After the massive success of UFC 189 which featured an insane action packed fight between Rory MacDonald and Welterweight Champion Robbie Lawler and the drama fuelled epic which was Chad Mendes and Conor McGregor, one has to wonder; what the hell can the UFC do to top that? Enter the reigning, defending, undisputed UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion (cue the Buffer 360) “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey.
If you were to have told the MMA world in 2012 that the biggest name in sport would be Ronda Rousey, you would have been laughed out of message boards the whole internet over. After all, Dana White said in 2011 that we were “never” going to see women in the UFC. Only four years later, White would write the foreword to Rousey’s autobiography, My Fight/Your Fight.
But why is it that Rousey has managed to ascend to the top of the sport in such a short amount of time? Is it her dominating performances in the cage? Is it her charming media presence? Is it her looks? Is it how relatable she is? I would check all of the above on that questionnaire.
For her next title defense on August 1st, Rousey will take Bethe Correira in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. In all honesty, it doesn’t seem that Correira has all that much to offer Rousey but that’s part of the fun. Correira has pissed off Rousey more than any other opponent (read on to see why) and there’s no other fighter who fights better angry than Rousey. Now then, I present to you the top 15 little-known facts about Ronda Rousey.
15. Her Mother Doesn’t Care For Her Boyfriends
Fair warning to any bachelors who are trying to date Ronda Rousey: (and if you are, the envy is strong in this writer) you’re going to have a hard time impressing her mother. Your name is also going to be changed to Bob.
Rousey’s mother, AnnMaria De Mars, is the 1984 56-KG Judo World Champion and is also the first American to win the Judo World Championships. After seeing any interview with her you realize where Rousey got her intense demeanor from. Most amazingly of all, De Mars doesn’t put the time to remember any of her four daughters’ boyfriends’ names because as De Mars said, “What’s the point of learning his name if he’s not going to stick around?”
Now Mrs. De Mars don’t you think that’s a little… actually, that’s pretty good logic to me.
14. Yes, She Did Get Her Nickname From Roddy Piper
Every successful fighter has a great nickname to go along with their awesome talent and Ronda Rousey is no different. Sticking to the letter R, Rousey decided on”Rowdy” to be her nickname. Not only does it fit her fighting persona, but it is a tribute to her love of professional wrestling and in particular to the original Rowdy one, the late great Roddy Piper.
Before anybody accuses Rousey of gimmick infringement, let it be known that Rousey actually asked Piper’s permission to use the nickname and being a huge fan of her, Piper happily allowed her to take on the Rowdy legacy. With his recent passing and Rousey doing the name incredible justice, it seems Piper made an excellent decision.
In a touching story by Rousey, she told Ariel Helwani of FOX Sports 1 that the last time she spoke with Piper was just days before his death and of her most recent title defense.
“I actually got a chance to sit down and talk to him for a couple of hours. I didn’t have time for anything and I was like ‘I have to go see Roddy, I have to go to Piper’s pit’ and we talked for hours,” Rousey said. “I promised him I’m going to do the name proud, I’m going to beat this chick. I told him that and I hope him and my dad had a good time watching it together.”
13. She’s Not A Fan of USA Judo
Most fighters are quick to praise anybody who has helped them along the way and will never speak ill of their former trainers. Ronda Rousey though, is not like most fighters.
Even though she competed in several Judo tournaments representing the USA in her long career, Rousey has bashed the USA Judo organization for mistreating their athletes and not giving them nearly as much money as they should.
Rousey’s hatred for the organization came to a peak in a story she told in her autobiography. While cutting weight in Brazil for the 2007 Judo World Championships, Rousey stumbled into the extravagant hotel where the USA Judo executives were staying while USA Judo couldn’t even afford to give their athletes proper functioning scales to test their weight. Don’t bother asking Rousey for a donation USA Judo, she’s not interested.
