Despite not having a fight scheduled, steamrolling UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has a lot on her plate. The infamous and undefeated WMMA pioneer is set to appear in three big budget Hollywood movies in the next year, making her the biggest crossover star that the growing sport has ever seen.
With “Expendables 3” coming out a week from Friday (August 15, 2014) and her roles in “Entourage” and “Fast and Furious 7” slated for release in 2015, the success of these movies will largely tell how far Rousey can go in acting. Huge box office numbers could undoubtedly lead to her early exit from MMA, but it’s impossible to say her hectic schedule has affected her performance inside the Octagon.
Her last two fights were her first-ever knockout wins, and they lasted a total of 82 seconds.
It’s that intense drive that has earned Rousey the lofty perch she enjoys today. Speaking in an interview with ESPN, she said she simply can’t sit still. Instead, she aspires to be the best in everything she does, whether it be fighting, acting, or bartending:
“I’m just addicted to caffeine, and I have a problem with resting. I’m back in the gym two days after a fight. I’d rather fill my calendar in between fights than go on vacation. I never aspired to be second. I was taught as a kid that you can do whatever you want in this world, so why not be the best in the world at it? Even when I was bartending, I wanted to be the world’s best, most efficient and charming bartender. That’s how I do things.”
Love her or hate her, Rousey has the attitude of a true champion, someone who was trained to be an Olympic medal winner from an early age by her mother, an accomplished judoka in her own right.
“Rowdy’s” goal was never to be an acting star, but when the door opened, she believed there was no reason to do it if she wasn’t shooting for the top:
“I didn’t grow up wanting to be an action star. I just didn’t think it was in the cards. Now that it’s a possibility, I’m like, “Screw it, I don’t give a s—, if The Rock can become the world’s highest-grossing actor, I can have that same goal.” I want to be the highest-grossing actor in the world someday.”
That’s a goal of a whole different kind, and one that may be even harder than being the greatest fighter in the history of women’s MMA. For now, Rousey may have already reached that level.
A huge rumored match-up with former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Gina Carano looms large, but many believe that it would merely be a hype-filled squash match because Carano has been out of the cage for nearly five years pursuing an acting career of her own, albeit to mixed results. Rousey did her part to build up the fight as legitimate:
“My coach said from the start that Gina is the worst style matchup for me. I’m not just saying that. I don’t have to worry about fighters outmuscling or overwhelming me or catching me on the mat. The only thing I have to worry about is the one-punch knockout.
And out of all of the women in MMA, Gina has the best feel for distance and timing. That’s not something you lose because you made a couple of movies. You’ll always have that. And she was the first girl I ever saw that had a one-punch standing knockout. The other chicks who are known for knocking people out, those are really TKOs: They got overwhelmed on the ground, and then the ref stopped them. She’s the one who can knock you out while standing on her feet with one punch. That’s what makes her the most dangerous.
I really do believe that she’s the hardest competitor I could ever find to fight. Even if you don’t believe that, even if you think she took too much time off and it’d be a quick fight, to be honest, that fight would be too hot not to watch. It doesn’t really matter if it’ll be competitive or not. And if you do watch it, you’re going to be surprised: It’ll be one of greatest fights to ever happen in the history of women’s MMA.”
That’s certainly one point of view, but for Rousey to say that Carano would be the hardest competition she could fight may be a bit off base. After all, bouts with dangerous (and in-shape) opponents like Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino and Holly Holm could be up next for “Rowdy.”
Does Carano even have a puncher’s chance, or is Rousey simply hyping up her next one-sided first round finish?