When discussing the quickest UFC submissions, it’s hard not to steer the conversation directly toward armbar queen Ronda Rousey.
While Oleg Taktarov technically owns the record for the fastest submission in promotion history with his nine-second guillotine choke tapout of Anthony Macias at UFC 6, Rousey, who is tied with two others for the second-quickest mark, authored an arguably more memorable moment at UFC 184.
Keep in mind that Taktarov’s submission occurred in the UFC’s Dark Ages, when the sport was a curiosity to many and an abomination to others. Back then, the mere notion of women competing at that level would have been quickly dismissed. By the time UFC 184 arrived on Feb. 28, 2015, Rousey was well on her way to becoming the promotion’s biggest crossover star.
Prior to facing Cat Zingano in the UFC 184 headliner, Rousey had dispatched all but one of her previous 10 opponents inside of a round and was coming off a 16-second bludgeoning of Alexis Davis at UFC 175. Up until that point, her fastest submission finish was 25 seconds, a feat she accomplished both against Ediane Gomes at King of the Cage “Turning Point” and against Sarah D’Alelio at Strikeforce Challengers 18.
That all changed against Zingano, who was unbeaten in nine bouts with UFC wins over Amanda Nunes and Miesha Tate heading into the matchup with Rousey. Moments after the opening bell sounded, Zingano inexplicably rushed across the cage and launched herself at the Olympic judoka with an ill-conceived flying knee. From there, Zingano attempted to toss Rousey to the canvas only to see her opponent scramble to her back and trap Zingano’s right arm. “Rowdy” only needed to crank on the hold for a few seconds before Zingano asked for mercy.
With that, Rousey joined Justin Martin (UFC 12) and Joe Charles (UFC 4) in a three-way tie for second-fastest submission in UFC history. More importantly, the social-media friendly finish helped to raise Rousey’s profile even more.
Rousey came into the fight anticipating a quick start from her opponent.
“I thought that because she’d been hearing so much about being a slow starter during the media buildup,” Rousey said during the post-fight press conference. “I thought it was very possible she’d try to do the exact opposite of that. I studied my own footage a lot and thought that nobody’s came at me right away before.
“So one of the possibilities I was thinking could come up was that she would come at me straight away. I didn’t plan exactly how it went down, but I was expecting that it could happen.”
No one could have expected that Zingano’s aggression would lead to Rousey securing one of the quickest UFC submissions, but the champion’s blend of skill and intuition earned her a well-deserved spot in the record books.