Ahead of one of the biggest fights in the history of combat sports, the reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champ thought now would be a good time to return the favor.
Pacquiao is currently preparing for his long-awaited showdown with undefeated, five-division world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The iconic fight has brought a whirlwind of hype to the fight community. Rousey is just one in a long line of celebrity visits to Pacquiao, who was also visited by American actor Mark Wahlberg and former NFL star Tim Tebow.
During an appearance on ESPN’s His & Hers, Pacquiao sided with Rousey in the oft-mentioned fantasy MMA matchup between her and Mayweather. He claimed the UFC women’s champ was a strong fighter, and in the cage, he believes she would be strong enough to defeat Money.
Rousey immediately threw support behind Pacquiao after defeating Zingano in record time. The former Olympian continued to treat challengers in the bantamweight division like a McDonald’s drive-thru by locking up another armbar only 14 seconds into the first round.
A few weeks after the fight, she was a guest on ESPN’s First Take, where she picked Pacquiao to defeat Mayweather on May 2 in Las Vegas.
"It’s a very, very close fight, but Manny is a friend of mine," she said. "Hey, I got to stick up for my friends. It’s not just that, but I really believe if Manny doesn’t jump in and if he’s just really relentless pressure and uses all of his speed, I think he’s going to give Floyd an extremely hard time."
We are less than a month away from finding out if Rousey’s prediction comes true. Meanwhile, she is eyeing her sixth consecutive UFC title defense. Rousey faces Bethe Correia in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on August 1.
Jordy McElroy is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMA writer for FanRag Sports and co-founder of The MMA Bros.