Thursday, July 10, 2014

Outside the Octagon: What's Next for Ronda Rousey?

Ronda Rousey defended her belt on Saturday in a dominating sixteen second victory over Alexis Davis.  She improved to 10-0 with all of her wins coming by either submission or KO.  Rousey is slowly becoming the new face of the UFC.  So what does the future hold for Rousey? 

Fighting wise, I am not sure what else Rousey could do.  She has been one of the most dominate champions in UFC history.  Only one fight in her career has ever made it out of the first round.  She is putting in a performance similar to Anderson Silva in his prime.  Rousey’s fights pull in some of the highest PPV numbers every time she goes in the octagon and I am sure when the numbers are released for UFC 175 that trend will continue.

A lot of people are speculating who she will fight next with two of the most interesting names Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg.  Neither of these fighters are in the UFC at the moment and both are coming back from time off in the octagon.  Carano has not fought in 5 years since her loss to Cyborg but she is still one of the most known women’s MMA fighters.  A Rousey and Carano fight would probably lead to huge PPV sales.  Cyborg is coming off a drug suspension and recently lost in her first Muay Thai fight.  Cyborg has been very vocal about fighting Rousey saying Rousey would not be considered the real champion until they fight.  This fight would also have potential for huge PPV numbers.

Rousey is also trying to grow her brand outside of the octagon.  She will star in Expendables 3 and Fast and Furious 7.  I believe this is a great way for her to grow her brand and for people to see another side of her.  Fans have very polarizing opinions about Rousey.  Some people don’t like her because of her antics as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter and her trash talking before every fight.  These are just tactics that help grow interest in her fights. 

Even with all of her fame and recognition, Rousey has yet to land any high level endorsements.  Most top athletes in their sport make a majority of their money through endorsements.  The only exception to this is Floyd Mayweather, but he makes so much money from his fights and PPV cut that he can get by without the endorsement money.  I think that it is only a matter of time until she will land an endorsement deal which will help grow and improve her brand.  

The future looks promising for Rousey.  She may go down as the most dominate champion in UFC history.  She may retire early to focus on her movie career.  She could even go back to Judo where she became the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in Judo since 1992.  The possibilities are endless for her.  Rousey will be one of the most watched MMA athletes over the next few years and she has definitely earned that honor.   

 Greg Monforte is a Drexel University Sport Management pre-junior from South Jersey.  Currently he works at Not Just Pizza in Sicklerville, NJ and Daddis Fight Camps in Philadelphia where he has social media and marketing responsibilities.  Greg is also the SMTSU Director of Marketing & Outreach.  Follow Greg on Twitter @Greg_Monforte.
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