ByJustin Golightly, writer at
Design wizard. MMA mathematician. Formerly of Middle Easy, Justin Golightly has been featured on Bleacher Report, Uproxx and TMZ.
Justin Golightly

Firas Zahabi is the wizard behind the curtain of fighters like Rory MacDonald, Kenny Florian, and Georges St-Pierre. If the best of the best aren't already training at his Tristar gym, they are stopping in to level up. Point is, Zahabi knows what he's talking about and he actually says people need to lay off Ronda Rousey's coach Edmond Tarverdyan and his preparation that led to her UFC 207 performance.

"I don’t believe he’s incompetent. I think he’s a legitimate striker. I’ve seen his fight videos, I’ve seen him standing up," Zahabi said to Bloody Elbow. "Is his approach to training stand up good for Ronda? I would say it’s not."

"Why isn’t Askren’s striking like Anthony Pettis? Is it Duke Roufus’ fault? No it is not," Zahabi said. "The reason why a Ben Askren or a Ronda Rousey’s striking usually — not always — doesn’t hit that high level, is because they’ve spent so much time wiring their brain and their body and their nervous system to fight in one particular way. It’s opportunity cost. Every time you do one thing, you’re costing yourself in another."

This is a great take that perhaps hasn't been addressed yet. Rousey's mind is hardwired for judo. She tossed people on their heads competitively for over a decade after starting at just 11 years old. She's only been been fighting in MMA for 6 years. Even training for that long, it's difficult to leap over that skill gap.

Add 's skill gap with a coach that may be less than desirable, and you get a result like . It didn't help matters that Rousey faceplant KOd Bethe Correia. Now, Correia isn't exactly Laila Ali (or for that matter), but knocking her out gave Rousey the same supreme confidence in her striking as she had in her grappling.

"I think Ronda has got power. What Ronda doesn’t have, is fluidity, a technical speed. She doesn’t have a smooth coordination. She’s very jittery," Zahabi said. "Is it Edmond’s fault? I don’t think it is. But I think there are coaches out there that can do a much better job than what Edmond did."

Alright, time to hit the mitts.


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