Could Pennington Take Rousey?

December 2, 2023
3 months

Seen by many as the top bantamweight in the UFC right now, Raquel Pennington is set to fight for the vacant bantamweight championship against Mayra Bueno Silva at UFC 297. Whenever the division is brought up, it’s hard not to consider Ronda Rousey and whether she’d give the contemporary fighters competition.

Pennington’s Winning Streak

Raquel Pennington wasn’t anywhere near title contention a few years ago. Her record was as bad as 10-8 when she lost to Holly Holm at UFC 246, and concerns were raised as to whether she could continue at this level. Fast forward to the present day, and she’s won five on the bounce to make her the #2 ranked bantamweight in the UFC division. Given that Amanda Nunes retired from the sport as the champion, it forced Dana White and company to vacate the belt. Given Pennington is on this tremendous run, it’s only fitting that she takes her spot in this title bout.

Will Pennington Capture Rousey’s Old Belt?

As previously mentioned, Raquel Pennington is set to fight Mayra Bueno Silva at UFC 297 for the vacant bantamweight title. If she does that, she will hold the same title that Rousey captured and defended six times. The precaution is that she doesn’t emulate Rousey in a less fortunate manner. She, too, could be gazing up at the roof of the arena while a Brazilian celebrates the win.

How Would Pennington and Rousey Throw Down?

Raquel Pennington, for the most part, has relied on her exceptional cardio gas tank and defensive actions to keep in fights and win decision victories. 10 of her 15 wins have come via that method, while the others are made up of four submissions and a single KO win.

Rousey would offer a completely contrasting fight plan as none of her MMA fights have gone the distance. All 12 of her pro fights ended early as she made nine of her opponents tap out, knocking another three out and of course, she was KO’d twice in her two career losses.

This clash of styles would make for an exceptionally entertaining bout as the two women would approach the match in different manners. Rousey would be angling for the finish from the opening bell, potentially leaving herself exposed to opposition attacks. Pennington would look to capitalize on the openings, albeit cautiously, due to her more defensive style.

Did Rousey Leave MMA Too Soon?

Holly Holm most certainly rocked Ronda Rousey, while Amanda Nunes changed her entire career. At 12-2, the Baddest Woman on the Planet decided that she didn’t want her record to slip any further and took herself out of MMA at the age of 29. She’d already worked with WWE before her MMA retirement but then went head-first into the sports entertainment trade.

She’s now officially sat seven years out from the cage, and the sport has missed her. She and Conor McGregor carried MMA as it thoroughly entered the mainstream during their respective heydays. Whether it was her exceptional overhand rights or trash-talking skills, she made the UFC a better product.

Cynical MMA news websites and pundits point out that a lot has changed between 2016 and now across the wider MMA landscape, especially in the competition within women’s MMA. The fact that Rousey has sat outside of the sport puts multiple asterisks next to her name and resume.  If she were to come back and fight, say, a Raquel Pennington or Mayra Bueno Silva, it would vindicate that she wasn’t simply good for her time and backed down when the competition got tough.

Ronda Rousey’s Future Unclear

After losing to Amanda Nunes in 48 seconds in a fight that made breaking MMA news at the time, Ronda Rousey hasn’t been seen in an MMA cage. That was back in 2016, and since then, she has been working on and off with the WWE before leaving the company in the summer of 2023. After that, she decided to work with Ring of Honor, another professional wrestling promotion, despite speculation that she would join AEW. Dana White has been vocal in the build-up to UFC 300 that it will feature some fan favorites, hinting that Rousey and/or Brock Lesnar could fight on the card. If either of those do come back, it would be a media frenzy for MMA news sites, that’s for sure.

Could This Fight Have Ever Taken Place?

When Raquel Pennington was starting in the UFC, she appeared in the Ultimate Fighter competition. This wasn’t any old edition of The Ultimate Fighter though; this was the edition where the team captains and coaches were none other than Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. Pennington was on Tate’s team and defeated Jessica Rakoczy.

After that, the two never truly crossed paths despite Pennington being signed to the UFC throughout the rest of Rousey’s time in the company. This was largely down to the fact that Pennington would lose a lot of her earlier fights while Rousey was ascending the rankings at great velocity.

As far as the future goes for this fight ever taking place, a lot will depend on whether Rousey wants to fight in MMA again. If Pennington wins the championship at UFC 297, it wouldn’t be completely unthinkable to consider her defending the title against Rousey on the fabled UFC 300 card. Of course, Pennington could take up pro wrestling, and the pair could meet in the squared circle instead.

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