Ronda Rousey reveals original game plan for Holly Holm, but after first punch ‘I was out on my feet’ (2024)

As the old Mike Tyson quote goes, everyone has a plan until the get punched in the mouth. Ronda Rousey found that out the hard way during her first UFC loss.

Back in 2015, Rousey was arguably competing with Conor McGregor as the biggest star in UFC and had already started crossing over into films and television. She had so much swagger with the way she decimated her competition that UFC CEO Dana White and veteran UFC color commentator Joe Rogan told anyone who would listen that Rousey could dispatch undefeated boxer Floyd Mayweather if he was ever crazy enough to try MMA.

But the unbeatable aura around Rousey crashed down in dramatic fashion with her brutal knockout loss to Holly Holm courtesy of a head kick that reverberated around the combat sports world. Rousey went from UFC’s darling to an overrated charlatan thanks to one bad night at the office, and truth be told, she doesn’t remember much of it.

During a recent Q&A promoting her latest autobiography titled Our Fight, Rousey addressed her specific process and what went wrong against Holm. As it turns out, Rousey didn’t really get to test out plan A or plan B after Holm punched her in the mouth to start the fight.

“The Holm fight, I didn’t really get to start my process because I literally just got hit right away, and it knocked loose all my bottom teeth and I was out on my feet from the very beginning,” Rousey said. “So there wasn’t like that same kind of process of what I usually have.

“My process was usually, I would plan out the first exchange, and everything from then on out would be an improvisation, within the range of what I trained for specifically for that person.”

With Holm, Rousey intended on keeping the former boxing champion off the center line and then bullying her up against the cage, where the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo would have have a greater advantage, especially with the potential for takedowns.

But Rousey didn’t get the chance to execute her strategy after she went fuzzy from the first punch Holm landed. From that point on, she was just acting on autopilot.

“For Holm, what we trained a lot [was] doing lateral, side-to-side movement to herd her towards the cage,” Rousey said. “When I was basically out on my feet, I couldn’t see distance. There’s no depth perception when you have a bad concussion. I was completely unable to carry that out and even think coherently. I wasn’t able to operate the way that I usually do.

“I’m constantly trying to keep the person reacting to what I’m doing. There’s no step back and reset and start again. I was constantly always trying to keep pressure on the person and keep them reacting to me at all times. That’s why you never saw me, ‘Let’s back up and do this again,’ or we’re going to back up again and come back. It was one long exchange. That was basically speed decision-making, this is what was happening.”

Rousey says a prime example to explain her process would be a past fight against Miesha Tate when she wanted to set up a submission. Unlike the Holm fight, Rousey was able to play a chess game to force Tate into making the wrong move, which then allowed her to finish the fight with one of her signature armbars.

“In the first Miesha fight, when I mounted her back and I was unloading with both hands, and I really wanted to do an armbar from there,” Rousey said, “so I posted with one hand on the ground and started just hitting with one hand, knowing that she has bring this other hand up eventually to block these punches. Because all I wanted was that arm. I had to convince this person to give me that arm.”

Of course, beyond criticism Rousey faced for her Holm performance, her coaches also faced a litany of questions and concerns about the advice she received during the bout.

Perhaps some blame might fall on her team for preparations or the strategy itself, but Rousey says there was no altering course once the fight started.

Beyond the concussion she knows she suffered in the opening moments of the fight, the now 37-year-old retired UFC Hall of Famer admits her coaches never really played a huge part in how she executed her strategy against anybody after the action got underway.

“I don’t hear anything my corner’s saying,” Rousey said. “They’re yelling for them.

“My mom specifically actually sent me to judo tournaments with no coach all the time. A lot of the times the person sitting in the chair didn’t know what they were talking about. I would literally be like, ‘Your job is tell me whether the person is right or left handed,’ and a lot of the times they were wrong about that.”

Ronda Rousey reveals original game plan for Holly Holm, but after first punch ‘I was out on my feet’ (2024)
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