Adam Hill: UFC champ Rousey wins again in less than a minute

Adam Hill The Las Vegas Review-Journal

After a comment by challenger Bethe Correia that Ronda Rousey perceived as a cheap shot at her dead father, the Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight champ promised to make her opponent pay.

Justice was swift but thorough.

“I hope that nobody really brings up my family anymore when it comes to fights,” Rousey said. “I hope this is the last time.”

Rousey knocked out Bethe Correia 34 seconds into the first round to remain undefeated and retain the title in the main event of UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.

Shortly after the fight was announced in May, Correia commented on Twitter that she hoped Rousey wouldn’t kill herself after she lost her belt. Rousey’s father committed suicide when she was a child, and she lashed out at Correia, promising revenge.

Correia said she was unaware of her father’s death when she made the comment and quickly apologized.

Rousey, however, said she would try to prolong the fight to increase the pain inflicted on the challenger.

Instead, she scored yet another quick victory in a fight that was contested almost exclusively on the feet.

Rousey got Correia against the cage in the opening seconds and landed punches until the challenger fell forward and prompted the referee to stop the fight.

“I consider the matter settled,” Rousey said. “I don’t have to think about her again after this day.”

The victory was Rousey’s third straight in less than a minute. Rousey (12-0) beat Alexis Davis in 16 seconds in July 2014 and finished Cat Zingano in 14 seconds in February.

“Even though the last three fights were fast, they were all very different. I know I made some mistakes tonight, so I’ve got stuff to work on,” Rousey said. “I continually strive to get closer and closer to becoming a perfect fighter. I know that’s impossible, but I just want to keep moving toward that goal.”

Rousey has finished 11 of her 12 opponents inside the first round. The only one to survive the first five minutes was Las Vegan Miesha Tate, who made it to the third round in their second round before being submitted.

A third matchup is likely on tap.

Tate earned a victory over Jessica Eye last week to solidify her spot as the top contender with a fourth straight win since she lost to Rousey.

“Miesha’s the No. 1 contender in that weight class. She looked awesome against Jessica Eye,” UFC president Dana White said. “Ronda against Miesha is always going to be fun, I think.”

That’s just fine with the champion.

“She deserves another shot,” Rousey said. “She’s going to get beat again, but beating on Miesha seems to be good for both of our careers.”

Rousey’s star continues to rise. White said the numbers for Saturday’s fight were trending above anything that the UFC has ever done and raved about the celebrities and athletes who were posting on social media about the fight.

He indicated a bout between Rousey and Tate could serve as the co-main event to a featherweight bout between champion Jose Aldo and interim champ Conor McGregor should the UFC book Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on Dec. 5.

“Ronda just gets bigger every time she fights. She’s a superstar, man,” White said. “She’s the most badass woman anybody’s ever seen. People are enthralled with her, and for a reason.

“You don’t see women knock women out like that. She knocked her out. Ronda is an absolute beast, man.”

White said the fact Rousey improves so much each fight is what impresses him the most.

“She came into this sport very green. She gets better every time she fights,” he said. “That’s scary.”

Rousey, who uses the nickname “Rowdy,” dedicated the fight not only to her father but also to former professional wrestler Roddy Piper, who died Friday at age 61.

Rousey said she spent time with Piper before this fight.

“I actually got a chance to sit down and talk to him for a couple of hours,” Rousey said. “We talked for hours, and I promised him I would do the name proud. I told him that. I hope him and my dad had a good time watching it together.”

Also on the card, former light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua won a unanimous decision over Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. Heavyweights Stefan Struve and Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva also picked up victories.