While semi-retired, one-time UFC superstar Ronda Rousey has yet to publicize her future plans, coach Edmond Tarverdyan would like to see her return to the promotion
More than this, Tarverdyan wants to see Rousey take on the most dominant athlete in female combat sports, Cris Cyborg.
The problem is that Cyborg does not seem too keen on the idea of taking on Ronda Rousey anymore. The Brazilian, who reigns as the UFC women’s featherweight champion, spent years pushing for the opportunity to fight Rousey prior to her dramatic fall from grace.
Despite all signs seemingly pointing towards he retirement, on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Rousey’s coach Edmond Tarverdyan stated that he wants to see Rousey return against the dominant Brazilian:
“That’s the one,” Tarverdyan said. “I want that fight. When I trained Ronda, I know Ronda could beat Cyborg. I know that. Cyborg is too slow.”
While UFC President Dana White has cast serious doubt on a return for Rousey to the UFC, Glendale Gym’s Tarverdyan is feeling slightly more optimistic:
“I don’t know,” Tarverdyan said when asked if Rousey would return. “I don’t know. We’ll live and we’ll see. If injuries weren’t there and everything was where it was, we would take that fight and I’m telling you she’s too slow for us. And Ronda will beat her. Ronda needs a challenge that she really needs to be like this person is no good and I need to prove something to the whole world. That’s how Ronda works good.
“And she didn’t have that with Holly, she’s the one that pushed and wanted some aggressiveness before the weigh-ins. This one she has it. She said she cheated before, she’s hurt women and she wants to come and beat her.”
Cyborg is preparing for a fight with Holly Holm at UFC 219, the opponent who smashed the aura of invincibility around Rousey, arguably ending her career in the process. While Cyborg admits that Rousey could return, she believes that she would be a bad matchup for her right now:
“If Ronda wants to come back for a fight,” Cyborg said, “I believe it’s better for her to fight Miesha Tate. I’m in another stage of my career. I wanted to fight Ronda when she was psychologically well and confident.”
“Now, if she wants to make a good fight for the fans, we can make it at WWE,” she said. “It would fit perfectly [for her] to go to Hollywood, and for me would be another challenge in my career.
“And something brilliant, her coach would fit perfectly in her corner in WWE, he’s nothing but a joke.”
Tarverdyan’s insistence that a matchup between his pupil and Cyborg would be a good one may be slightly off the mark. Rousey looked completely out of her depth against bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes in her last outing and with just two fights (and two severe beatings) in two years, it is hard to see positives in her ability to beat the strongest female fighter on the planet.
While the Glendale coach’s words may be part of building up media attention for Rousey’s foray into boxing or a genuine desire to see her back inside the octagon, Tarverdyan’s status as a much-maligned figure in MMA leaves questions. It is highly doubtful that we will see the return of Rousey but there is also a shared sentiment that her husband, UFC heavyweight Travis Browne, may also walk away from the sport. What both fighters hold in common is that they are both Glendale Gym students.
Tarverdyan also touched upon the criticism he has received as a result of the downfall of his two highest profile fighters:
“Whenever fighters come from knockout losses, I’m very powerful when I make statements, when I tell them things to do,” Tarverdyan said. “I want them to do it. I coach, but I demand. I want them to do it when I coach. I’m hard, I’m strict, I want discipline, I want work ethic. That’s what I want to see in my gym. So I give that and fighters like it. Sometimes they come from losses, it’s difficult to pick them up mentally and physically.
“Travis did well with the Mitrione fight. We had a good fight, we won. Arlovski, he got caught, so it was back and forth. The Werdum fight was, his finger got messed up in the first round. These are the fights that I coached him.”
“I did this all my life,” Tarverdyan said. “I was a professional fighter myself. What I did, what I could do, the abilities I have, I know and my fighters know. People what they think or what they say, it really doesn’t bug me. Sometimes just a little bit the coaches. If the coaches don’t understand and they make a stupid comment after they were kissing my ass when Ronda was on top, that’s a little bit hurtful. But it’s OK, we move on and it’s life. What I have to do is come out with another amazing, special fighter to prove what I could do. That’s all I could do. Really it doesn’t bug me.”
Quite simply, it appears that Rousey has had her day in MMA. Cyborg, indicating that she is happy to entertain a payday in WWE with Rousey but has no interest in a fight under MMA rules explains a lot. It would be a massive surprise to see this fight happen now, but nowadays in the UFC, anything can happen.