'Unprecedented' title fight awaits Ronda Rousey
Mixed martial arts: Media blitz is in full swing for Glendale-trained UFC champion.
Ronda Rousey is interviewed at an open workout with the MMA champion at the Glendale Fighting Club in Glendale on Monday, February 10, 2014. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer) (February 12, 2014)
On Wednesday, Rousey was back at it, joining opponent Sara McMann, along with Daniel Cormier and Rashad Evans, on a conference call ahead of Feb. 22’s UFC 170 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay.
While many of the questions were regarding the same topics from Monday to Wednesday, one constant was Rousey believes the intrigue of her Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight championship against McMann is unwavering and quite significant.
“It’s really unprecedented and I’m really happy to be a part of it,” Rousey said.
It is a bout that pits an undefeated challenger in the 7-0 McMann, who has an Olympic silver medal in freestyle wrestling on her resume, against the undefeated Rousey, who’s 8-0 in mixed martial arts, a former two-time Olympian in judo with a bronze medal to her credit and a path of trailblazing in the world of women’s MMA behind her.
Among the myriad storylines addressed Monday and then readdressed Wednesday were the Olympic collision, the matchup of wrestling against judo, the quick two-month turnaround for Rousey and McMann’s 10-month layoff, as well as Rousey’s burgeoning Hollywood career and the distraction it could play.
Prior to Rousey’s Dec. 28 title defense against Miesha Tate at UFC 168, she filmed two movies — “The Expendables 3” and “Fast and Furious 7” — which was part of a 10-month long layoff. Now, however, she has just two months to prepare. The short turnaround is much more preferable for the unbeaten champion, though.
“The last fight, it was definitely not the optimal training situation,” said Rousey, who’s trained under Edmond Tarverdyan at GFC for the duration of her MMA career. “Whereas for this fight, I just feel like I’ve been improving all the time. I started this camp in the best shape of my life.”
McMann, whose time away from the cage was due to personal reasons, said she doesn’t believe the time away will hinder her come fight time.
“I think if I had been injured, it would be more difficult,” she said, “but I’ve been able to train every day, so it doesn’t really feel like time off when you’re training with guys everyday.”
Unlike her last fight in which her movie roles had been known, news just recently broke roughly three weeks before her bout with McMann that Rousey had signed on to have a part in “Entourage” the movie, which begins in mid-March, and will have a part in the movie based on the book “The Athena Project,” with a date not yet set. As for the timing of the news, Rousey thinks it might, at the least, be a good selling point.
“It helps promote the fight itself, so maybe a lot more people will be tuning in that maybe wouldn’t have with this news coming out,” she said.
And with back-to-back training camps, Rousey said it will also offer her some time to relax.
“I’ll be happy to take a break for a while and sit in a camera trailer for a minute,” Rousey said.
But for now, Rousey’s eyes are on the prize of defending her UFC title for the third time against a challenger she believes to be her toughest yet.
“It’s a big challenge,” Rousey said. “It’s the biggest one I’ve had to this date.”
Alas, one more prevalent storyline has been Rousey having to transfer from a fight against Tate, a bitter rival whom she had no love lost, to McMann, a decorated competitor for which she shares nothing but mutual respect.
“Regardless of how nice and saintly Sara is, I’ve worked my whole life for what I have,” Rousey said. “No matter how cute and sweet she is, she’s trying to rip away everything I’ve worked for; that’s not very nice and sweet.”