10 U.F.C. Fighters Vying to Fill Gap Left by Ronda Rousey

Rousey lost to to Holly Holm in stunning fashion over the weekend, but others are equipped to become the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s biggest name in the months ahead.

Comments: 21

  1. Aldo is a chicken; Jones a drug addict. McGregor, perhaps, if he does not allow himself to become cannon fodder as he did in his last fight - but what about Paige VanZant? She looks formidable and she has style and looks.

  2. Ummmm....Jon Jones didn't 'inherit' anything from Rousey, he was unbeatable years before she ever touched an octagon.

    It's only because the UFC hasn't pushed Aldo that he isn't in McGregor's or Rousey's spot. Also, Jon Jones wasn't being pushed by the UFC even before he caused his own problems.

    The UFC picks and chooses it's stars and ignores everybody else, even the actual stars.

  3. Hope she comes back and defeats Holm

  4. No women except for the two bantamweights that already fought on Saturday? Ronda remains #1 after Holly virtually removed her head and handed it to her? Still reprinting Dana White puffing his top money-maker after her stale game was dismantled by some sharp analysts from New Mexico?

    For several years Ronda has gotten through a fledgling division with one plan: bull rush at the bell, eat a couple of punches, get the clinch, hip toss, arm bar, overwhelming already-intimidated opponents with the force of her initial attack. When that didn't work, when she had an opponent strong enough to stuff her takedowns, and get up again after Ronda failed to land the arm bar--even to body slam Ronda (and get up again, so as to hit her some more) she didn't have an alternate game to go to. And while she may make more progress after this fight, the other women will be progressing too.

    Maybe a mention of (take pick) Amanda Nunes, Cris Cyborg (if she ever makes 135), Julianna Pena, still-hungry Miesha Tate, Cat Zingano.

    Glad to say UFC plans to open a women's flyweight division.

    For the record I saw Buster Douglas when he had his next fight, post-Tyson, vs. Evander Holyfield. It's absurd to even compare Holly to Buster. He came into the ring grossly overweight, sluggish, fought a clumsy, awkward, panting fight, and went down for the count in R-3 in a collapse so sudden it looked like a dive: disgraced. Holly Holm has a 15-year record of showing up in awesome condition and on fire.

  5. When the UFC say theyre gonna open a flyweight division? They can barely populate 2 divisions as it is.

  6. Don't take my word for it: take Dana White's word for it. In the question-answer session after the UFC 193 weigh-ins, he was asked if there would be a women's heavyweight division and replied:

    "There's not going to be a [new] division for a while, but the next division when there is one will be [women's] 125. So I'll have a 115, 125, and 135."

    Apparently this ends the notion that the next division the UFC added would be a men's 115. Sorry, guys. As far as filling the division, there's starving strawweights who'd like to move up, and girls who have to bulk up to be bantamweights and would like to move down (e.g., Miesha Tate). There's also a whole bunch of 125-ers in Invicta waiting for the opportunity. This weight zone in women's wrestling and judo is heavily populated and insanely competitive, so after another year or two of development the UFC can open it up.

  7. The fact you didn't include Luke Rockhold, Paige VanZant, or Sage Northcutt is absurd. All great fighters (& will be much, much better in terms of the latter two), all immensely good looking, all young, & all charismatic. This list is...poor.

  8. Three stories on MMA, and yet you can't cover boxing? Is boxing not violent enough for you?

    Or doesn't it provide you with enough attention-getting pictures?

  9. Sports are a form of art. The hard work and dedication that these fighters channel is worthy of praise. Just because it isn't the sport or art form you prefer doesn't mean its wrong.

  10. There has been a vast public relations machine at work for Rousey related to her films, public appearances, marketing, etc. This investment in Rousey is so great that "they" (whoever "they" may be) want to keep her on top, hence this blatantly biased article. In any case, Ronda Rousey's publicist will surely be getting a bonus for this NYT puff piece.

    Take a look at a video of the Rousey/Holm fight and you will see that Holm had Rousey outclassed from the start, and at the end felled Rousey like a tree with that powerful kick. Let's give credit where credit is due: Holm ate Rousey's lunch, no doubt about it. Rousey's lumbering and lunging about the octagon were simply no match for Holm's agility and power.

    I do not mean to suggest that Rousey is bad or washed up; I am saying that this article's placing her first on the UFC star list is totally biased, and very disrespectful to Holm.

    I am looking forward to the rematch, which I think either Holm or Rousey could win. The old veteran could win if she trains harder, primps less and develops a wider repertoire of moves and strikes. The newcomer could win if she maintains her focus, keeps up her obviously high level of training and continues to refine her tactics and strategy. I also think Holm should get more or better public relations assistance since that is one area where Rousey has a clear advantage.

  11. Rousey is no Mike Tyson. Her 12 vs his 40, Really!!! You Gus are overreaching with analogies like this.

    Maybe if she hadn't believed her own press she would have shown her opponent more respect. The bravado at the weigh, over the top. The unsportsmanlike behavior of not touching gloves before the bell, big mistake.

  12. As a martial arts enthusiasts, I love that the NYtimes is covering MMA/UFC nowadays. But this article is a little out of the loop. C.M. Punk has never fought before and is in his late 30's. He's had multiple injuries etc. Silva is way past his prime and just got caught for steroid use. Aldo lacks charisma and doesn't speak very much English and I think that would hurt his star appeal. The others, I agree could be the next big stars. They need to continue to win inside the cage and market themselves outside it.

