The buzz inside Honda Center on Saturday night was electric. Months of marketing and planning for the UFC and their newest star was finally being put to work.
And you know what? It couldn't have gone any better.
Ronda Rousey and Liz Carmouche headlined the UFC 157 card in Anaheim, California this past weekend and their fight did not disappoint. Sure, the fight ended in an opening round armbar by Rousey as most expected, but the bantamweight champion was in a bad spot early on.
Carmouche scaled the back of Rousey and managed to crank her face so hard to the left that it pushed Rousey's mouthpiece out and subsequently left teeth marks on the arm of Carmouche. Eventually Rousey shook her off and worked her way to her iconic armbar.
Leading up to the fight I was becoming nauseated with all of the Rousey hype. I was driving to Honda Center on Saturday thinking of how it would be should Carmouche win the fight. I wondered if Carmouche would receive the same rock star treatment from the UFC that they had been giving Rousey, and I wondered if it would be better for the rest of the women's roster if Rousey did lose.
What I realized after the fight is that Rousey can overcome adversity to win a fight. Not only that, but her comments and demeanor at the post fight press conference show that she is nothing but a great champion for the UFC and a wonderful figure for women in professional sports.
No other UFC event garnered as much media attention as UFC 157. Not UFC 100, not any Anderson Silva fight, nothing. Rousey was splashed on the cover of the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, CNN.com, and everywhere in between. ESPN, which doesn't give a whole lot of attention to the UFC, was tweeting about UFC 157 continuously throughout the night.
The number of women with a UFC roster spot has now reached 10. The next fight in the women's bantamweight division will be Miesha Tate vs. Cat Zingano on April 13. The winner of that fight will most likely face Rousey in a pay per view headliner in the third quarter of this year.
Whatever your stance is on women fighting in the UFC, one thing should be agreed upon. They are no longer simply a novelty in the sport. The women have trained and evolved so much over the last five years that any video you see of them fighting back then is nothing compared to how they look now.
As far as the sustainability of women in the UFC goes, I'd say you better get used to it because they are going to be around for a very long time.
OS Voice: Did your opinion of women in MMA change at all following UFC 157?
Joe Chacon is a staff writer for Operation Sports as well as a MMA columnist for Bleacher Report and The MMA Corner. You can follow him on twitter @JoeChacon.