Much maligned coach Edmond Tarverdyan has sent eyebrows raising with his latest comments about who he would like his superstar pupil Ronda Rousey to fight next if she ever returned to the Octagon.
Bearing in mind that Rousey was battered from pillar to post by Holly Holm until finally being KO’d by a head kick, then lasted just 48 seconds before being ruthlessly TKO’d by Amanda Nunes, you’d think that perhaps Tarverdyan would perhaps want a less daunting opponent in the unlikely event that she was ever lured back for one last fight.
Apparently Tarverdyan has other plans though and wants to see Rousey return to face the most feared woman in all of mixed martial arts – UFC featherweight champion Cris ‘Cyborg’ Justino, who is unbeaten in her last 19 fights, finishing 16 of them via strikes.
“That’s the one,” Tarverdyan said. “I want that fight. When I trained Ronda, I know Ronda could beat Cyborg. I know that. Cyborg is too slow.”
That seems like a baffling choice given that even in her prime, ‘Cyborg’ looked like a tough match-up for Rousey, let alone asking her to step up in weight to face the Brazilian after her striking deficiencies have been exposed, her confidence shattered and her chin shown to be vulnerable.
Tarverdyan says he still speaks to Rousey a few times a week, but admits that he’s not sure whether she can be convinced to compete again.
“I don’t know. I don’t know. We’ll live and we’ll see. If injuries weren’t there and everything was where it was, we would take that fight and I’m telling you she’s too slow for us. And Ronda will beat her. Ronda needs a challenge that she really needs to be like this person is no good and I need to prove something to the whole world. That’s how Ronda works good.
“And she didn’t have that with Holly, she’s the one that pushed and wanted some aggressiveness before the weigh-ins. This one she has it. She said she cheated before, she’s hurt women and she wants to come and beat her.”
There’s a very good chance that Tarverdyan’s plan is not going to come to fruition as there are a lot of rumors pointing towards Rousey making the switch to the WWE, but he insists that one final UFC fight is still a viable option.
“It’s gonna be her decision, if she fights,” Tarverdyan said. “One more, I don’t know. I’ve spoken to her. I don’t know if she’ll do it. One more fight, maybe. If she really can. If her body does give her one more fight and she really wants to mentally, she might. It’s 50-50 right now I would say.”