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Ronda Rousey may not be America’s sweetheart, but she remains one of the UFC’s brightest stars

Kevin Iole
Cagewriter

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Ronda Rousey's coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter won't negatively impact her drawing power. (Getty)

Ronda Rousey was concerned that she'd be viewed as some kind of deranged nut job after her stint as a coach on Season 18 of "The Ultimate Fighter" aired on Fox Sports 1.

The season concluded on Wednesday and it portrayed Rousey as ultra-competitive, ultra intense and an extremely poor loser.

None of that, though, is much of a surprise and none of it detracts from her primary gig as the UFC women's bantamweight champion. Her job is not only to fight and retain her title, but also to sell tickets and pay-per-views.

After just one fight in the UFC, a victory in February over Liz Carmouche, Rousey is already one of the sport's biggest stars, male or female. It's fair to say that only welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre clearly exceeds her as a draw. Some might argue that light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and/or middleweight champion Anderson Silva may exceed her in terms of star power.

That may be true, but it's by no means a slam dunk, and Rousey is a fighter on the rise. Fans clearly want to see her fight and nothing that happened during Season 18 figures to impact that.

Rousey will appear as coach one last time when she's at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday to support David Grant and Jessica Rakoczy in the final bouts against Chris Holdsworth and Julianna Pena, respectively.

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UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey. (Getty)

Then, the focus will turn to where it belongs, to her title defense on Dec. 28 at UFC 168 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas against arch rival and fellow TUF 18 coach Miesha Tate.

The ratings on TUF this season were lower than in some other years, but it's largely attributable to being on a third network in five seasons. Season 14 was on Spike, then seasons 15, 16 and 17 were on FX before moving to the new channel, Fox Sports 1, for Season 18.

The numbers for Season 18 likely would have been far lower without Rousey's presence bringing viewers week after week.

She may not have come across as America's sweetheart, but anyone who expected her to be that didn't really know her in the first place. Rousey is an attractive woman with a quick wit and a gift for verbal warfare, and those talents along with her dominant fighting style have contributed to her popularity.

People love a winner, particularly one who wins in spectacular fashion and trash talks a lot along the way.

Rousey can sell a fight as well as anyone alive, and she'll display that ability in the next month as she promotes her UFC 168 bout with Tate.

Her stint as a coach may not have portrayed her the way she might have wanted, but it certainly did nothing to hurt her as a drawing card.

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