By Julie Buehler

Depending on whether you move your mouth when you read or not, it may have taken you longer to read this sentence than it took Ronda Rousey to defend her bantamweight title in UFC 175.
16 seconds.

The only thing that goes faster is the process of compiling a list of athletes as dominant in their respective sport as Rousey is in women’s MMA.


There was Jordan and the Bulls in his prime.

Tiger Woods owning the PGA Tour.

Roger Federer proving power and grace could coexist and sufficiently humiliate opposition.

Great athletes in previous eras were dominant in competition, but didn’t face the same level of scrutiny, pressure and swirling limelight.

But Rousey is in a class of athlete and in rarified company not only because she is a dominant physical presence and undefeated in professional fighting, but she’s also a pioneer in a sport that failed to capture mainstream attention until she came along.

She’s had to be the most polarizing character, the biggest target, the loudest mouth and the most talented athlete the sport has ever seen. Her history in Olympic judo is one that most fans neglect to correlate to her current success, but without that background, she couldn’t fill all the roles she currently does.

She’s had to be as interesting as Magic and Bird yet add the marketing impact of Jordan.

She’s had to be the steady hand of Jack and Arnold, yet be as dominant as Tiger.

She’s had to lay the foundation to build a sport’s popularity like Becker and McEnroe and Sampras and Agassi, but then send a wrecking ball through any opposition time and time again like Federer.
And she’s had to do so in a sports climate that questions dominance.

After Rousey dismantled Alexis Davis in 16 seconds, Dana White, UFC’s CEO- that is Chief Exaggeration Officer- had his feet firmly planted on the ground when he said Rousey was “pound for pound the best athlete in the world,” and “the most unique athlete I’ve ever worked with.” He went on to gush about her importance not just to UFC but women in general, even called her a “game changer” for women sports and beyond.

“She could walk down the Vegas Strip and wreck every guy,” White said in the post-fight press conference. “There’s never been a woman in the history of mankind that can do that.”

And while critics may point out much of White’s histrionics are salesmanship, these comments about Rousey are closer to truth than hyperbole.

While women are becoming more vocal and more widely accepted in all circles, so-called male-dominated and others, the first thing you hear about a woman crossing into new territory in sports is how attractive she is, or is not.

Mainstream female athletes need to be ridiculously dominant or pretty. And sadly, we’re still at a place where if a mediocre female athlete is pretty, she tends to procure more attention than her more competitive counterparts because of her looks.

Women’s golf, tennis are faced with that dilemma regularly with the likes of Natalie Gulbis and Anna Kournikova racking up more swimsuit calendar shoots than calendar dates for tour victories.
But Rousey is a game changer, not because she is pretty, but because it doesn’t matter anymore.

Sure, when she was plastered on the cover of ESPN The Body Issue, fully nude and showcased her 6-pack, that made everyone take notice. But she quickly displayed her value and worth is unquestionably her work ethic, determination and fierce competitiveness. People love staring at a Ferrari, but what makes it special is hearing the engine purr. And while Rousey is certainly pretty, she’s proving her value is far beyond such subjective frivolities and THAT’s what is a game changer.

People wonder why aren’t there more women to fight Rousey.

Do people wonder why there aren’t enough golfers that could dethrone Tiger? Anyone question where the contemporary to Federer was? Or why no one could stop Jordan?

Make no mistake, Rousey would be dominant in any era, sport or field because her intensity and dedication, not because there’s no competition.

Women’s MMA is still breaking through to the mainstream consciousness and while it does that, the most important contribution Rousey can offer is her ability to work through the pettiness of swirling questions and continue her dominance of the sport.

Just like Tiger always had to do. Just like Federer learned to conquer.

In short, Rousey just needs to be like Mike.

Julie Buehler hosts the Coachella Valley’s most popular sports talk radio show, “Buehler’s Day Off” every day from 3-6 on 1010 KXPS, the valley’s all sports station. She can also be seen every morning between 6-7am on KMIR sharing the coolest stories in sports. She’s an avid gym rat, slightly sarcastic and more likely to recite Steve Young’s career passing stats than American Idol winners. Tune in M-F 3-6 pst at or watch “Buehler’s Day Off” on Ustream and for her sports reports.