The past month has been a tough one for the formerly undefeated Women’s Bantamweight Champion. When Ronda Rousey lost her match against Holly Holm during UFC 193, shockwaves were sent throughout the MMA community, her fans, and the media. How could someone with such an impressive reputation go down the way she did? What is she working on to ensure a victory at UFC 200? Will that be enough to ward off another harrowing loss?
They’re all good questions. But as we answer them, there are several important lessons we should all be taking to heart. Lessons that apply just as much to business as they do to Ultimate Fighting (though are they really that different?).
When we dig into what went wrong in Rousey’s match, we discover something obvious: she was beat to the punch. Quite literally. She was thrown off her game early in the match. A downhill performance followed, finishing with a kick to the face.
We must recognize what transpired as the result of an opponent with the will, determination, and skillset to beat her. When we look at Holm, we see someone who was more than hungry for the win; she was mentally prepared to go up against a seemingly invincible opponent in order to achieve her goal.
Though I hope you never suffer a kick like that in any business dealing, the wisdom is there. Never get complacent. Ever. There is always someone out there burning the midnight oil to take away everything you’ve worked for and to rip it right out from underneath you. It’s nothing malicious or personal in most cases; it’s just business in its purest form. Competitors will go after your clients shamelessly, claiming they can provide your services better and cheaper. To some degree, they will succeed and end up creating a rift in your cash flow, operations, etc.
When that does happen, you can start refocusing by letting go of any feelings of pride. Then take the opportunity to reflect inward. By identifying which parts of the events you had control over, you can begin to correct them and strengthen them.
When Rousey made her first spotlight appearance since the crushing defeat by attending the the Marine Corps Ball – with a Marine she didn’t know, who invited her over Facebook because she was his celebrity crush and thought she was a “phenomenal person” – this event also set two examples for us to follow.
First, she’s not out of the game simply by losing one match. Neither should you allow yourself to be. Bouncing back from such a dramatic loss (even if just socially) requires the cultivation and ongoing practice of extreme dedication; a mentality critical to any sport, business, or craft.
This leads to the second example she set: by Rousey honoring her promise to join Lance Cpl. Jarrod Haschert as his date, she demonstrated her ability to follow through on prior commitments, regardless of the condition of her ego. No matter how badly your defeat gets handed to you (ideally no stitches required), you must take care of existing customers and make sure you fulfill any outstanding obligations.
Even from Holm’s perspective, you can learn a few things. For one, willpower must not be underestimated. Stay hungry in all that you do; don’t be afraid to take on the alpha dog. You may not have much to lose, but they have everything, and somewhere in that freedom is a significant advantage.
No matter which side of the fight you’re on, leverage this experience and learn from both Rousey’s and Holm’s actions to make your own way to the history books.