When I see Ronda Rousey, I see a woman who could comfortably rank alongside her male counterparts on a pound-for-pound list.
If you watched her fight Meisha Tate on Saturday, you know what I'm talking about. This is a serious competitor, who in the short time we've seen her looks like the best athlete to grace the female side of mixed martial arts. Period. She's 25 and gifted with balance and all sorts of other stuff that makes for an Olympian. She's also angry and intense. In a prefight interview that night, it looked to me like she wanted to maim poor Showtime broadcaster Heidi Androl. After savaging Tate's arm, Rousey had no interest in making amends. This is good stuff. Real, it seems. Nothing Rousey does comes off as shtick.
Tate is no slouch on the floor. Let's put that out there. Yet she was fighting off submissions from the start. She could have been finished with an armbar in the first minute but incredibly freed herself from Rousey's grip. So the idea that you have this finish, the armbar, a classic move that's not so easily applied anymore, and no one can stop you from applying it is, generally speaking, appealing.
Rousey needs opponents. Good ones, for at least a couple years. If she wins, the rest takes care of itself and we could be looking at a crossover athlete for MMA in more ways than one.
Josh Gross covers MMA for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter at JoshGrossESPN.