ByBas Rutten, writer at
Official Creators profile of Bas Rutten. Retired MMArtist, entertainer, host for the podcast
Bas Rutten

Hard to believe it, but 2017 is almost a week in, already. I’m in Rome right now, but I wanted to talk about what happened at the last UFC event, , for my weekly blog post.

Let's start with the unbelievable display of striking skills that showed in his fight against . It was almost, well maybe it was, as if he had that fantastic footwork and movement all along, but decided to hold back so he could use it in this fight against Cruz. Maybe this way, Dominick couldn’t prepare for it?

WOW! That's the only thing I can say. Everything—his reflexes, movement, timing, that takedown and how he got that takedown—was beautiful. It was a great display of skill, even throwing high kicks (and they were nice ones) to the body. Also, the way he got inside Cruz’s head was awesome, messing with him, letting him miss, starting to breakdance—I loved it!

Personally—and I know, the first two rounds were close—I could have easily scored it 45-50 for Garbrandt; a complete domination. Maybe the second round could have gone to Cruz…maybe. Garbrandt and is going to be one heck of a fight, and hopefully that’s the one we get to see next.

… what happened to her? Well, loads of pressure on her shoulders is what happened. She could not lose this fight because she knew there was a lot at stake. Why? Not just because of fighting, but acting, as well. She will be less interesting for movies when she loses. I know it's stupid, but it is how the world works, and of course, she knew this coming in. All that together means there was a lot of pressure on her. She had to win this fight!

She came out exactly as she did last time. There was nothing different in her approach, which made her a perfect target because she didn’t use head movement and footwork. It was almost as though she didn’t see the punches coming in from , and therefore had no defense whatsoever.

On top of that, as soon as she got hit, I think her mind went back to the Holm fight, and she completely locked up. Nunes threw a front kick, so Rousey tried one as well, but it had no power on it. In her mind, I think the fight was already over. So, now it was “free shooting” for Nunes and boy did she hit the target over and over again. Then, she started connecting to Ronda’s jaw and it was a wrap. Herb Dean stepped in, saving her from more damage.

So, what’s next for her? I don’t know, but if she decides to fight again, and that’s a big if, she completely needs a new “do over.” What she is doing right now is not working, plus everybody now knows how to beat her.

She needs movement and footwork, defense and counter drills. If she stays with her coach, then he better start working on that right away. If she decides to change camps, I would suggest she look into Duane "Bang" Ludwig’s gym. Training with him and all his students, especially Dillashaw, will get her that footwork. But, it’s going to take a while, a year at least, and maybe even some gym smokers in kickboxing against girls who don’t tell anybody they had a smoker against her—trustworthy people who are unfortunately hard to find these days.

She cannot only train and fight again; she needs some striking matches in between. I say smokers because her contract will not allow her to have a kickboxing fight at a normal event. While in Colorado, why not work on wrestling, as well? Shooting for single and double legs? Absolutely. She is an incredible athlete and will pick it up fast.

What she is going through right now plays itself out mostly in her head, so she needs to get her head straight, and that starts with the whole “angry look” deal—that needs to go. It locks her body up and stops her from flowing and moving fluidly. I want to see a relaxed Rousey walking to the cage, maybe even with a smile on her face. Relaxation is everything in fighting; “calm and relaxed” beats “constant anger” 9 out of 10 times.

So, there is a lot of work to do, but nothing that she can’t handle. She just needs time and a lot of effort. She’s 29 years old and has already had 14 fights. I was 28 when I started MMA, and had no ground experience whatsoever, so she is way ahead of me.

Is it going to be a “sure thing?” I don’t know, but I do know that what she is doing right now isn’t working for her. Surround yourself with happy people, relax and train. Stay away from conflict and stress, because there needs to be “peace and quiet” 24/7. The brain needs to be “rewired,” and you need to flip everything around, otherwise you fall into the same patterns, and that triggers everything back to the old habits.

So, if there are past issues she has with people, make amends, and this also means she shouldn’t “bite” when her next opponent starts talking smack. Smile and relax, feel the love. Start practicing that. I know it’s easier said than done, especially since she has been doing the exact opposite for so long, but it’s not impossible. Go back to the time when she started MMA, and think about how much fun those times were, when everything was new and exciting.

And for the people who reacted with “Oh, it’s not so bad for her, she made at least 3 million dollars,” for you guys that sounds great, but trust me, for an athlete (in the end), it’s not about the money. Sure, it’s nice, but guess what? You can’t take it with you when you die. However, you can leave a legacy behind for people to remember, and that is much more important for an athlete, especially in fighting, because it’s just you in the end, not a whole team.


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