Relatively new to the women’s MMA scene, former Olympic judoka Ronda Rousey has seen her star rise tremendously since making her debut last year. Though the 24-year-old has looked nothing less than impressive in the cage, winning all of the four professional fights to her name via first round armbar, her newfound prominence has as much, if not more, to do with her brashness outside of the cage.
Rousey talked her way into a rivalry and a title shot against Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate, and she’s ruffled the feathers of several of her peers along the way by virtue of her inclination to stir the pot. Though she’s caused plenty of her fellow female fighters to bristle over the past year, Rousey herself goes largely unaffected by the confrontations she gets involved in, according to a recent conversation she had with MMAJunkie.
“It’s not personal to me at all,” Rousey said. “I’m sure it’s personal to Miesha. I really think they should be grateful to me because they’ve gotten more press, more interviews, more exposure than they ever have before in their entire careers. I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much, but a lot of it is the result of me purposefully trying to get on everybody’s nerves. So they take it personally, but I don’t. I’ve had so many girl fighters come up to me and tell me they appreciate me and thank me. The only girls that seem to have a problem with me are either current champions or are former champions. I just think they have this sense of entitlement that everyone should kiss their ass and respect them all the time, and they’re not used to dealing with any kind of confrontation.”
In Rousey’s eyes, she’s bringing the sport to a new level of recognition, closer to a point in time she hopes for where women’s MMA fighting is less an occasional novelty and more a regularly-occurring, anticipated part of mixed martial arts culture.
“The work’s not done yet,” Rousey said. “The fight hasn’t happened yet, and I want women to be able to headline fights on a regular basis, not like every three or four years. So I really want to go out and win this fight in extremely impressive fashion, and so people are looking forward to the next women’s fight.
“I think this is a big opportunity to prove that women’s MMA is not dependent on one or two individuals, that it is an actual sport with a pool of athletes.”
Rousey and Tate will meet to dispute the title on March 3, headlining a Strikeforce event to be held in Columbus, Ohio in conjunction with the annual Arnold Sports Festival.