12. Her Armbar Perfection Didn’t Come Easy
When I wake up in the morning, doing submission holds is the last thing on my mind. I want to hit the snooze button and roll over in my sheets for that extra five minutes of rest and I’m surely not alone. Well then let’s all be grateful that we didn’t have AnnMaria De Mars as a mother.
At a Q&A with Dana White to promote the UFC’s first event in China, Rousey told a story of how her mother would on occasion wake her up by slapping a hold or an armbar on her and forcing her to escape. Just to switch it up, De Mars would also wake Ronda up and demand she apply an armbar of her own immediately. And while she can’t wake Rousey up with armbars anymore, De Mars will sneak up behind her daughter and put her in a rear naked choke when they hang out. You know, like all mothers do!
11. She’s Kind Of Sort Of A Huge Nerd
If you were to judge Rousey by the way she acts around fight time, you would never think that she spends any of her free time playing video games or watching cartoons. Rather, you would think her idea of fun would be grappling with bears in the Russian wilderness a la Zangief from Street Fighter.
But no, Rousey is definitely a geek girl. While she was growing up, Rousey said that she lost a whole bunch of weight because her diet would only consist of graham crackers and milk as she didn’t want to distract herself from beating the crap out of Gary Oak. While she also loves Dragon Ball Z and other fandoms, it seems that Pokemon stands above them all. And in case you were wondering, Mew is her favourite Pokemon.
10. She Was A Bartender Before Training in MMA
As most of the general public knows, Olympic athletes don’t actually get a lot of money for competing in the most gruelling sporting event of their lives. As a result, they’re usually forced into taking odd jobs here and there to bring in some cash. For Rousey, it was bartending.
At a bar called Gladstones in California, Rousey worked as a bartender for a while at a point in her life where she wanted to relax and enjoy herself after training for the 2008 Olympics. She even created her own drink which she called “Party Like A Barack Star” (it was 2008 after all). It was only after watching Gina Carano fight Julia Kedzie at EliteXC: Destiny where Ronda decided to give this MMA thing a shot.
9. Her Records Are Ridiculous
Only 11 fights into her MMA career and already Ronda Rousey has carved out an incredible legacy for herself. Not only has she established as one of the top fighters in the entire sport, but she’s done so in spectacular fashion. How exactly? Well let’s count them off:
– Holds the record for fastest Championship win in UFC history with her 14 second victory over Cat Zingano at UFC 184.
– Tied for the second fastest victory in UFC championship history for her 16 second win over Alexis Davis at UFC 175.
– Fastest title fight turn around in UFC history (two title fights in 56 days).
She has also finished every fight in the first round except for her second fight with Meisha Tate, but really I think Rousey just wanted to make Tate suffer a little more by beating her in three rounds. Whoever the next UFC Women’s Bantamweight champion is, they will have quite a legacy to follow.
8. She Almost Left Her Trainer Before The Magic Happened
A fighter’s trainer always has a crucial role on the development of their athletes as is evidenced by fighters like Mike Tyson, Georges St-Pierre and Demetrious Johnson. Fortunately for Rousey she found the perfect coach for her in the form of Edmond Tarverdyan. Except she almost didn’t, as she talks about in her autobiography My Fight/Your Fight.
When she first started training at Tarverdyan’s Glendale Fighting Club, Rousey was usually brushed off by the Armenian as he was busy training other fighters and one day when Rousey asked him to hold pads for her Tarverdyan said “No I don’t want to sweat in this shirt”.
Furious, Rousey left the gym and was about to find a new place to train but Tarverdyan called Rousey up and apologized to her for his misunderstood comments. Tarverdyan promised her that he would devote time to training her at the gym from now on and because of that, we have the beast that is reigning over the UFC.
