Let’s face it, there are no credible challengers for Ronda Rousey. ‘The Rowdy One’ has cleaned out her division like few fighters ever have in the history of mixed martial arts. With Rousey dominating the octagon, hitting the big screen and publishing her own book, there has become more and more media presence around the bombshell. The added attention has been amazing for women’s MMA and has crowds of people speculating if Rousey could top her male counterparts.
The speculation culminated with a war of words between undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and UFC President Dana White. Both sides took shots at one another over who would walk out of the ring with their perfect record still intact between Rousey and ‘Money.’
Rousey has openly said that she will never enter the octagon to fight a male, saying that she does not support a man hitting a woman in any situation.
That has not stopped the MMA world from discussing the fighters she could top. There is no doubt that Rousey is the most dominant fighter in the history of women’s MMA, but facing off against men is a completely different beast. Ronda has never faced a competitor with the size and strength of many male fighters within the UFC. Add to that the lack of depth in the women’s Bantamweight division and Rousey would be fighting an uphill battle.
However, let’s speculate some more. These are the male fighters that Ronda Rousey could square-off against and would win.
15 Danny Martinez (Flyweight, 17-7)
Danny Martinez started his career off very well, but has not had the same level of success since dropping to Flyweight. You can tell that ‘The Gremlin’ has not especially adjusted well to the weight drop as he is 4-4, and 0-3 in the UFC, since moving to 125 lbs.
Martinez primarily relies on his wrestling to win fights, but since dropping he has not been able to maintain the strength he once had to contain fights on the ground and pound his way to a victory.
Do I think Martinez could take Rousey down? Not really. But if he does, he has shown to be zapped of energy and it would not take Rousey long to get the fight to the feet and takeout Martinez.
14 Ryan Benoit (Flyweight, 8-3)
The most intriguing aspect of Ryan Benoit’s gameplan is about his weight. When he cuts down to Flyweight, the Muay Thai fighter is losing the strength he has built his MMA career on. Benoit is officially listed as a Flyweight though, so that’s where he sits for our purposes.
Benoit could very well be 0-2 in the UFC, if it was not for a huge hook that put Sergio Pettis down in his last fight.
Rousey would need to watch out for Benoit’s power and strength. It would not be easy to take ‘Baby Face’ to the ground, so staying in tight and waiting for the right opportunity to use her extensive judo moves would be critical.
13 Chico Camus (Flyweight, 14-6)
A fighter that fights in multiple weightclasses, Chico Camus does not have the same power as the previously mentioned Ryan Benoit.
Camus is a solid and experienced all-around fighter, but the biggest knock against him is his inability to end fights. In his 20 career fights, 11 have gone to the judge’s scorecard including 50 percent of his victories.
A fighter needs a killer instinct if they have any hope in the octagon with Rousey and Camus is sorely lacking in that department. Without the size of strength to suffocate Ronda, there would be little hope for Camus.
12 Willie Gates (Flyweight, 11-5)
Willie Gates is a run-of-the-mill fighter. Nothing he does is extremely stunning, but he does sport a solid all-around game. Gates’ gameplan has frequently shown a dependence on the ground game, especially submissions.
When he manages to get top position on the ground, he is aggressive and is always looking for the finish, but his submission defense has been spotty with three losses coming via sub.
Rousey could take this fight as long as she would be able to stay patient with Gates and allow him to get himself in a bad position by being overly aggressive. Though Gates has been known to give up his neck, he has lost via armlock once, which plays into Rousey’s hand.
11 Scott Jorgensen (Flyweight, 15-10)
Scott Jorgensen does offer a wrestling ability that a fighter could use to smother Rousey into a victory. Jorgensen has been wrestling since he was five and was an All-PAC 10 champion at Boise State.
Jorgensen has one massive hole in his ground game though and it’s submission defense. In three of his past five losses, Jorgensen ended up tapping. Four of his 10 career losses have came by way of sub as well.
Jorgensen would likely be able to take down Rousey, but once he was there he would be a fish out of water. Rousey would be able to squirm her way into a submission with Jorgensen’s deficiencies in that area.
10 Brad Pickett (Flyweight, 25-10)
Brad Pickett has been around the MMA scene for over a decade now, with fights spanning the globe. Pickett grew up in a boxing ring, not surprising considering he grew up in London, which has permeated into his MMA game.
A blind look at his record implies that ‘One Punch’ has a strong submission game, but most of those have come against subpar competition. Pickett has only registered one sub win since joining the UFC in 2011.
As long as Rousey could get this fight to the ground, which is likely with her judo game, there should not be much resistance from Pickett.
9 Jon Delos Reyes (Flyweight, 8-4)
Let’s be blunt, Reyes has not shown much since joining the UFC. Reyes has had three fights in the octagon and two have seen the Guam-born fighter get finished in the first round.
