Ronda Rousey the first women's champion in UFC history, said she would not feel like a true title holder until she defended her belt. On Saturday, she did exactly that in emphatic fashion.
After surviving an early scare from spirited challenger Liz Carmouche, Rousey (7-0) latched in her signature technique — the armbar — to score a first-round submission win in the first defence of the title she was granted this past November.
The bout served as the main event of "UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche," which took place at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Rousey, a massive favourite in the UFC's first women's bout, found herself in early trouble as Carmouche grappled her way to the back position and began to look for a rear-naked choke.
The hold looked tight for several moments, but Carmouche couldn't quite get her arm under the neck, and Rousey eventually shook her off and freed herself from danger. From there, the champion took over, using her world-class grappling skills to lock in an armbar attempt that spelled the beginning of the end.
Carmouche (7-3) fought as time ticked off the clock, but she eventually lost control of the defence and was forced to tap out with just 11 seconds in the opening round.
"That was the most vulnerable a position I've been in so far in my career," Rousey said after the win. "That was pretty tight, that neck crank, and I was very happy to get out of it. She had the choke across my mouth and the angle pushed my mouthguard out of my mouth."
Rousey has now submitted all seven of her professional opponents via first-round armbar, a judo move that has dislocated at least two prior opponents' elbows.
Meanwhile, Carmouche received a warm ovation in defeat and now takes her spot alongside Rousey in the UFC history books. However, the former U.S. Marine said it will not be the crowning achievement in her MMA career.
"This isn't the highlight of my career," Carmouche said. "So far, maybe. But the highlight is going to be when I win some fights in the UFC and come back for the title."
In the night's co-headliner, former UFC champion Lyoto Machida (19-3) earned a contentious split-decision win over MMA legend Dan Henderson (29-9). The three-round fight failed to impress as the two were reluctant to engage for much of the fight.
The winner had been expected to challenge for the light heavyweight belt, but, with a victory that left fans booing, that now seems in doubt.