Despite Floyd Mayweather’s offer and undisputed defensive prowess, Mike Tyson is the best man for the job of improving Ronda Rousey’s stand-up.
After UFC 193, Mayweather offered to give Rousey boxing lessons. This was unexpected coming from someone who traded harsh words Rousey in the past, but from a boxing standpoint they sounded perfect.
Mayweather is undefeated mostly because of his Michigan defense and counter-punching. He prided himself on hitting without getting hit and leaving the sport with a sound mind. So far, it appears that he has achieved that goal.
Hate him or love him, Mayweather mastered the art of boxing.
If there was any problem with Rousey’s execution during UFC 193, it was her defense. She took a lot of blows from Holm who, in contrast, used beautiful footwork, head movement, and clinching, and takedown defense throughout most of the fight to evade Rousey.
Mayweather’s defensive genius looks like a logical choice at first, but upon further examination, he is as different a fighter from Rousey as possible. Mayweather made a career out of drawing his opponents into making mistakes by laying traps for them. He exposed his head to bait his opponents into the pull-counter. He stepped back into the corner, or against the ropes, to provoke a charge before clocking his man with a check hook. Mayweather was a master at giving his opponents enough rope to hang themselves, and that just isn’t Rousey’s style.
Expecting Rousey’s stand-up to benefit from Mayweather’s teaching would be asking her to change her style altogether, and it is just way too late in her career for that. Rousey doesn’t need to change her style. She needs to improve upon it.
Dana White compared Rousey to Tyson after UFC 193, and despite her lack of boxing experience, they’re quite similar. Like Tyson, Rousey also uses aggression to defeat her opponents.
She stalks them. She pounces on them. She collects their arms or knocks them out, usually in the first round.
However, Tyson was craftier than he was given credit for.The peek-a-boo style used evasion to create openings, and Tyson’s head movement was one of his most underrated skills. He kept his chin low and moved his head so well that he was difficult to hit, even from close range.
Tyson didn’t just stalk. He capitalized on his opponent’s mistakes and counter-punched with thunderous hooks to the head and body. Tyson’s mastery of evasion made him deadly because every punch his opponents threw brought more risk than reward.
In his prime, Tyson’s anticipation rivaled that of Mayweather’s, but he didn’t move backward to bait his opponents into thinking they had a shot. Tyson hunted them down until they had to punch to keep him at bay. When they missed, his counter-punching rivaled Mayweather’s as well with one difference.
Mayweather embarassed you. Tyson annihilated you.
During UFC 193, Holly Holm had an all access pass to Rousey’s face because Rousey stalked, but she didn’t duck. Holm had no reason to fear a slip and counter punch because it never came. She only had to worry about Rousey’s grappling, but she broke out of her clinches and kept striking at a 72 percent clip, and 82 percent of her landed strikes came from outside.
Rousey landed 30 percent of her strikes despite chasing her opponent around the ring.
If Tyson teaches Rousey how to move her head while crowding her opponent, and adjusts his wisdom to MMA style fighting, her stand-up will improve because his style complements hers in ways that Mayweather’s cannot.
If he doesn’t, she will likely continue to walk into Holm’s punches if and when they have a rematch.
It’s highly unlikely that Rousey wants a repeat of that.
Credit for Mike Tyson video: rainy day. Follow the YouTube page here.
Credit for Floyd Mayweather video: Lee Wylie from The Fight City. Follow their webpage here.