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Analysis:: Does the UFC even miss Ronda Rousey?

Next month will mark one full year since Ronda Rousey last fought in a UFC octagon.

Next month will mark one full year without Ronda Rousey fighting in a UFC octagon, and as the clock ticks on, more evidence builds that she’s not missed.

For those who forgot, Rousey concentrated too much on her developing stand-up game Nov. 14 against former world-champion boxer Holly Holm and was knocked out in the second round in Melbourne, Australia.

In her absence, which has included appearances on “Ellen” and “Saturday Night Live,” film work and little other public contact, the women’s bantamweight belt has been passed from Holm to Miesha Tate to the current champion, Brazil’s Amanda Nunes.

Those outcomes have brought more storylines, more personality, more depth to women’s MMA fighting.

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Nunes, for instance, spoke eloquently of love after winning her belt in the main event of UFC 200 and becoming the first openly gay champion in combat sports.

That July event generated a UFC-record $10.7 million live gate at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

That same card also featured the continued rise of opinionated women’s bantamweight challenger Julianna Pena, and a stirring return to the octagon by Cat Zingano.

Zingano had a compelling reason for her own extended layoff, which followed a title loss to Rousey. Her estranged husband had committed suicide and she needed to spend extended time raising her son.

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Authenticity, along with her famed armbar submission skill, made Rousey who she was.

Watching the former Olympic judo bronze medalist from Venice become the best women’s mixed martial arts fighter was a fun, unscripted show to observe.

While cornering a friend’s fight years ago, Rousey delivered a memorable sneer at UFC octagon card girl Arianny Celeste as she walked past, as if in disdain for Celeste’s attention/obsession with her look.

Rousey’s realness and toughness while maintaining her femininity was the ultimate contrast, and made her a deserved role model to millions.

You wonder, now, if that Rousey, the one motivated by the not-too-distant memory of what it was like to live out of her car, would even like this version of Rousey.

And you wonder if those who cared about her for those very reasons still have the same interest now that Holm cracked the fighting code.

Since her loss to Holm, Rousey’s seclusion act hasn’t done her any favors. In modern terms, she didn’t “take the ‘L’” very well.

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And you’d think her personal handlers employed by the UFC ownership group, WME-IMG, would move on this instead of letting this perception that “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey is now “Pouty” Ronda Rousey fester.

Instead, we’re left with spin like the comments this week from UFC President Dana White, who like many around MMA is often asked when Rousey, 29, will fight again.

“By far, the biggest star ever,” White told a radio station.

The facts say differently, considering that featherweight champion Conor McGregor has posted three of the top five pay-per-views in UFC history since December, including a record 1.65 million buys for McGregor’s August triumph over Nate Diaz.

And when Rousey, whose team cited her minor knee surgery for being unable to make the UFC’s New York debut Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden, McGregor jumped in to pursue the unprecedented feat of wearing two belts at once by fighting lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez in the main event.

Also there, in a three-title card, will be the now fiercest women’s fighter in the UFC stable, straw-weight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk.

When The Times stopped by Rousey’s Glendale gym in late August to see if there was any activity, she had just finished a workout and stopped briefly in her luxury SUV to tell a reporter, “I’m not talking to anyone.”

Rousey’s coach, Edmond Tarverdyan, answered his phone late Tuesday afternoon and spoke in a displeased tone when asked if there was any update on Rousey’s status.

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“You’ve asked [when she’ll fight] before, and made people very upset,” Tarverdyan said.

So when is it OK to check? Tarverdyan was asked.

“Wait two more months.”

On Wednesday, White was asked by The Times when Rousey will fight again, and he replied in a text message, “Soon.

“I hope.”

ALSO

Dana White: Holly Holm should have waited for Ronda Rousey rather than fight Miesha Tate

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Ronda Rousey says she thought about killing herself after loss to Holly Holm


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