A black belt in Sanshou (Chinese kickboxing) alludes to Reyes processing a solid stand-up game, but he has yet to have the time to show it.
Honestly, this may be the easiest fight Rousey would face from a male fighter. Reyes has a glass-chin, little ground defense and looks overwhelmed in the UFC.
8 Henry Cejudo (Flyweight, 9-0)
The hype around Henry Cejudo is on the brink of completely exploding. The first fighter to win an Olympic gold medal and enter the octagon is still new to the sport, but has been cruising to victories.
However, I have not been very impressed with Cejudo so far. Though undefeated, Cejudo has slowly grinded out his three wins in the UFC. He has used his wrestling ability to suffocate fighters en-route to decision victories, but has shown no killer instinct.
Rousey would actually be better off being aggressive in this fight, instead of her usual counter-attacking offense. Though that does steer away from her strength, judo, Cejudo has yet to be behind in any of his career fights, which would give ‘The Rowdy One’ a mental edge.
7 Thomas Almeida (Bantamweight, 19-0)
Thomas Almedia hits like a Mac truck. The undefeated fighter grew up in a boxing ring and that has certainly come across within the octagon.
Despite all the boxing experience, Almedia is still relatively new when it comes to the world of MMA. He is a one-dimensional brawler that has managed to get taken down fairly easily, where he is a fish out of water.
Assuming that Rousey could avoid the heavy hands of Almedia, a takedown would not be too difficult for Ronda. Once to the ground, the fight would be elementary.
6 Bryan Caraway (Bantamweight, 19-8)
This is the first fight that could carry some real storylines. Caraway is dating Meisha Tate, who is the only fighter to last longer than the first round against Rousey. Ronda has also openly called Caraway a ‘douche’ in her recently released book.
Caraway has a very strong submission game, which would negate Rousey’s biggest strength. However, ‘Kid Lightning’ looks tentative and worried when he is forced to stand on his feet.
As long as Rousey could get past the long jab of Caraway, Rousey could take this fight.
5 Manny Gamburyan (Bantamweight, 17-9)
This would be the most intriguing fight possible for Rousey. Manny Gamburyan has been training with Ronda for years and they are extremely close friends. IF all of these fights are unlikely, this one is next to impossible.
There is no male fighter in the world that understands Rousey like Gamburyan. He surely would be able to think like his opponent and would pose the biggest risk with the mental game of MMA.
The advantages that Gamburyan has over other male fighters are obliterated when you consider Rousey has sparred with him for years. Rousey’s mental game is stronger than almost anyone in the UFC, which could be a killer for Gamburyan.
4 Cody Gibson (Bantamweight, 12-6)
Don’t let his number of fights fool you, Cody Gibson is fairly inexperienced. He has fought an awful lot, but it was almost entirely within small promotions in California. Gibson made it through his career to this point based on God-given natural talent and minimal training.
To add to Gibson’s relative inexperience in a big fight atmosphere, he has struggled immensely defending submissions. Three of his losses have come by way of tapout.
Gibson simply does not have the experience to defend against a fighter of Rousey’s caliber and it’s hard to see anything but a first round sub.
3 Takeya Mizugaki (Bantamweight, 20-9-2)
Takeya Mizugaki is a grinder. He uses he long reach and outpoints his opponents, with very little finishing ability. Of Mizugaki’s 31 career fights, 19 have gone to the judge’s scorecard with only six of his wins coming by stoppage.
Mizugaki has a length advantage when he fights within his own weightclass, so Rousey would have very little chance to stand up with him. Step one would be to get within his reach and get Mizugaki to the ground.
2 Joe Soto (Bantamweight, 15-4)
There is no doubt that Joe Soto did not deserve the Bantamweight title bout he received at the eleventh hour against T.J. Dillashaw. However, after lasting longer than expected against Dillashaw, Soto got dismantled by Anthony Birchak.
Soto is an above average wrestler with some Brazilian-Ju-Jitsu moves, but has not shown much depth in his brief UFC career.
Rousey should be able to pick apart a fighter who has appeared to have his confidence shaken after being rushed to the top too quickly.
1 Clay Guida (Featherweight, 32-12)
Everyone remembers Clay Guida’s fights when they were spectacular slugfests, but that was some time ago. Guida has adjusted his style to a safer, and frankly more boring, style. Despite these changes, ‘The Carpenter’ has not addressed his weaknesses in any great manner.
Eight of Guida’s 15 losses have come by way of submission.
We know that Rousey would push the action, which could cause Guida to fire back into the blind brawling he used to bring to the octagon. Any blind attacks would present an opportunity for Rousey to get the fight to the ground and making Guida tap.