U.S. boxing champ Mikaela Mayer sparring Ronda Rousey
The last time we saw Ronda Rousey’s inside the Octagon, we saw her knocked out clean by former world boxing champion Holly Holm at UFC 193.
Holm was able to use her superior footwork and timing to pick Rousey apart at range before sending her crashing to the canvas with a spectacular highlight-reel head kick.
To prevent history from repeating itself, as she attempts to get her belt back against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 on December 30, Rousey enlisted the services of Mikaela Mayer.
A three-time USA Boxing National Champion, Mayer represented Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympic in Rio, where she competed in the women’s 60-kilogram weight class.
After sparring with Rousey multiple times, Mayer came away extremely impressed with Rousey’s standup game and gave RingTV.com some exclusive insight.
“I have fights coming up, so training with Ronda came at a very good time,” Mayer said. “She actually made me work and use all my tools. I had to throw my combinations. I had to stay at angles. I had to box and move and fight on the inside and use all my skills.
“(Ronda is) a fighter, when she gets in there. She’s coming for you and she is not going to let you breathe. That will serve her very well in her title fight at the end of the month. Ronda’s a very smart fighter and a true champion who will show the world she’s learned a lot since her loss to Holly.”
Like Rousey, Mayer has unfinished business of her own. She was eliminated in the quarterfinals in Rio, just a single victory shy of securing at least a bronze medal. This week, however, she is the favorite to win her fourth consecutive title at the U.S. National Championships.
Even though she’s being pulled in different directions, Mayer remains extremely focused on adding to her legacy in the boxing ring. Still, despite that drive and ambition, the temptation is there to follow Rousey’s footsteps into MMA, where she has the potential to morph into a megastar.
“I struggle in my heart because I trained 5 to 10 years daily to make the Olympic team and get my medal and I didn’t do that,” Mayer said, while reflecting on her loss to Anastasia Belyakova.
“If I were to turn pro in boxing or turn to MMA that’s what I’d be giving up. I’d be giving up my dream of an Olympic gold medal. I can try again, wait another four years, turn 30 and the window would have closed. So that’s what I go back-and-fourth with in my heart.
Mayer continued, “I feel good and I’m focused on winning Nationals again but I have to admit it won’t take the sting out of coming up short in the Olympics. You don’t get many opportunities like that in life.”
Whether Mayer chooses to stay in the ring, or take her talents to the Octagon; she has the talent, charisma and looks to be the next female superstar in combat sports.