.
Now, though, Rousey has made no bones about the fact that she wants revenge. She has renewed focus, more of an edge than she ever had before, and she's determined not to let anyone take that from her.
"I will never put my body at risk for money and views ever again," she says now. "What makes me happy is winning and being the best in the world and that's it. F--- all the promotion and energy spent on anything that's not me winning. And anyone who tries to tell me I owe them energy on frivolous s--- during camp out of 'loyalty' or 'friendship' deserves no loyalty from me and is no friend of mine.
"This is not a time for f---ing favors. This is a time for redemption and revenge."
What Rousey Is
While Rousey is a machine in the octagon, she has become so much more to so many. Her autobiography, My Fight/Your Fight, took readers through a childhood that saw her struggle with apraxia, a childhood learning challenge which saw Rousey struggling to make sounds, and come to terms with her father's suicide when she was 8. Readers saw her living through being broke and hustling from one bar job to another as she tried to survive, until fate took her to meet with UFC president Dana White, who now counts Rousey as one of his friends both inside and outside the octagon.
She's become a symbol of strength for children and adults alike, and she knows it.
Rousey is hungry for a win, and wants to see that belt around her waist again. She wants the championship back, and it'll be on her own terms.
In spite of the loss, in spite of the accolades she's received in the past, the one thing she will never lose from her fans is their respect for her.
Rousey will always be a champion, no matter what. Her strength, her drive, and her ability to have overcome everything life has put in her way are huge testaments to who she is, and her fans know that regardless of what happens at UFC 207, she will always be a champion.