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01st Jan 2017

Ronda Rousey pays tribute to Amanda Nunes in classy statement

Not rising to the bait

Mikey Stafford

Ronda Rousey avoided getting into a war of words before the fight and she seems to be sticking to that tactic.

The former bantamweight champion put a few noses out of joint with her self-imposed media ban ahead of UFC 207.

Out of action since losing her belt to Holly Holm in November 2015, ‘Rowdy’ was determined to stay focussed and steer clear of a media she felt had turned on her in defeat.

Unfortunately for the 29-year-old, she suffered a second career defeat in 14 bouts on Friday night as bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes delivered a crushing 48-second first round stoppage.

Since then, Nunes has not exactly spared Rousey. She told her to retire before they left the Octagon, she blamed her coach for ruining her career and she trolled her on Instagram.

Well, Rousey decided not to take the bait and, when she finally broke her silence, via a statement provided to ESPN, she chose to praise Nunes and “all the other women who have been part of making this possible”.

Most would have preferred if Rousey had faced the post-fight press conference but, for now, this is all we will hear from the former champ as she weighs up her future.

“I want to say thank you to all of my fans who have been there for me in not only the greatest moments but in the most difficult ones. Words cannot convey how much your love and support means to me,” said Rousey.

“Returning to not just fighting, but winning, was my entire focus this past year. However, sometimes – even when you prepare and give everything you have and want something so badly – it doesn’t work how you planned. I take pride in seeing how far the women’s division has come in the UFC and commend all the other women who have been part of making this possible, including Amanda.

“I need to take some time to reflect and think about the future. Thank you for believing in me and understanding.”