Ronda Rousey didn’t interact with the media in the lead-up to her return bout opposite UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, so it came as no major surprise that the ‘Rowdy’ one’s silence continued after her utterly devastating 48-second TKO loss to ‘The Lioness’ at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Friday night.
That silence allowed many to make their own assumptions about the Pay-per-view superstar’s future in the sport. However, when Rousey finally released a statement on Saturday night, there was no mention of the word ‘retirement’.
“I want to say thank you to all of my fans who have been there for me in not only the greatest moments but in the most difficult ones. Words cannot convey how much your love and support means to me,” read the statement that Rousey provided to ESPN.
“Returning to not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year. However, sometimes — even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly — it doesn’t work how you planned. I take pride in seeing how far the women’s division has come in the UFC and commend all the other women who have been part of making this possible, including Amanda.
“I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future. Thank you for believing in me and understanding.”
Rousey suffered her first ever loss as a professional MMA fighter back in November of last year, when she was brutally knocked out by Holly Holm in Melbourne, Australia. A lengthy hiatus followed, before the 29-year-old returned to face Nunes. Having suffered a second straight stoppage defeat, retirement seems like the most likely result of Rousey’s period of reflection.
During an interview with Ellen DeGeneres a couple of months ago, the fighter admitted that her career was “winding down”. With thoughts of retirement obviously already inhabiting Rousey’s mind prior to the bout, it’s hard to imagine that the defeat to Nunes hasn’t sped the process along.