RIO DE JANEIRO • Ronda Rousey wanted to knock out Bethe Correia. So she did.
The UFC's female bantamweight champion scored her 12th stoppage in as many fights early yesterday morning in Rio, plastering Correia with punches and knees for 34 seconds until referee John McCarthy called a halt to the action.
The finish came after the broad-shouldered, 61kg Rousey - a 1-16 favourite with Las Vegas bookmakers - lifted a knee into her previously unbeaten challenger's mid-section. She then scored a left hook that stunned Correia, and ended the show with a right to the temple followed by another short left.
Correia had promised to end Rousey's reign. Instead, she became just another violently disposed of would-be queen.
Amazingly, the official time of the fight was four seconds more than Rousey's last two wins combined - a 16-second KO over Alexis Davis and a 14-second arm bar of Cat Zingano.
The victory marks her 11th first-round win in 12 bouts, ensuring her status as the most dominant female mixed martial artist in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Rousey - nicknamed "Rowdy" - dedicated the win to pro wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, who died on Friday in Los Angeles. Like the man who gave her his nickname, Rousey has created her own space.
She is the first female athlete to be a pay-per-view draw as she has transcended UFC to enter Hollywood and became the face of numerous products and ventures.
Coming into the fight at a sold-out HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, a location most people wrongly presumed would overwhelmingly support the 32-year-old Brazilian challenger, Rousey said this contest was the most personal of her career.
Correia made comments in the pre-fight build-up regarding the chance that Rousey might consider suicide if she came out on the losing end.
It is widely known that Rousey's father, Ron, took his life when the woman who would go on to be called the most dominant athlete on earth by Sports Illustrated was just a girl.
Rousey walked into the arena wearing an intense stare, on a mission to send a message that anything about her family should never again be uttered by an opponent.
Her demeanour matched her performance.
As the 28-year-old neared the front of the Octagon door a fan threw a Brazilian flag in her face. She did not flinch.
The fans had been with her all week in Rio, surprising to a degree that they seemed to know Correia simply had no shot.
Half a minute later, it was all over.
"I hope no one really brings up my family any more when it comes to fights and I hope this is the last time," Rousey said. THE GUARDIAN