The woman credited with breaking down the barrier for females to compete on the sport’s biggest stage was in attendance this past weekend in Las Vegas for the UFC Fan Expo and was absolutely one of the most sought-out attractions for the MMA faithful during the experience.
Since joining the professional ranks in 2011, the former Olympic judoka has steadily risen to obtain one of the highest profiles in mixed martial arts. With an undefeated record, a collection of championships and a string of wrecked opponents left in her wake, Rousey’s trajectory doesn’t appear to be going off course any time soon.
That being said, there is a modesty to the way the 26-year-old Californian has handled the pressure and the spotlight. Throughout her climb, rather than take credit for the sea change in WMMA, Rousey has given the credit to female pioneer Gina Carano.
While there is certainly truth to what “Conviction” did for women fighting in mixed martial arts, Rousey’s impact has spawned something completely different. Yet, where “Rowdy” still pulls up short before claiming these changes are all her doing, she certainly acknowledges there is a shift happening for women in the sport.
“It’s amazing, and it really works out fortunately that these girls are a lot better off now," Rousey told Bleacher Report. "It’s great that women can actually make careers now in mixed martial arts and make good money doing what they love to do. But I know they haven’t really given me very many props for it, and that’s cool because I haven’t done it for appreciation. I’ve done it for myself, and I have my own selfish motives too.
“I can’t really hate on them too much, but it would be nice to hear it without a grain of salt from Alexis Davis for once or after the women’s debut in the UFC, Cat Zingano wasn’t saying, 'eh…there are a lot of holes in her game.’ At the same time, it’s not something I’m expecting. We are competitors and competitive by nature. I don’t expect them to be bringing me sunshine, lollipops and daisies when all they want to do is smash my face in and take everything I’ve worked so hard to accomplish. At least they are being real about it.”
The next installment of the “Rousey Show” will kick off when the women’s 135-pound champion squares off with nemesis Miesha Tate later this year at UFC 168. In addition to the upcoming title tilt, the two bitter rivals also went head-to-head as coaches in the 18th installment of The Ultimate Fighter.
The show wrapped up filming last week and is set to debut on September 4 on the Fox Sports 1 network. And where the tension between Rousey and Tate has been in the past, the champion believes this season will be nothing short of insanity.
“I’m happy it’s over and I’m concerned everyone is going to think I’m a psychopath because there is no way everything that went on could possibly be shown,” Rousey added. “There are going to be a lot of actions that are unexplained. “
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.