Ronda Rousey’s Saturday night submission victory over Sarah Kaufman lasted just 54 seconds, but the Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion says she was in no hurry to seal the deal.
The former Olympic judo bronze medalist applied one of her trademark armbars on Kaufman less than 30 seconds into their titular headliner at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, Calif., and soon after added the former champion to her list of first-round victims.
“It’s cool how I’ve had to change all my habits from judo,” Rousey (Pictured, file photo) told Showtime Sports after her win. “In judo, I have a tendency to rush, because I only have a few seconds to [submit my opponent before the bout is restarted standing]. This time, I got [the armbar], and I was like, ‘Take your time.’” While the submission itself played out methodically, the lead-up to the finish proved tense from the start, as Rousey immediately jabbed her way inside before launching a right hook that occupied Kaufman’s attention while she further closed the gap. Once in the clinch, Rousey failed with a head-and-arm throw but moments later hit a smooth foot sweep that planted Kaufman on her posterior in a sequence that would serve as the beginning of the end for the former champion.
Rousey instantly stepped into mount as Kaufman attempted in vain to regain a seated position. The British Columbia native then tried to roll for an escape, but Rousey quickly snatched the Canadian’s right appendage and dived for her signature armbar, hooking the crook of Kaufman’s knee and flopping her over onto her back. Kaufman appeared well-prepared to defend the submission, however, keeping her arm bolted to her chest and holding on for all she was worth as Rousey slowly began to pry apart her grip. Kaufman continually rolled with the pressure and rotated her shoulder, lasting nearly 30 seconds before Rousey finally ripped apart her hands and finished the hold, forcing Kaufman to tap less than one minute into the hyped championship affair.
“I thought that if I went for it too early that I might lose my position,” said Rousey of the finish. “I feel like I’m developing more as a mixed martial artist that I was able to change my position until I was happy with where I was before I went for it. I feel mature now with this win. I’m more relaxed, and I’m not [rushing] like in my earlier fights.”
Prior to tonight’s contest, Rousey notably supplemented her preparation by spending time with Team Cesar Gracie, a decision she says paid both physical and mental dividends.
“They did a lot in keeping me from plateauing. I feel like changing your environment is really important, in moderation, and they were great,” Rousey said. “They helped me stay motivated and helped me to still enjoy what I’m doing. I think Mike Tyson said that a happy fighter is a dangerous fighter. They were really good about teaching me a whole lot of new things but also making sure that I was enjoying the journey.”