Rousey defended the Strikeforce title once, defeating Sarah Kaufman. Shortly after that defense, that title morphed into the UFC women's bantamweight title when the UFC shuttered Strikeforce. Rousey has defended the UFC title once, stopping Liz Carmouche in the first round at UFC 157.
Rousey was not originally slated to face Tate at UFC 168. When Tate lost to Cat Zingano in April of this year, that victory earned Zingano a title shot and a coaching stint opposite Rousey for season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter. However, a knee injury knocked Zingano out of action, and the UFC booked Tate as her replacement.
Rousey and Tate have always had a contentious relationship, and that showed through during TUF 18. It has also been evident in the few media obligations the two have undertaken in the lead up to their rematch.
Rousey knows that a dominant win on December 28 will most likely close the Miesha Tate chapter of her career, and that's something Rousey addressed during Tuesday's UFC 168 media call,"It'll be nice to not have to deal with her anymore. I really don't want to have put myself in a situation where anyone can instigate me every again. If you've noticed, I've never had a problem with any other opponent that I ever had."
Rousey also made it known that her never disguised animosity for Tate does have its limits and that in some ways, she is actually happy for Tate, "It's not like my dislike for her outweighs how much I care for women's MMA. It's not like I want her to be permanently injured or retired. It would be nice not have to deal with her any more, but the notoriety that she's gained from this rivalry has helped all the other girls out, so I'm happy that she's done better because of it."
Rousey's path to UFC 168 was a busy one. Immediately after filming TUF, she flew to Bulgaria to film "The Expendables 3." Once that film wrapped, Rousey moved on to a role in "Fast and Furious 7."
The UFC champion feels that the filming came at just the right time, "I think that everything happened at the exact perfect time. I think it was good for me to kind of get away and change the environment I was in for a little bit.
It's kind of hard to change your mindset when you're in the same environment, so I kind of got to do a little bit of a reset, and I was still training really hard, and I flew out a couple of teammates from TUF to Bulgaria. It really reinvigorated my drive, especially when I got back."
For those that think the movie roles will prove to be a detriment for Rousey heading into UFC 168, she couldn't disagree more. In fact, taking those back-to-back assignments was part of her plan to up the pressure on herself, "I already won the title. I already beat Miesha. How can I get more pumped for this the second time around? I wanted to raise the stakes. I wanted to make it more difficult for myself. So, you know what? I'm going to make two movies, and I'm going to beat this chick."
On December 28, we'll find out if her plan will pay dividends.
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