The future of Ronda Rousey remains very much in doubt following her devastating loss to Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, but at least one fellow former champion believes that she shouldn’t call it a career just yet.
“I think she needs to stick to fighting. I said in a tweet that I believe she still beats 90 percent of the division,” Jones told TMZ Sports. “Maybe she’s not going to be the invincible, unbeaten person that people that she was....whether or not she fights again she’s still going to go down as an absolute legend.”
In her first fight since November 2015, Rousey looked overwhelmed in falling to Nunes in 48 seconds on Dec. 30. It was Jones’ Jackson-Wink MMA teammate, Holly Holm, that struck the first blow against the Rousey mystique with a second-round knockout of the Olympic judoka at UFC 193. Still, Jones disputes Nunes’ recent claim that Rousey was overrated during her rise to stardom in the promotion.
“I don’t agree with that. I think the sport is kind of catching up with her talent level. And people are realizing that maybe she’s not as good a striker as she is a ground specialist,” Jones said. “I think Holly Holm laid out a blueprint of how to beat Ronda. And it worked.”
While Jones hasn’t experienced the type of adversity that Rousey has faced inside the cage, he has dealt with a number of issues outside of fighting that have cost him both the undisputed and interim light heavyweight belts. When it comes to fighting, however, Jones is renowned as one of the sport’s most devoted students, and he believes that’s an area where Rousey could improve.
“One thing about martial arts is none of us are invincible,” he said. “I guess the lesson to be learned in Ronda’s situation is to always evolve.”
Rousey didn’t handle the loss to Holm well, and her reaction after the setback to Nunes didn’t appear to be any better. That has many observers believing that “Rowdy” will retire. Jones hopes that isn’t the case.
“It’d be great to see her come back. I know it would be great to see her come back. I think it’d be very important for her legacy to show people her courage and her strength and her resilience,” Jones said.
“I do believe she can regain the belt, and I believe she can beat any of the other girls at any given time.”