Ronda Rousey Out to Make a Statement

November 18, 2011

In just one short year Ronda Rousey has gone from Olympic bronze medal judoka to one of the fastest rising stars in women’s MMA.

After winning her first five fights (three amateur, two pro) she was given the opportunity to showcase her skills on national television as a part of the August Strikeforce Challengers event.

She did not disappoint.

“To actually get on Showtime and fight on what I consider the biggest stage of women’s MMA right now, I feel like was a great achievement for me,” she said. “I put a lot of work in and after a year competing I was able to reach my first initial goal. It was very satisfying for me.

“I feel like I’m improving every single day, especially in the striking department. A lot of people haven’t seen me strike, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working on it. I feeling I’m in better shape for every fight. I’m taking my MMA career much more seriously than I did with Judo.”

As Rousey mentioned, she has yet to showcase her stand-up skills because she’s finished all six of her opponents in less than one minute via submission.

When asked if she felt somehow disappointed by the lack of cage time she’s had in her fights, Rousey replied, “Why would I be disappointed with winning as quickly and efficiently as possible, especially with my mom there watching?

“I like getting in and out unscathed. People like to see a fast, exciting match. I want to go into every fight with people stopping what they’re doing so they can watch me fight. I want it to be always every time I fight for people to be expecting something amazing.”

Rousey will get an opportunity to keep her streak alive at Friday’s Strikeforce Challengers 20 event at The Palms in Las Vegas against fellow up-and-comer Julia Budd.

“I think stylistically, it’s a great match-up for me,” said Rousey. “I’ve seen her fight with girls who have more of a grappling style like Shana Olsen. Even though I don’t think Shana is as good as a grappler as I am, Julia had a hard time keeping her at distance.

“I feel like even though Julia is a very good striker, I don’t think she be able to keep me at a distance for three rounds.”

If Rousey sounds confident, it is because she is. As she told, it’s not only the skill she brings to women’s MMA that sets her apart, but her mentality.

“I feel like no one has the right to beat me no matter who they are or what their record is or experience they have,” she said. “I deserve to win because I’ve worked harder than any other girl out there.

“I know that for a fact. There’s no way any of these girls – regardless of how they look or reputation – could have ever put as much time, energy, and sacrifices in training for martial arts as I have.”

While many think that the winner of Friday’s fight will be next in line for a featherweight title shot against Cris “Cyborg” Santos, Rousey sees it differently.

“I’m planning on, win or lose, dropping down and win the 135-pound belt first before I go after the 145-pound title,” said Rousey. “I definitely want to win both belts and be the undisputed best woman fighter in the world in MMA.

“A fight with Cris Cyborg would be the most important of my career, and I want to treat it like the Olympic Games and be entirely peaked when that time comes. The 145-pound division doesn’t really have that many women signed in Strikeforce, so I’d be better off moving down and going for the 135 title. And once me and Cyborg finally fight it would be two titleholders against each other and the fight itself would even be a bigger deal.”

Regardless of the future of Strikeforce and women’s MMA in the Zuffa era, Rousey is firmly affixed on taking care of business at Strikeforce Challengers 20 and letting her performance speak for itself.

“I’m just going to go in and do my job and bring as many spectators as possible,” she said. “That’s all I can do. I only have power over a few things. I’m going to do what I can, and whatever I don’t have control over I won’t worry about.

“(Dana White) is a smart business man. If he sees potential for women’s MMA to make the UFC money, he’s going to come around. I need to make a point for myself and for female mixed martial artists. I need to show that we are capable of being just as exciting, skilled, and entertaining as the men.”

E-mail Mick Hammond
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