Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Edmond Tarverdyan, coach for UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, spoke recently with the ever tremendous Submission Radio. Tarverdyan discussed the short list of fighters that Ronda has left.

But first, the coach reflected on Rousey's fight at UFC 190 vs. Bethe Correia, and said that there is more improvement to come.

Bethe Correia

“Absolutely. We can improve every day. Like I always said, Ronda punches with both hands tremendously.  [Bethe] had not been knocked out, hasn't been stopped, and a one-punch knockout like that is amazing. So I was very happy with her performance.

“But could there be improvements? Absolutely. Definitely. And Ronda …we will work on that, and I know what exactly I need to do. I don’t look at it just because of that 34 seconds, I look at it as the whole training camp, what has been done with her, and definitely I could do a better job with her, and she knows she knows she could do a better job. So you know, it’s only better, better, and better.”

“Ronda always starts off aggressive, and this one she wanted to take her out and she did do that. Game plan – when you have a super-athlete like Ronda, Ronda beats everybody in every area. Why should I be worried about a game plan? Actually this is a fight. It’s not a game. I don’t even like that word being calling a game plan, you know what I mean?

“So there’s a lot of things I look at differently when I’m working with an athlete, depending on the athlete's abilities. Ronda’s abilities are so much – when Ronda was hitting Bethe on the cage, what happened? Bethe wanted to get the clinch, right? She went to clinch up with Ronda. When she went forward to clinch with Ronda, Ronda beat her, right? And then Ronda took her off and knocked her out. Before, Ronda would wanna go clinch. Why did Bethe wanna clinch with her?

“Nobody in the world could clinch with Ronda. Ronda would take them down and submit them, everybody knows that. So why was Bethe trying to clinch Ronda? It’s because Bethe was getting hurt. She wanted to close that gap so she could stop Ronda’s hand speed and that punching power. And Ronda, boom, took advantage of that and put her away.

“There is no need for a game plan with somebody like Ronda Rousey. Ronda beats everybody in every area. If they want to clinch with her, you know, she could beat them there. If she wants to clinch, she could clinch and beat them there, she wants to box, she wants to just beat them with the jab, set up the jab, touch them all night, she will do that. She’s the best in the world.

“So I’m not worried about any game plan or, you know, or 'we should be doing this'. We get the best sparring in the world. She throws 120 punches per round, she’s in tip-top shape, she does everything in the gym and [she's] prepared. So I’m not worried ever. Wherever she wants to take the fight, she could take it there. She sings the music and they dance. That’s about it.”

Some fans saw Rousey off balance to some extent in the rush to punish Correia, and the coach acknowledged that there was some truth to that.

“Yeah, she needed to set up that, you know, she wanted to take her out with one big punch and she got in there a little bit aggressive, you know, it was a scramble a little bit. What they do is – I talk to Ronda about that – they’re going to try and push Ronda away, stick their fingers in her eyes, you know, they can’t keep this girl off them. So it’s very difficult to fight people like that, that are more technical and more brilliant at fighting.

“I wish these girls could fight in front of her so that Ronda could show her skills a bit more. She’s just too good for them and they stiffen up, pull their body back, and they try to like spaz out basically. And Ronda, as they were spazzing out, rushed into it a little bit and tried to catch her with a big shot, and she did get off balance a little bit. But hey, if the octagon's slippery, anything could happen there. It wasn’t a big deal.

“Then she settled down a little bit, caught her with a beautiful jab. We could see that she threw her jab and boom, right away it hit the button. And Ronda’s jab, I’m telling you, Ronda’s jab can knock people out. Even if you watched the last two punches, when Ronda threw the one-two from the side when she angled off beautifully, and what did she throw afterwards? You see that when she’s about to jab, touching her face also, it is touching her face as she’s going down.

“Ronda could drop people with a jab. Definitely. So it was a little bit aggressive start and big overhand right and little bit [she] got off balance, but it’s not a big deal. It’s the first 10 seconds. It could happen to anybody; world’s best boxers that can happen to. But definitely we will work on that also.”

Holly Holm

 

“I like that fight. You know every fight is not easy til you beat 'em. And Ronda trains hard, but I’m telling you, even if Holly Holm is, she’s a boxing world champion, I’ll put all my life earnings on Ronda. Even in a boxing match Ronda beats her. Stops her, doesn’t beat her.

 

“I’m a man of my word, and after champ retires undefeated, maybe one day they can box in the gym. Same thing will happen in the gym. Even with 14 ounce gloves she can’t stop champ. Champ's too strong for all of them. But the girl could keep the distance a bit better than most fighters in there. She has been the champion for a long time in boxing.”

“It is a fun fight for champ. It’s a great fight for us.”

Holm's gameplan would likely include lateral movement and kicking to maintain distance. Tarverdyan laughed at the prospect.

“No problem. I kicked all my life, and the way Ronda moves, I can’t kick her. So I’m not worried. I’m gonna be honest with you, Ronda’s footwork and her distance and her legs and her timing is better than all these fighters. I do understand what you’re saying, that lateral movement side to side, side-steps better, angles off better because of her boxing skills. You know, she’s standing a bit lower now because she’s more afraid of the takedowns. In boxing she would keep her feet a bit more closer so she would move better. You know, definitely, because if you have the wider stance you're not gonna move as quick, but at least you can stuff the takedown and [she has] a little bit of a wrestling and a boxing mixture of a stance now. So she could keep her feet wide and from that wide stance she is able to kick which shows talent.

