5 Reasons Amanda Nunes Could Shock Ronda Rousey

by Jeff Harris
on December 29, 2016

The entire card for UFC 207 was officially unveiled on Wednesday, and the headliner is without a doubt the final match of the night between Ronda Rousey and Amanda Nunes.

This will be Rousey’s first appearance in the octagon since she was on the wrong end of one of the biggest upsets in the sports history last year. Rousey was knocked out last November in the second round of UFC 193 against Holly Holm.

She has spent the last year trying to rebuild her confidence and will finally seek revenge against Nunes on December 30th at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

While Rousey is the odds-on favorite to reclaim her bantamweight crown, Nunes is no pushover. Nunes has a great chance at running Rousey’s losing streak to two in a row, and here are five reasons she will do just that at UFC 207.

Rousey’s Time is Up

Rousey is the same age as Nunes, but last year’s defeat showed a clear chink in her previously impermeable armor.

A lot of her edge came thanks to the mindset that she was unbeatable. She had never lost before, so she maintained that mental advantage.

With a defeat now under her belt, though, there is a chance doubt could creep into her mind. As is the case with athletes in every sport, confidence is paramount for a fighter. If that true belief isn’t there for her that night, things could get difficult for her.

Most importantly, Nunes will certainly not be lacking in belief. Nunes is coming off of winning the bantamweight crown over the summer, and she is clearly in fine form overall.

She won the belt by taking down another of the most decorated fighters on the planet in Miesha Tate, so Nunes is no stranger to the big stage.

Rousey is the biggest name in the sport, and as a result she will always have a huge target on her back. Now that she may no longer have the intimidation factor in her favor, though, she is potentially vulnerable.

If Nunes is able to take her down, she may wind up surpassing Rousey as the marquee name in UFC. That’s a lot for both fighters to consider heading into this one.

Rousey Could Be Rusty

Not to take anything away from Nunes’ skills, but rust could be a factor here.

Rousey hasn’t stepped into the octagon in over a year now, and it has to be difficult to go out there on a monstrous national stage and perform if you haven’t done it in so long.

Holly Holm was asked about who she thinks will emerge victorious from this bout, and he said it was basically a 50/50 proposition thanks in large part to the unknown that is Rousey presently.

Will Rousey be the same fighter she was in the past? Being away from the game for so long may have people fairly questioning her competitive spirit. Rousey took the loss to Holm incredibly hard. Rebounding from a defeat like that requires a different mental approach, and it’s something Rousey has never had to deal with in the past.

Here’s Holm, via : “I do think that coming back from a big loss, I’ve had some big losses before, and I know that after I’ve been laid out cold from being knocked out, going back, those first punches in a fight are kind of like, am I okay, am I okay.”

Nunes, on the other hand, has fought twice since we last saw Rousey.

Rousey Could Be Washed Up

Rousey has a lot of similarities with former MMA athlete Gina Carano. Carano enjoyed a flawless streak of victories at the UFC level before finally succumbing to Cristiane Justino in August of 2009.

That would wind up being the final fight of Carano’s career. She has still been linked to UFC and remains under contract, but has yet to reappear in the octagon.

As is the case with Rousey, Carano had other major interests outside of fighting. She played a few small roles in films such as The Expendables and Fast & Furious 6.

Carano became a star outside of UFC, and Rousey has done the same. If her mind isn’t fully enveloped in fighting and beating Nunes, she will be vulnerable to her second straight loss.

Nunes May Just Be the Better Fighter

There’s a reason Nunes is the bantamweight champ. After winning the belt, Nunes insisted that her first title defense fight would have to come against Rousey, who is obviously universally thought of as the best in the game.

Nunes has clearly been gearing up for this matchup, and she is going to get her wish. She will go into this bout feeling that nobody can take her down.

Like Holm, Tate was asked about Nunes’ chances of defending her crown against Rousey (via MMAFighting.com):

“I feel like there’s so many weird variables, it’s really, really hard to say, because who knows what we’re going to get out of Ronda when she comes back.

If we’re getting Ronda at the best that she’s ever been, then I’d say Ronda would win the fight.

But if we’re getting Ronda coming back with a half-ass mentality, kind of like ‘I just feel like I have to do this one time,’ and then she’s got a lot of ring rust and maybe she’s still punch-shy since she hasn’t fought since Holly, and we all saw that obviously Amanda has incredible power with her right hand — so if she hits Ronda with one of those, I could see it being a huge problem for Ronda. A big, big problem.”

Nunes is a sure thing, whereas nobody knows which version of Rousey is going to be in the octagon that night.

Now that Nunes has tasted victory, she is going to be hell-bent on keeping it.

Expect the Unexpected

Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, saw Rousey falling at the hands of Holm when the two faced off against one another in UFC 193 last November.

You never know what can happen in a fight. Some fighters come into a match with an aura of invincibility, only to see it dashed in a moment of unexpected brilliance from the other side. And just like that, their star is diminished.

This will be a fascinating battle between two titans of the sport. Nunes will be seeking the glory that comes with successfully defending a title, while Rousey will be eager to show the world that she isn’t done just yet.

Rousey will still be the odds-on favorite coming into this one, but Nunes cannot be underestimated. If Rousey comes into this one thinking she is once again indestructible, she could go down for the second time in a row.

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