7. Her Biggest Failure Still Eats At Her
To able to train for an event as massive as the Olympic games, you have devote every fibre of your being to being the best athlete you can possibly be. Sometimes even your best effort isn’t enough and you still fail, like Ronda Rousey did in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
While she won the bronze medal, Rousey still feels that she failed her gold medal dream, as she explains in her book: “That Olympic loss eats at me. It will follow me forever.” No matter how times she defends her UFC title, that loss in China will never leave her mind.
6. Avoid Her When She Is Cutting Weight
There’s nobody better to ask about how Rousey is around fight time than her own family, in particular her sister, ESPN Reporter Maria Burns Ortiz.
In a article detailing some behind the scenes stories about her sister, Ortiz tells us how Rousey is two weeks before fight time: “During that time, you don’t even want to make eye contact with her. She’s started cutting weight, so she’s hungry. She’s training at full speed, so she’s tired and irritable. She walks into the Octagon with nerves of steel — but that’s because she did all of her stressing out two weeks earlier.”
5. Don’t Interrupt Her Movie Watching Experience
We’ve all been there: you’re at the movies and there’s some jackass(es) who won’t shut the hell up and won’t stop kicking your seat. At the most, you’ll probably tell them to cut it out. Rousey takes it to a whole other level and lives out our fantasies for us.
While watching the movie Juno, Rousey kept getting nudged in the head by a girl behind her for the whole movie. Once the movie was over, Rousey slipped off the girl’s boot and whipped it across the room. Her male friends tried to get her to pick up the boot, but Rousey refused and they pushed her. That was the final mistake they made. Rousey, a cousin of hers and her best friend Marina Shaffir (who is also a current MMA fighter) all beat the crap out of the four men and the girl for good measure. There’s some stuff with the cops also, but you gotta watch Rousey tell it.
4. She Overcame A Speech Impediment In Her Youth
Out of all people to have a speech disorder, Ronda Rousey is one of the last people you would think to have one. While she’s very well spoken now, at a point in her life her speech was incomprehensible.
For the longest time Rousey couldn’t find the word to say while in her head she knew exactly what she wanted to say. It was only at the age of six where she said her first sentence, way past the average age for most people. But just like any other challenge, she trained to defeat it and she claimed her voice.
3. She Wants To Be At WrestleMania… Again
From her nickname of “Rowdy” to her house of fighters being referred to as the “Four Horsewomen”, it’s pretty obvious that Rousey loves her some pro wrestling. Even so, it was pretty shocking to Rousey getting into the ring at WrestleMania 31 to help The Rock take on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
That flirtation with the WWE has seemingly set off a powder keg for Rousey as she has claimed multiple times that she will somehow find a way back to WrestleMania 32, despite Dana White’s promise that Rousey will not do anything physical for the WWE. Dana White has waffled on lots of topics in the past, so let’s hope he flips on this.
2. Her Father Committed Suicide
Rousey has stated in the build-up to her upcoming fight that Bethe Correia is her most hated opponent she ever faced in her life. Yeah, she hates her even more than Meisha Tate. How the hell is that possible? Well, Tate never made a suicide joke to Rousey.
When she was just eight years old, Rousey’s father committed suicide. Obviously, this has made suicide an especially sensitive topic for Ronda and as a result, Correia has drawn the full rage of the Rowdy one. While the UFC didn’t discipline Correia for her insensitive remarks, I’m 100% certain that Rousey will do everything in her power to make her pay.
1. She’s A Fighter, First and Foremost
With all of the pro wrestling gigs, movie offers and nearly everybody with a pulse offering Ronda Rousey work, there’s a huge concern among the MMA fanbase that Rousey will be leaving the sport in order to focus on other things. That’s not gonna happen anytime soon.
“I’m a fighter, I’m that first.” That was her statement on The Fighter and The Kid podcast. If that wasn’t enough confirmation, Rousey also said in an interview before her UFC 184 fight that she will retire when she feels that she’s the best fighter of all time, male or female. If she keeps finishing women off in mere seconds, it’ll be hard to deny her that title.
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