She adds 'quitter' to her resume if she leaves now.
She doesn't owe anyone anything.
Ronda Rousey took the UFC by storm five years ago, forcing the organization to take notice of her dominance. A dominance that declared she was here to stay.
When Holly Holm defeated Rousey via KO (head kick) in 2016, she lost that aura of invincibility. The woman thought by so many to be unbeatable was suddenly vulnerable. It was actually refreshing to know that this seemingly unstoppable person was just like everyone else in losing: sad, angry, disappointed and hurt.
Not done. Not defeated.
And now, three months removed from her last fight -- a loss to Amanda Nunes -- the woman most know as resilient and irrepressible, is on the edge of leaving the sport.
Aside from disappointing the fans who've been loyal to her since she earned a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics and followed her through her stint in Strikeforce and establishing her status as a worldwide powerhouse, Rousey retiring early would be the ultimate display of poor sportsmanship. It simply sends a bad message to her followers, and more important, to the countless young women who admired her and found her story to be an inspiration.
This is bigger than UFC. This is bigger than just winning and losing. It's the principle that women have had to dig deeper and fight harder.
She's not the first person to lose. She's not even the first person to consider retirement after suffering a setback. Let's face it: No one can subject their body to that sort of intense physical work, day in, day out, for their entire life. At some point, it has to come to an end.
However, this isn't retirement because she has nothing left to give the sport or her fans. This is quitting.
And Rousey herself has proved time and time again, a defeatist attitude is an adversary. It doesn't belong in the Octagon. And in this case, it doesn't belong outside of it either. Not when there are so many people counting on her.
Ronda Rousey was knocked out the last two times she has been in the Octagon, but that does not erase the years of blood, sweat, and tears she put into building UFC's women's division.
And let's be clear: Women wouldn't be fighting in the UFC without Rousey, and that's not hyperbole.
She pushed for women to be included in the MMA conversation, and then went on to become one of the sport's brightest stars.
But, unlike many of her former opponents -- Miesha Tate, Bethe Correia, Cat Zingano and Alexis Davis, who have all retired or faded in the bantamweight rankings -- Rousey kept fighting the good fight and did so for quite some time. We must applaud Rousey for her countless acts of tenacity and dedication.
However, perhaps the greatest symbol of Rousey's contribution to the sport is the fact that she's gotten beat in the first place. Her defeats helped MMA evolve. There is now more depth in the bantamweight division than ever before.
There is an element of tragedy associated with Rousey's possible retirement. She'll go out on a loss, which might be disappointing to her, and to UFC. And yes, I see the allure in her returning. If Rousey hypothetically puts a couple of wins under her belt and challenges Nunes for the UFC Women's bantamweight title, we'd all be entertained.
But, what will a return actually do for Rousey? She has been there and done it all, already. Of course, the drama would be compelling. But if she doesn't want to do that, she shouldn't have to.
To retire is her decision and that's not up for debate. The women fighting for UFC have the opportunity to do so because Rousey helped make it possible.
As long as women fight for that promotion, her legacy endures, even if she's not in the Octagon to defend it.