Few, if any, would argue Ronda Rousey isn't the top female fighter on the planet. While Cyborg Justino might take issue with the claim, Rousey is demonstrably more accomplished given her status as the UFC women's bantamweight champion.
Yet, the question remains, how does she stack up against the best of the men? According to Rousey's coach Edmond Tarverdyan, the answer is right at the top.
"Top three, for sure. Top three, yes," he told Ariel Helwani on Monday's The MMA Hour. "Ronda finishes every fight. Ronda finishes every fight, she's amazing. With the skills and the hard work and what she shows in the Octagon.
"With 16 seconds, she showed everything. Good punch, good knee, good takedown, good ground and pound. This girl did everything in 16 seconds, so she is in the top three. The way she performed against Sara McMann also, silver medalist, and the way she controlled her on the cage. Put those combinations together, mixed it up with elbows, everything, and dropped her. It's great."
As Tarverdyan sees it, it's not merely that Rousey's wins or accomplishments count. Certainly those count, but they don't tell the sum total of her career. According to him, it's the nature of how she's winning that also should be taken into account.
"You have a girl that's a great grappler," he explained. "The first opponent she knocks out, she gets it from the liver shot. Think about that. That's very difficult to do. In boxing, when we build our fighters, the way I do it is to make them understand the body shots. We work on that because it's going to be very important in a twelve-round fight. You drop people from the body, so you learn that in the beginning of your career when you're getting what people call those tomato cans to fight.
"But it's a learning process, so you can be ready for that big fight. Ronda's first knockout she gets is from the body. That's amazing. That's amazing because she was dropping people in the gym with the body shots. She did it. She was dropping people in the gym with head shots, the overhand right. In this case, she did it. She's an amazing athlete."
While the debate is likely to rage over where Rousey belongs in the pound-for-pound rankings in addition to how Tarerdyan's comments exacerbate the back and forth, the coach of the UFC champion is unwavering in his belief.
"What I see with her, yes, the fights finish early, but she's the best in the world," he argued. "She's should be in the top three."