Bellying Up to the Armbar - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Bellying Up to the Armbar

Bellying Up to the Armbar

By Eugene S. Robinson

SourceBryce Duffy/Corbis Outline


Because never having seen a pretty girl look this tough, it dawns on us: We’re way overdue.

By Eugene S. Robinson

Long before Rowdy Ronda Rousey was an Olympic bronze medalist in judo, before she graced the covers of magazines in only the smallest stitches of clothing, and way before she launched her Hollywood career, the 5-foot-6-inch, 135-pound bantamweight Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) champ used to wake up for school in a manner befitting the daughter of a female world judo champion without an alarm clock: with mom pulling armbars on her.

For the uninitiated, the armbar is just one of the many ways to dispatch a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter within the confines of the octagonal cages of the UFC, as well as other MMA venues. The technique involves bending the elbow of your opponent’s arm back against the joint, using a part of your own body as a leverage point. That is, bending the elbow the opposite way from how it usually bends. 

What is unusual is that Rousey has used the viciously effective armbar in all eight of her wins.

The brutally effective move is not that unusual in itself, but what is unusual is that the 26-year-old Rousey has used the armbar in all eight of her wins. In fact, she has never lost a match. Has any other athlete, in any other sport, called the shots as routinely as 26-year-old Rousey has? Her strategy, absent any element of surprise, still stuns in its ability to overpower even the people who know it’s coming.

Seeing it happen, the awesome inevitability of it, is a wonderful and sometimes nightmarish thing for fans of the wonderful and nightmarish. And her off-the-charts athletic ability not only has worked for her in the cage but has pulled her into two of the biggest summertime franchises around: The Expendables 3, as well as Fast & Furious 7.

Don’t believe us? Then watch below, in shock and awe.


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