We’ve already established that nobody’s going to be beating Rousey for a long time. So, what’s a girl like Sarah Kaufman to do?
Well, she can’t simply quit, can she? She’s not realistically going to go up or down a weight class, and Strikeforce is only really promoting the 135-lb. weight class (AKA “Whatever Ronda’s Currently Fighting At”, harkening back to the days when the Strikeforce women’s division consisted of Gina Carano and Whoever She’s About To Fight), anyway. She’s in the highest-profile organization for the women’s side of the sport, and as such will understandably have no inclination to leave, whether or not there’s a glass ceiling for her and every other Strikeforce fighter not named “Rousey”.
You may have been surprised to hear that she wants another go at Rousey in the future, and that she thinks she can beat her next time. I suppose I was too, at first. That’s because I momentarily forgot the necessary mindset of a high-level MMA fighter, which never allows such a person to consider that they will never (again, in the case of Kaufman) realistically reach the position of being the best in the world.
Of course Kaufman thinks she could beat Rousey. If she didn’t, what the hell would she do? Resign herself to fighting…whoever while hoping Rousey retires all of a sudden/changes weight classes/gets bored with beating women up on television?
One thing that a lot of fans don’t get right away when they first start following the sport is that just about everyone thinks they’re a future world champion. Not just everyone on Zuffa’s payroll, either. I know a local fighter with a record far below .500 who still insists that one day he will “shock the world”, for instance. I don’t hold it against him or point out the apparent flaws in his plan, because I get it. If you don’t have the mindset that you can beat everybody that you face, what the hell are you doing in the cage?
I’m free from the kind of confidence, bordering on self-delusion, that helps enable grown men and women to do battle against other highly-dangerous individuals in front of crowds of onlookers. As an ideally objective observer (your interpretation of that may vary based upon how likely you are to defend every dumb thing that a Diaz brother does), it’s my job to point out that yeah, Kaufman won’t be beating Rousey even if she is granted another opportunity to do so. Realistically, she is pretty much stuck unless Rousey moves up in weight or the UFC adopts their own division, leaving Kaufman and the others to fight for the scraps in Strikeforce.
Don’t tell Kaufman that, though. If you do, don’t expect her to listen. If she did, she wouldn’t be in any mental condition to be fighting professionally. Yeah, Kaufman is pretty much screwed for the time being, but so is everyone else in the division.
–As longtime readers should have suspected, I was not overly impressed with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza’s win over Derek Brunson. Hey, you’re Jacare and he’s Derek fucking Brunson; that’s what was supposed to happen. Of course Jacare’s hands are getting better- he’s a good athlete and has been working on his standup for years now. Brunson was not a real test, though. And no, I’m not some kind of Jacare hater (if they even exist). I had him ranked a lot longer than anybody else did. On the contrary, because I know how good he is, I expected him to destroy Brunson one way or the other.
–I love how even Dana White, who once bristled at the mere mention of women’s MMA, was impressed with the bout between Miesha Tate and Julie Kedzie. Many wondered whether my assertion that no one right now can challenge Rousey means that women’s MMA is going to be irrelevant. Quite the opposite; even without a belt attached, bouts like Tate-Kedzie will continue to matter and convert skeptics into women’s MMA fans.
Movin’ On Up Award
Two fighters may have moved into title contention with their wins on the main card Saturday night- Jacare and Tarec Saffiedine. However, Jacare takes this because his win was much more indicative of the kind of dominance that forces a promoter to give someone a title shot. Saffiedine’s performance, while clearly that of someone who deserved to win, wasn’t dominant enough to force Strikeforce to make him the next challenger to Nate Marquardt’s throne.
Beautiful Loser Award
Julie Kedzie won the first round against Miesha Tate and contributed her share of memorable moments to what was one of the best women’s MMA fights in recent years. She may have lost twice in a row now, but she hopefully cemented her place on the Strikeforce roster with her performance. With Tate saying she is going to take some time off, Strikeforce will need a recognizable, talented fighter like Kedzie to help fill their cards.
Adventures in Refereeing
Mike Beltran isn’t an awful ref, but he doesn’t exactly endear himself to me by constantly jabbering at fighters to “work”, either. Furthermore, I have to agree (yeah, I know, I don’t like saying it, either) with the Strikeforce announcing team that it’s bad form for a ref to constantly hound a fighter who was just fouled with a low blow about whether or not he’s ready to fight.
The entire lifestyle these fighters live is conducive to not admitting your hurt and fighting through pain and injury. Of course if you badger a guy several times within one minute about whether he’s ready to fight after a low blow, he’s going to say yes. Tell him he can tell you when he’s ready, inform him regularly of how much time has passed (since he gets five minutes, maximum), and leave it at that. Also, Beltran is worth mentioning here because he was separated at birth from Moose from the “Moostache” children’s books.
Holy $#!% Award
Usually, this goes to a sudden knockout or a nifty submission, but in this case, I think it’s appropriate to break the mold. The biggest “Holy Shit!” moment for me occurred when Rousey effortlessly took down Kaufman, moved into mount, and went for an armbar all in a moment’s time. That’s when I realized that a) this is just going to keep happening, as crazy as it seems and b) that everything I suspected about Rousey being ridiculously better than her competition was true.