  13. I'm glad too see the NY Times interested in MMA, for for its own credibility it should really ask someone who knows about the sport to write about it.

    This list is mostly ridiculous. CM Punk is not even a fighter. He is 0-0-0. Brock Lesnar was a decorated collegiate wrestler and a freak athlete who arrived as a major superstar and quickly became the world champion. He looked and fought like the Hulk. CM Punk is a joke and is continuously trolled by MMA fans wherever he appears. He will have 1 or 2 fights in the UFC against other non fighters and will disappear.

    Demitrious Johnson?? Really?? Do you even know who he is or did you just pull his name off of wikipedia? The guy is so unpopular his PPV keep on breaking mediocrity levels.

    Anderson Silva.... Hum, the guy is over 40, is on suspension for a while, has 0-2 and 1 DQ on his last 3 fights AND WAS NEVER A BIG STAR OR PPV DRAW EVEN AT HIS PRIME. A future star... Ok, whatever.

    I'm glad you didn't waste your time with no-potential rookies like Joanna Jędrzejczyk, Paige Vanzant or Sage Northcutt!

  14. Legitimate question: has the author of this article ever watched a second of MMA? Because reading this laughable list tells me to the contrary.

    Jon Jones "inheriting" Ronda's aura? HAHAHAHAHA. Jones was UFC champ and P4P #1 in the world before Rousey was even a thing.

    CM Punk will wash out with a quickness. Dude has ZERO fighting or training experience and is almost 40. What are you even talking about? Are you serious?

    Anderson Silva is done. One more fight max and then off to the sunset. He looked visibly slower and diminished in the Diaz fight, and Weidman cleaned his clock twice. He KO'd Silva in the second fight, too. while in the clinch in the first round, but Silva woke up when he hit the mat. Plus the only times he broke the bank was the second Chael fight.

    As for Rousey, she lost because she simply had a gigantic skill disadvantage vs. Holm. A second fight would be no different, but you'll see that soon enough.

    LOL NYTimes should stick with shilling for corporate interests. You know nothing of MMA, this is an embarrassing read.

  15. I've followed Holly Holm's career a bit as she's local. Albuquerque is very proud of her and certainly pleased with her win. It was surprising, but she's a hard worker and she had good training and support from a top gym.

    I've only seen replays of the first round and read a few descriptions. Seems that Holly outfought and outclassed Ronda at every turn. I'd heard that Rousey was unbeatable. But every time you hear that it's time to get some money down on the other side.

    Ronda had no clue what was waiting for her in that octagon, and she had no answers. The rematch should be great.

  16. No one can fill Ronda's shoes. I believe even with the loss Ronda will continue to lead the UFC fan base that she has attracted and will capture the attention of the media, film and TV.

  17. Ronda will be back. In this sport nothing like a good beating to move you to the next level. Body, mind and spirit. She has youth on her side and probably two more fights with Holly. Brave on.

  18. The idea of a new marquee to replace Rousey is a fantasy, nurtured mostly by Dana White. This is the same Dana White that proclaimed Rousey to be the "greatest woman athlete of all time." The truth is she is a good athlete, not great, at least not yet and nowhere near the accomplishments of women in many other sports. Her appeal beyond her athleticism was that she is an attractive woman in a viscous brutal sport, usually reserved for men.

    One will never know what the male fantasy's are that are invoked by women's MMA, but they go beyond the athletic skill of the women themselves. But this bubble may have already burst. Rousey has a very different personality than a Holly Holm, who is as quiet outside the ring as she is tenacious inside it. Don't expect the Buster Douglas experience from Holm. Douglas didn't know how to handle the mountaintop after the Tyson fight, but Holm has been a champion boxer and knows that in ever future fight there's a target on her back.

    Unfortunately for all the hype around this fight what is left out is that women have achieved some measure of equality on a stage where most of its players will someday suffer the effects of brain trauma. Yes, Rousey did suffer a concussion, just not one requiring specific medical attention. But in MMA just like boxing, careers are short, money is iffy and fame fleeting. And the violence has culturally pushed us all to the very edge. Hopefully we can step back and one day embrace "the beautiful game."

  19. Stop this human cock fighting sport...it is despicable, who will be the first to be killed? How many will suffer brain dementia, depression.? Worse than football!! And little children watching the blood and violence! Boxing is not as bad as this...and to make Rousey some kind of hero! Speechless

  20. Rhonda made the mistake that some champions make, they take their opponents lightly. Holly Holm was an accomplished boxer who was in fantastic shape for this fight and let her skills do her talking. She literally beat Rousey unconscious. Next time Rousey needs to sharpen her skills.

  21. Two women fight one of the most successful UFC pay-per-views and your choices to fill the gap are, except for Rousey and Holm, men? While these men may all be worthy of attention, the growth of the women's field has tracked the growth of UFC. Could not one of the others, in a very talented bantam weight division, fill the gap?

    One of the reasons that women's sports in general is seeing a rise, from soccer to UFC, is that it seems, to us causal fans, both more pure and more of a meritocracy. That C.M. Punk can just declare his willingness to get into the octagon and make it to No. 8 shows what UFC's image is outside of the faithful. Rousey and Holm are both champions who came to the belt match with legitimacy. Those waiting for a shot at either have earned it, too. Beyond those who know it well, the women's UFC seems to have earnest women who are fighting because they love the competition.