As the standard-bearer for women’s MMA, bantamweight champion (Rowdy) Ronda Rousey has been shouldering a load for the UFC in recent months.
She’s bared her soul on the Primetime TV series building up to her UFC 157 main event with Liz (Girlrilla) Carmouche on Feb. 23 in Anaheim, Calif. Rousey is also building in media appearances around her training to keep the fires stoked.
For Rousey (6-0), it’s time to climb into the cage and close the door.
“All we’re doing is killing time,” she told The Canadian Press. “I’m already ready. If I could have it my way, I would fight her tonight. Just get her up and get it over with.”
Not that Rousey, a two-time Olympian in judo with a bronze medal to her credit, is feeling pressure under the spotlight.
“All this is big and crazy and fantastic but there’s nothing that can really recreate the Olympics. The Olympics come once every four years and usually it’s a chance that you only get once in your lifetime.
“And in judo, there’s much smaller room for error. You slip and you fall on your back once and that’s it — that’s an entire life’s work gone. That’s what real pressure is. All this MMA stuff, there’s a new fight every couple of months. So being that I’ve gone through the Olympic Games not once but twice, I know that I’m entirely capable of not letting those kind of things get to me.
“I’ve always been the type of person that the more pressure there is the more that I fight above myself.”
Rousey, however, has been hard pressed to sit through a second viewing of the first episode of the Primetime episode in which she tearfully details her father’s death.
She remembers the interview as being rough but said she found watching it on TV “really shocking.”
“I didn’t know it was going to be like that. I didn’t know that they were going to put it together so well.”
She says people have talked to her about it every day since. And lots of her friends have asked to see it with her.
“I haven’t been able to watch it once without crying,” she said. “So I just stopped watching it.”
Carmouche (7-2), meanwhile, is open about her homosexuality on the show, breaking more new ground in the UFC fight.
The UFC is gradually expanding the women’s 135-pound weight class.
The manager for Miesha (Cupcake) Tate announced Monday that his fighter has signed a multi-fight contract with the UFC. Her first fight will be April 13 against Cat Zingano.
The matchup, on the live finale card of Season 17 of The Ultimate Fighter, will be the UFC’s second foray into women’s action.
Tate (13-3) went 5-1 in Strikeforce, losing her bantamweight title to Rousey last March.
But former Strikeforce 145-pound champion Cris (Cyborg) Santos apparently wants out of her contract if the UFC doesn’t go ahead with a 145-pound weight class. Santos, who has been sidelined by a drug suspension after testing positive for steroids, says she will fight Rousey at 140 pounds but not 135.
Rousey is unimpressed.
“I think that she’s just desperate for attention and seeing herself becoming irrelevant because she hasn’t had a recorded win in around two years. They’re just whining — we’ve started calling her Cryborg now.
“The UFC offered to pay for her to have Mike Dolce, a really well-renowned and respected nutrionist, work with her. And he said he could get her down healthily to 135. And he even said she’d be in the best shape ever and he thinks that she would beat me at that weight. I disagree with him on that part but I think she’s entirely capable of making that weight healthily.”
Rousey also said she had heard Santos citing her doctor that the weight cut would be hard on her health.
“No one’s buying into that, dude. Where was this concern for your heart and your child-bearing when you were shooting yourself up with steroids? It’s very very convenient to play that card when it works out convenient for you.”
“I’m putting my foot down,” she added. “You’re not coming in overweight, you’re not shooting yourself up with steroids and you’re going to fight for the only title that there is. And we’re not making any exceptions for you because you’re a cheater.”