Maybe, if the stars and planets perfectly align, somewhere down the road Ronda Rousey will get into a ring with Mayweather, the undefeated pound-for-pound world boxing champ who limped to victory in a past-their-primes cash grab with Manny Pacquiao earlier this year. After all, despite winning what could have been the defining bout of his career, it was Rousey who took home the ESPY for best fighter as she openly wondered how the man often accused of domestic violence felt about getting "beat by a woman for once." Imagine the pay-per-view haul that fight would generate.
Rousey, the 28-year-old UFC bantamweight champion, improved to a perfect 12–0 over the weekend when she knocked out Bethe Correia in Brazil — in just 34 seconds. Rousey, who has crossed over to become a mainstream sports celebrity with movie cameos, magazine spreads, and a biopic she'll star in herself (because who else could?), is recognized as one of the dominant fighters on the planet right now. Her standing atop a weak heap when boxing is struggling and MMA is perpetually trying to carve out its place in the sports landscape is not limited by gender.
This weekend she won in 34 seconds by knockout, even though she was hoping to drag the fight on and punish her trash-talking opponent. In her previous fight, Rousey got Cat Zingano to tap out in a record 14 seconds using her patented arm bar. All but one of Rousey's pro fights have ended in the first round, and her last three lasted less than two minutes — combined. All but three of her fights have ended in less than a minute, sparking the same kind of jokes that Mike Tyson's quick fights used to draw.
Why pay to see fights that don't last much longer than a TV commercial?
Tyson made a career out of knocking guys out early and often. He had swagger and attitude. He could tear a man down piece by piece with a style so ferocious that few recognized its beauty. In his prime, Tyson was a superstar who carried the entire sport of boxing. He was legendary. You can make an argument that since he left the ring a decade ago, boxing hasn't been the same, and unless Mayweather actually swings at Pacquiao in a rematch, the sport will continue to lack any buzz or star power. Boxing is a sport that relies on the Big Event, and there is a dearth of them on the horizon right now.
Even though it's not exactly the same sport, Rousey represents everything that boxing is missing. What she's doing in the octagon is reminiscent of how Iron Mike (who is actually a big fan of hers) powered an entire sport. But she's also someone we can celebrate outside the ring. She isn't scared to take a punch, make a joke, or speak-out candidly against performance-enhancing drug users. She's everything the fight game needs just when it needs it the most. Now if we can just get her and Mayweather in the ring together.