It’s nearly impossible to find a weakness in Ronda Rousey’s game.
The UFC women’s bantamweight champion has looked so impressive during her MMA career, stopping all 10 of her opponents, that it would be easy to label Rousey the complete package. But if Rousey herself had to offer any personal critique, it would be of her hands.
“I have really small hands. I broke my thumb in my last fight, ” explains Rousey. “I have a really strong chin and really weak hands.”
Dating back before her tenure as the UFC and Strikeforce champion, Rousey would wrap her hands prior to every training session as a precautionary method to avoid injury.
She continued the practice under the supervision of head coach Edmond Tarverdyan, under one condition.
“I told her, ‘If you win the world title then I’ll start wrapping your hands everyday.’ So I didn’t wrap her hands until she won the title,” offers Tarverdyan. “She really worked hard for winning the title so she could get her hands wrapped… and now I wrap it everyday, whether it’s twice a day I have to do it… just like any big champions out there in boxing get their hands wrapped everyday. You have to protect those hands. You make money with those, so I believe that you have to wrap it.”
And Tarverdyan knows a thing or two about hand wrapping.
First applying the gauze and tape for Artyom Simonyan prior to his IBF Super bantamweight title shot against Israel Vázquez, Tarverdyan recalls legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach inspecting his wrap job.
“I wrapped my first wraps in a boxing world championship when I was like 18, 19 years old and Freddie Roach was actually inspecting that wrap,” adds Tarverdyan. “So I’ve been nervous a bit, doing it for a long time.”
The experience, of course, has paid off for Rousey, who has evolved from a dominant, arm-collecting Judoka into a crisp, powerful, and accurate boxer and striker. Tarverdyan himself has noted that “she has tiny hands and she punches very big,” which should come in handy against Cat Zingano this Saturday at UFC 184.
And while Rousey is quick to offer some self-effacing commentary regarding her paws, it’s clear that she’s not really too concerned with size.
“I like to think that because my hands are so small that it’s just so much more force in a smaller area and therefore my punches penetrate deeper,” states Rousey. “Big hands only help you out if you’re inaccurate, and I’m extremely accurate. So I’m fine with my little hands, and they’re good for grappling, so I can get in those little spaces.”
Check out these related stories:
The Mixed Martial Arts of Victorian London
Before BJJ, there was Bartitsu.
Jonathan Maicelo: The Last Inca
Peru's up-and-coming boxing star.
Kron Gracie on Jiu-Jitsu, Skateboarding, Older Brothers, and Famous Fathers
The ties that bind are strong.
Joel Tudor on the Art of Surfing, Fighting, and Style
A surf icon helps MMA keep its sense of tradition.
Japan's Karate Kid: Kyoji Horiguchi
Japan's brightest MMA prospect.