Were signs of a Ronda Rousey decline evident long before the Holly Holm fight?

She lost for the second time in the UFC, this time to Amanda Nunes

Ronda Rousey, UFC 207,

Image: John Locher AP/Press Association Images

Not so very long ago, Ronda Rousey was invincible in the UFC Women's Bantamweight ranks.

But all that began to change with a stunning defeat to Holly Holm in November 2015 which then resulted in an absence from mixed martial arts that ran for more than a year.

Her lucrative comeback fight was just before New Year, with Brazilian UFC Bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes her opponent.

It did not go to plan for the American in Las Vegas as she lost in the space of 48 seconds to leave her record standing at 12 wins and two defeats as well as an uncertain future in the sport.

But combat sports writer Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports feels Rousey's decline began earlier than anyone anticipated, pointing to her ninth consecutive victory when she faced Sara McMann back in 2014.

"When she beat Sara McMann in one minute and six seconds, we ignored the fact that in that one minute and six seconds, she got blasted by about five or six straight right hands to the face before getting into the clinch and then defeating Sara," he told Off The Ball, pointing that an excellent boxer like Holm was able to make the most of Rousey's shortcomings at striking and boxing.

Iole also feels that while Rousey was enjoying victory after victory, she "did not move with the times" when it came to the evolution in MMA.

And as her star ascended, the potential of starring in action movies could have proved a distraction from the pathway of improvement.

"She was not only doing fight media but she was also doing movie media, she was talking to people about her book. She had so many things going that something is going to have to give and unfortunately, it was her time in the gym and her ability to improve," said Iole.

Rousey will now take time to reflect on her future but Iole feels she "never got to grips" with the defeat to Holm.