“It’s not that easy to be done, so I do understand what she’s doing, but Ronda’s got the best feet in the world, best movement in the world with her legs. She angles off beautifully. It’s not that these girls don’t know to go side to side, it’s just her pressure and how good she is with her feet. Champ's the best in the world and it’s an exciting fight for us, and I’d love to see that fight so Ronda could show her skills.”

Cris Cyborg

On Cris Cyborg's belief that the UFC owes it to the fans to make the fight, at a catchweight if necessary.

“I honestly don’t understand what she’s even talking about. She needs to make the weight to fight. I don’t understand catchweights, I don’t like catchweights. I don’t understand what she’s talking about catchweights, I don’t even like it in boxing. There is a weight division and everybody should follow the weight divisions and fight at that weight for the title to be one the line, and Ronda is a champion at 135 right now. She has done things in her past to put fighter's life in danger. When we're training and we're in the gym, we try and make everything so intelligent and smart and safe so we could be right, we could be respectful to the sport.”

“If she's off what she was doing, she should be able to make 135. 135 is the weight for the UFC title. So she’s been saying 140 or something like that, or 'the fans deserve to see the fight'. Definitely they deserve to see the fight. So make the weight and the fight will happen, no problem.”

“Ronda when she gets in training she walks around at 148 pounds. So 145, I don’t want her to fight at 145. Before when she fought [at a higher weight class] the reason was one, she was just starting her career in MMA. And number two, is that we were ready to fight every day. Ronda couldn’t have fights. It wasn’t like Ronda’s choice of fighting of 145 or 135, people didn't want to fight Ronda. Ronda fought every time undefeated opponents in her amateur career also.

“Anybody that wanted to fight her, we said [to the] promotional company 'hey, one day before, just let us know. We’ll jump into the fight'. So that’s why we didn’t care about the weight, whether it was 150, 148, it didn’t really matter because people were not fighting her. It was a problem for us to find people to fight her. She was ready to fight every day. And whenever she was ready to fight every day, if they gave us one day's notice 'hey, possible opponent, yes this person picked up the fight'. You know, we wouldn’t be healthy to make 135, but we said no problem. And those girls did not done what Cyborg has done, those girls did not cheat. Cyborg has cheated. People have to understand that. And now, no f—ing exceptions. I don’t want exceptions, I want it at 135.”

“Ronda beats her in striking. She overwhelms people, she pushes her punches and she throws a bit heavy, you know, heavier than some of these opponents, but her opponents give up on her. Ronda’s knockout was a knockout this last fight.”

“Everybody saw her hand speed, the power. On shot, boom. Out. That’s punching. And Ronda’s only going to be punching better from now on, definitely. So I’ve never been a fan of hers. I think she’s slow, she just overwhelms people because of what she’s been doing I think. And she can box a bit more than the others, and she’s been doing it longer and it doesn’t surprise me. Ronda is the better athlete. Ronda is quicker, stronger and faster. That’s it.”

Miesha Tate

Rousey and Tate are headed towards a trilogy fight, but the coach says he is not tired of getting ready for Tate.

“No I’m not. I love training Ronda. And Miesha has been looking good. She won four fights, she does deserve the shot, and if you think about it it’s the second UFC fight. The first one was in Strikeforce. So it’s her second shot, which a lot of fighters out there don't get their second shot at the world title, and I like that fight.

“Miesha is gonna get hurt in that fight. Definitely. Ronda is gonna be in the best shape of her life. I hate making excuses, but if you watch all my career interviews I’ve always said Miesha Tate was very lucky. Last fight, we had a little bit of injuries going into the fight with Miesha Tate. Ronda was, you know, we had movies, kept her weight so low during the movies. First time ever she shooting Expendables, I had 45 days to work with her. I had Victor Darchinyan getting ready for Nonito Donaire and I gotta fly out there to Bulgaria for two months. You know, training wasn’t the way it was supposed to be for the trainers. So you know, and how much can you learn when you're doing 16 hours of shifts, playing a movie, first time ever with all those big actors, you know?

“And then she came back in time to prepare, some hand injuries. And knock on wood, now she’s healthy. After that we’ve had scope on her knee and knee surgery has been great. She’s in the best shape of her life and now it’s gonna be a different story. Miesha Tate is gonna get hurt in there.”

“She’s going to get hurt in there. I’m worried for Miesha Tate (laughs). I shouldn’t be worried but I’m worried.”

Tarverdyan added that there is still a grudge between himself and Miesha’s boyfriend UFC bantamweight Bryan Caraway

“Definitely. I don’t like either of them, you know, both of them. And they're just idiots themselves. They don’t act normal and I still don’t like them. So we're on the same way. The third one, she’s gonna get it way more, and so she could really know who’s the best in the world. She knows that. She actually does know that, it’s just that she’s going to get hurt more. She got hit in the third round with Ronda from a right cross and she didn’t even know where she was. Then she got caught in an armbar, but she admitted it after the fight when they asked her, she said 'yeah that right hand hit me and hurt me', you know. Well now all those words she said, you know, 'Ronda can’t hit the pads' this and that. It’s funny to me, but now she’s going to see that lightning hand speed and it’s gonna be right on her face. She’s going to tattoo her face this time.”

Tate has been working on her striking, and Tarverdyan was asked what he thought of her improvement.

“Nothing. I’m not impressed. I’m not impressed at all. Nothing. Zero.”