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(Rowdy) Ronda Rousey's UFC legend grows as people ask who can halt her progress

Ronda Rousey stands on the scale during a weigh-in for the UFC 175 mixed martial arts event at the Mandalay Bay, Friday, July 4, 2014, in Las Vegas. Rousey is scheduled fight Alexis Davis in a women's bantamweight title fight on Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

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Ronda Rousey stands on the scale during a weigh-in for the UFC 175 mixed martial arts event at the Mandalay Bay, Friday, July 4, 2014, in Las Vegas. Rousey is scheduled fight Alexis Davis in a women's bantamweight title fight on Saturday in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS, Nev. - The (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey legend grows.

On Saturday night, the UFC women's bantamweight champion flattened Alexis Davis in 16 seconds as the Canadian challenger never knew what hit her.

The 16-second knockout is tied with Frank Shamrock's win over Kevin Jackson for second fastest in a UFC championship fight. Andrei Arlovski's 15-second KO of Paul Buentello is the fastest.

For UFC president Dana White, the 27-year-old Rousey is more than an MMA star.

"I think she's important to women's sports, period, man," White said. "I think she's such a big game-changer for women, period."

Rousey, who came to MMA from judo where she won Olympic bronze, has now won all 10 of her fights with nine first-round finishes. The 10 wins have lasted a total of 24 minutes 48 seconds.

And Rousey is expanding her arsenal.

Her first eight finishes were all by armbar submission. Then she dropped Sarah McMann, an Olympic silver medallist in wrestling, with a knee to the liver.

And she stunned Davis with a punch and knee at the centre of the cage, before tossing her to the ground with a hard judo throw and finishing her off with some 10 punches to the face.

According to FightMetric statistics, Rousey landed 14 of 16 strikes compared to two of six for Davis.

"This is a chick who could walk out this building, walk down the Las Vegas Strip and wreck every guy on the Las Vegas Strip," said White. "There's never been a woman in the history of the world that could do that."

White pointed to star Dutch boxer and kickboxer Lucia Rijker, saying she would have to trade punches if she got into the ring against a man.

"Ronda Rousey, she might get past a couple of punches. And once she grabs onto you, I don't care how big you are, how strong you are, she's going to drop you on your head."

Despite her success to date, Rousey has set even higher goals.

"I still have a lot of improvements to make," she said. "I want to retire undefeated and be known as one of the greatest of all time and that takes a lot more work than what I have done so far."

Saturday marked Rousey's third fight since late December and she will likely take a break to let her body heal.

She needed nine stitches after the fight to repair a knuckle flap that keeps coming lose because of a cyst. She is also planning arthroscopic surgery to correct a chronic right knee issue.

"I'm down to fight at any time. I just want to be healthy. That's one of the mistakes that I made in judo, I competed too much when I shouldn't have."

Rousey has targeted the UFC's New Year's card as a possible return date. Come August, she will be helping publicize her movie role in "The Expendables 3."

Finding a worthy opponent will be a challenge. In the UFC or Strikeforce. Rousey has beaten five of the current top 10 contenders, including four of the top five.

While Rousey has feasted on all nationalities, Davis was her fourth Canadian victim.

There are three possible marquee matchups: No. 1 contender Cat Zingano, Cris (Cyborg) Santos and Gina Carano. But all three come with issues.

Zingano (8-0) has not fought since April 2013 due to a serious knee injury and the sudden death of her husband.

Santos (12-1), who turned down the same deal to join the UFC that Rousey accepted, may have trouble making 135 pounds and has served a one-year suspension for steroids.

Carano (7-1) was one of the trailblazers of women's MMA but has not fought since 2009 having branched into movies.

How dominant is Rousey? She was a 10-1 favourite to defeat Davis, ranked No. 2 among 135-pound contenders.

Davis, a 29-year-old from Port Colborne, Ont., who fights out of San Diego, was the only other female fighter with a 3-0 UFC record. And the Canadian, with black belts in both Japanese and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, was well equipped to defend herself.

Instead she became the Wile E. Coyote to Rousey's Road Runner.

Still White says he has no concerns about finding Rousey a suitable opponent.

"A couple of weeks ago (then bantamweight champion) Renan Barao hadn't lost a fight 10 years," he reminded listeners.

"Anybody on any given night can step into that Octagon and have their worst performance while your opponent has the greatest performance of their life," he added. "That can happen to anybody on any given night ... There's always somebody."

Rousey is a celebrity as well as a fighter, so popular that she and her family required security to escape the arena after the UFC 175 weigh-in.

She also has style.

While most other fighters arrive at weigh-ins in training gear or jeans and a T-shirt, Rousey showed up Friday in skinny jeans, boots and a stylish jacket. She looked like she was going clubbing directly after stepping off the scales.

Rousey has also dispensed with the clothes to pose for ESPN The Magazine's The Body issue.

"Women don't have to trade their femininity for athleticism," she said at the time. "And you don't have to look like an anorexic eight-year-old to be considered beautiful. Skinny girls look good in clothes but fit chicks look good naked."

According to the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Rousey made US$170,000 including $50,000 for performance of the night. Davis earned $24,000.

The commission figures do not tell the whole story, however, since the UFC does not detail all the details of its fighter compensation. Rousey will likely have made much more.

It's a far cry from 2011 when she was juggling three jobs in her native California while trying to train as a fledgling MMA fighter.

She worked overnights in a gym, pulling down day shifts as a canine physical therapy assistant (think holding down big dogs having acupuncture) and teaching judo.

The crowded schedule took its toll. One night driving back from a graveyard shift, she fell asleep while driving and smashed her face into the steering wheel. It left her with a deviated septum.

Today Rousey is the face of the UFC, albeit one that touches off diverse responses.

She is all-business when it comes to fighting and she was booed after beating Miesha Tate when she refused to shake Tate's hand. Rousey later said it was because Tate had disrepected her camp during filming of "The Ultimate Fighter."

The champion was stone-faced as she walked to the UFC 175 cage to Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation." But she won cheers for steamrolling Davis.

"It's nice to have a support but if you allow the cheers to make you feel good, then you also allow the boos to make you feel bad," said Rousey. "And so I appreciate all the passion that comes from the fans, however it does come, and I appreciate people caring so much. But I try not to let the opinions of people that I don't personally know affect my happiness too much. I'm just happy that people care at all."

"Ronda Rousey is a megastar," said White, throwing in a F-bomb for good measure. "People can hate on her and say whatever they want, the girl's a rock star — in every sense of the word."

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