It’s been debated at great lengths that the popularity or dare I say the lack of overall popularity of women’s MMA is due to the fact that they haven’t yet had that defining fight that captures the world’s imagination. WMMA has its stars and faces to better market and promote the sport and they have done a magnificent job and they wouldn’t be where it’s at now without standout performers and personalities like Gina Carano and Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Santos.
In the last year though, we witnessed a sort of “changing of the guard” with the meteoric rise of current Strikeforce bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, along with the outstanding female competitor that Tate has now been announced to face on March 3rd,Ronda Rousey*. These two female combatants definitely took the reins presented to them in the absence of the already mentioned Carano and Santos, and drove the wagon to new heights of awareness and curiosity about WMMA. 2011 was arguably the biggest news year in MMA history, and Rousey and Tate gobbled up the press along the way, and deservedly so.
Miesha has a lot more MMA experience than Ronda does, and also has a title for her efforts. But, not to be overlooked would be the wealth of top-level, world-class judo experience that Rousey possesses, which could easily balance the scales, if not tip them into her favor. Even Bas Rutten stated that because of Ronda’s extensive judo background, she more than deserves a shot at the title, whether she’s had four fights or forty. Tate and Rousey are pretty much the two most popular names in WMMA right now, regardless of their fighting. They have taken social networking and media marketing to the next level of self promotion, and it was a brilliant strategy for the advancement of WMMA’s overall acceptance by fans.
Many, if not most would argue that Cristiane Santos is the one true warrior of WMMA, but she isn’t as widely searched as Tate and Rousey are. WMMA needs excessive personalities to draw in more fans, and Miesha and Ronda seem to attract more and more fans as the days pass. There has already been some heated banter between Miesha and Ronda, even before the fight announcement, which makes things far more interesting.
Miesha’s nickname is ‘Takedown’, which obviously implies that she wants to go to the ground. She is an amazing wrestler, with phenomenal control, and just the right amount of aggressiveness. On the other hand, we have Ronda, who has taken every opponent to the ground and submitted them with an armbar.
What happens when these two square off is up for grabs at this point, leaving us all to speculate as to who will implement the winning strategy. Will Rousey come out swinging, looking for the KO, or will she look for her bread and butter armbar? Will Tate’s spectacular wrestling, position control, experience, and strength neutralize the assault of Ronda? These are but a couple in the thousands of questions and if this fight delivers as advertised, then we could see the demand for WMMA skyrocket in 2012.
Miesha Tate vs. Ronda Rousey is scheduled for March 3rd, on the under card of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale bout between Josh Barnett and Daniel Cormier.
* According to Miesha Tate (via Facebook) a bout between her and Rousey is pure rumor at this point. Tate wrote on her Facebook page, ”So I come back from training & the whole world is saying I’m fighting Ronda yet I would know if I was so pls dismiss as rumors at this point, thanks!”
Whether she is just downplaying it or it really is just a rumor at this point, a bout between the two will likely happen at some ppoint and when it does it could take WMMA to the next level.