The Winner Is ... Holly Holm! And The UFC.

 Who's nek?

Who's nek?

Floyd Mayweather is arguably the easiest person to dislike in the sporting world. His antics, his boxing style and his general existence irks people, people who just love/need to hate someone. Mayweather and Ronda Rousey have gone back and forth for a few years now firing barbs at each other yet despite their perceived differences, Rousey's loss to Holly Holm in Melbourne gave Rousey a taste of what it's like to be Mr Money.

Following the loss, Rousey received a staggering amount of hatred/criticism from all walks of life whether keyboard warriors or other athletes ... or Donald Trump the lunatic.  Rousey is partly to blame for this as she didn't endear herself to fans by getting up in Holm's grill at the weigh-in and then refusing to touch gloves before the fight but it felt like people were just happy to see Rousey lose. 

Which is the same reason why we watch Mayweather fight. Well you might enjoy Mayweather's expert boxing craft, most people pay money for the chance that he might lose. Rousey and Mayweather share a polarizing factor that very few people, let alone athletes possess and the UFC can now add Rousey to a list that is headed by Irishman Connor McGregor.

Rousey's six month injury suspension will push back the date of a rematch with Holm, which one could argue will halt any momentum gained by this result. Alternatively a rematch could be the sort of 'long awaited return' of Rousey that builds hype and now that fans know that Rousey is human after all, the desire to see her lose combined with those who want to see her bounce back should ensure a rematch that will have the UFC laughing all the way to the bank.

In the meantime, the UFC has a new champion in Holm. A fresh face who is perhaps more likeable than Rousey and someone who has a different skillset to Rousey's as Holm is more comfortable mixing punches and kicks than she is shooting for a takedown. We will now get to watch a female champ who's signature is knocking her opponent out; who's gonna argue with that?

With a new ladies bantamweight champion and the emergence of strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk - who fought off a stern challenge from Valerie Letourneau in Melbourne - the UFC now has building interest in both its female divisions. The progression is impossible to ignore as we have seen ladies fights go from clearly lacking the skill and excitement of the male fights, to having a bonafide trail-blazing champ in Rousey who made mince meat of a weak but improving ladies division to now having a new bantamweight champ and a rather personable strawweight champ.

Sure, the huge cross-market profile of Rousey was a big drawcard for the UFC but now they have the prospect of a rematch on top of two interesting female champions.

All this has come a few weeks before the much-hyped Jose Aldo vs Connor McGregor fight (which I'll explore in greater depth closer to the fight). People are intrigued by McGregor not only because he talks a big game and thus making him easily hate-able but he has also backed this up in the octagon with exciting fights which usually end how McGregor predicted they would end. 

There are whole bunch of upcoming fights which will have UFC fans salivating, but McGregor and Rousey exist on a different stratosphere. They exist in the same realm as Mayweather where people who have little interest in the UFC pay attention because they have heard McGregor talk shit or have seen Rousey in a movie. 

Rousey's loss to Holm rocked the sporting world and gave the UFC crazy amounts of publicity. When you consider that this was the first time the UFC had held an event in Melbourne, it was a raging success. We now wait to see what McGregor and Aldo dish up next month safe in the knowledge that regardless of the result, the UFC and its less-celebrated/known fighters will be the real winners.