Fight Analysis: Laila Ali vs Ronda Rousey vs Common Sense

A couple Saturdays back mixed martial arts phenom Ronda Rousey faced what was supposed to be her toughest challenge and responded by bending Cat Zingano’s arm like a water noodle, forcing a submission in 14 seconds.

Yasiel Puig spends more time admiring his home runs.

Since then we’ve had a steady stream of speculation about who is best equipped to defeat the seemingly unbeatable Rousey.

Is it a man?

Maybe. Rousey has only faced women in competition, and probably breaks opponents’ arms more often than she breaks a sweat.

Is it Cris Cyborg?

She’s a similarly dominant force in women’s mixed martial arts, but she’s at least one weight class larger than Rousey. Cutting weight to meet the UFC champ would compromise Cyborg’s performance, and as the A-side to this hypothetical fight Rousey has no reason to compete at Cyborg’s preferred weight.

So what about Laila Ali?

She was undefeated as a boxer, as successful and  proficient in the ring as Rousey is in the octagon. She’s also Muhammad Ali’s daughter and therefore kinda famous. That counts for something, right?

TMZ recently caught up to Ali in a parking garage and put the question to her. Here’s what she said.

“No woman can beat me, period.”

“She’s like the size of my daughter. My three-year-old.”

Ohhhhh snap!

Shots fired!

*Catfight sound*

It’s on like popcorn AND Donkey Kong!

I guess right here I should remind folks of a couple of things.

First, Ali has been retired since 2007 and will fight a parking ticket before she fights another boxer for money.

Second — and this is important — Ali and Rousey participate in different sports. It’s amazing how quickly we lose sight of that small* but obvious key detail.


Usain Bolt is fast. These cars are faster. I promise.

I could, for example, chase down Formula One superstar Lewis Hamilton and ask how he’d fare in a race with Usain Bolt. He’d say with a straight face he’d beat Bolt easily, and he’d be correct. Hamilton races cars and Bolt races on foot. Two top competitors; two different sports.

Extreme example, for sure, but you guys get my point.


Why don’t these two get together and “unify the title?” Who’s ducking whom?


Figuring out who wins “a fight” between Ali and Rousey depends entirely on the type of fight we’re contesting. It doesn’t even take a debate. Just a bit of common sense. In MMA Rousey yanks Ali’s arm out of the socket, probably within a minute. In a boxing match Ali does to Rousey what Larry Holmes did to Marvis Frazier.

“Please, referee, stop the fight before I disfigure this young woman.”

If this fight ever happens — and it probably won’t — I’m betting it happens under MMA rules because Rousey is backed by big-money promoters who aren’t above selling us old-boxer-vs-mma-fighter sideshows.

Personally, I’d rather see Rousey continue to dominate whatever MMA fighters the UFC can match her with. If one-sided wins lack drama, so be it.

It’s not Rousey’s fault she’s that good.







One Response to “Fight Analysis: Laila Ali vs Ronda Rousey vs Common Sense”
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  1. […] Published once during the week, addressing the idea of a proposed superfight between retired boxer Laila Ali and UFC champ Ronda Rousey. If they fight, common sense loses no matter who wins. […]

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