Rousey said last week that she planned to “disappear for a while” before returning in July 2016 at UFC 200—which could be headlined by a massive pay-per-view rematch against Holm.
But Rousey’s planned break, which was to focus on movie projects like the Road House remake and Mile 22 with Mark Wahlberg, will undoubtedly include a re-dedication to MMA if she wants to exact revenge on "The Preacher's Daughter".
The taller, rangier Holm easily dismantled Rousey with fleet footwork and precision punching before knocking Rousey out with a vicious kick to the head in the second round, then unleashed more hammer blows on a dazed Rousey before the ref mercifully stopped the beatdown.
It was the MMA equivalent of Mike Tyson getting dusted by Buster Douglas—except at least in that world-shaking upset, Tyson still nearly KO’d his unheralded challenger. In this jaw-dropper, the 20-1 underdog Holm dominated Rousey from the opening bell, landing solid punches and playing matador to Rousey’s bull rushes.
While Rousey was taken to the hospital after the fight to have her split lip sewn up, UFC boss Dana White was already talking up the inevitable rematch.
“Obviously we don’t make fights the night of the fight, but the rematch makes a lot of sense,” White said at the post-fight press conference. “I think the rematch is what people would want to see.”
Holm, unsurprisingly, was also in favor of fighting Rousey again. “I think a rematch makes sense for sure,” she said. “I’ve been on a losing side of a fight and I wanted the rematch; I wanted to avenge my loss. With a champion like Ronda who has gone out of her way, above and beyond to do great things, absolutely she deserves a rematch.”
White said he had spoken to the formerly undefeated women’s bantamweight champion and she was “completely bummed out and depressed.”
He told TMZ Sports that Rousey was getting plastic surgery done in Australia Sunday to repair the "very big gash" on her lip.
The downhearted Rousey, who spent the night in the hospital with her sister, did not say much about the loss. "The last thing a fighter wants to do is talk about a fight when they lose." White told TMZ. "There was not a lot of talking."
He added that the fight "destroyed" all previous UFC records, including the previous biggest fight between heavyweights Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez. "There were absolutely be a rematch," White said. "It's the fight that makes sense."
Even if Holm is the favorite next time, you can bet that Rousey will try to take her down sooner to use her superior Olympic judo skills to force a submission, rather than go toe-to-toe with the dangerous kickboxer.
Before her devastating loss, Rousey told Rolling Stone last week: ”I'm selling a product and I have to be out there; I don't have the option not to be. But after this fight, I'm definitely going to let some people miss me, for sure. Believe me, there's nothing I would like to do more than disappear for a while.”
Rousey was inescapable in the intense media build-up to UFC 193. She revealed to Maxim that she was against lube and for Bernie Sanders. She was splashed on magazine covers from women’s health title Self to boxing bible The Ring (earning another diss from her arch-nemesis Floyd Mayweather, who is probably feeling gleeful about Saturday’s crushing defeat).
She guest-hosted Sports Center, gabbed with Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show, was criticized for writing in her autobiography that she beat up an ex-boyfriend, as well as for the aforementioned “lube shaming”, all while making web headlines dozens of times a day.
There had never been anything quite like Rousey before: a savagely effective female fighter who finished opponents with all the brute fury of peak-period Tyson, whose uncontested dominance former UFC champion Vitor Belfort described as “a shark that swims alone in the ocean.”
And her brash attitude, model looks and burgeoning action movie career didn’t hurt, either.
But after her violent destruction by Holm, it’s unlikely that she'll be dubbed the "the world’s most dominant athlete" again anytime soon.
Photos by Quinn Rooney / Getty Images Sport