Tuesday, January 01, 2013

2012 Big Bad Blog Fighter of the Year

When I named Ronda Rousey as the 2011 Big Bad Blog Fighter of the Year, I said that she could very easily repeat in 2012. I've never done that with a fighter two years straight. But Ronda has earned it and she's so far above everyone else, she could be the 2013 Fighter of the Year too. In 2012, not only did she win the Strikeforce belt from Miesha Tate and then successfully defended it against Sarah Kaufman, she smoked both of them. Neither of those fighters are scrubs but she made them look like scrubs. Every one of her opponents know what Ronda will try to do. They can't stop her. If you watch the Kaufman fight, when Sarah defends the takedown, Ronda tried several little tricks and once one of them worked, it was all over. That's why she is hard to stop. Some complain that all she has is an armbar. But it's what she does to get to that armbar that makes her hard to stop. She has quickness and an ability to improvise that will be very hard to beat. So after Ronda beat Miesha in March, guys who should know better started yakking about moving Ronda to the UFC. But when Zuffa renewed the Strikeforce deal at the end of last year, they gave Showtime a lot of power so Strikeforce wouldn't get raided. Finally we have the end of Strikeforce and Showtime agreed to let Ronda leave for the UFC. And that's the most important thing Ronda has done. She has brought women's MMA to the UFC. And opening that door is the main reason I have named her the 2012 Big Bad Blog Fighter of the Year. She was given the UFC Women's Championship and will defend it against Liz Carmouche Feb. 23. Zuffa did the same thing when Jose Aldo came to the UFC when WEC closed. They think she earned it and she still has to keep it. Frequently I have compared Ronda to Danica Patrick not because she is similar to Danica. The common thread is they both transcend their sports. Ronda brings eyeballs to MMA that normally would not watch it. Danica does the same thing with auto racing. They are both keys to open the door to that elusive casual fan, especially women. But Danica has only won one race in her entire career. Ronda is already a champ and the best female fighter in the world. She attracts unprecedented media attention because of her looks and her ability to talk. The upcoming PPV will give a clear picture of her drawing power. I expect her to win that fight. And when the inevitable Ronda Rousey vs Cris Cyborg fight happens later this year, it could break viewership records. So by this time next year, Ronda Rousey could be the biggest draw in the UFC. Who'da thunk it?

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