When it comes to superstars in sports, the UFC has got one of the brightest, most transcendent athletes on the planet in Ronda Rousey. The women's bantamweight champion is in high demand and has projects going that include movies, commercials, modeling, charity work and books, in addition to her outstanding MMA career. PPV estimates from the last event she headlined are somewhere around the 900K mark, impressive considering cards that do those kind of numbers generally have a French Canadian, a Spider or a sweaty WWE behemoth in the main event.
Rousey is a promotional juggernaut and keeps an exceptionally busy schedule with promotional tours, interviews, appearances, talk show guest spots and any other number of PR assignments for the UFC. Organization president, Dana White has often lauded the work she does on behalf of the company, saying that she works tirelessly to promote whatever they need her to.
She is also opinionated, unapologetic in her views and headstrong, inspiring the MMA fanbase to either love her or hate her. This fact is not lost on Ronda, and in an appearance on the Transcription courtesy of MMA Fighting's Shaun Al-Shatti:yesterday, she discussed her role in the UFC marketing machine and how she feels fans will remember her.
"I don't even think I'm going to know what is going on right now or realize what is going on right now until afterward, until it's all done.
I could just try to do the best that I can in the moment, but I don't really think that any of us really comprehend what's going on right now until we're looking at it in hindsight. And that's the kind of thing, I think it's kind of funny. There's so many people who just live to hate me, but when I'm gone, they're going to miss me. They really are.
I'm not the protagonist. I'm the antagonist, because the protagonist just reacts. They do nothing. The whole storyline, the whole everything that goes on, is completely dependent on the antagonist.
I'm the one who's forcing everybody to do something, and so I like to think of myself as more of the heel, the bad guy who you somehow sometimes root for. You can't help it a little bit sometimes, but sometimes you hate them. I think the fact that mixed emotions come out is one of the more interesting things. I'm not trying to have everyone like me. I'm trying to have everybody care about what I'm doing."
During the interview, Rousey sort of put an expiration date on her fighting career, stating that there is still more for her to accomplish inside the Octagon, but that she didn't want to be fighting in her thirties.
"It just seems unfinished. My career, there's more left to do. I don't feel like I'm done yet. Because with the Olympics, it's just like you win the gold medal and you're done. With the UFC, when am I really done?
But I'm not going to be doing this in my thirties. I don't want to be fighting into my thirties. By thirties, I mean like 31, 32."
Invariably, as with any Rousey interview spot, the conversation turned to Cris Cyborg and a possible showdown between the two powerhouses of WMMA. Ronda once again stated that if the fight takes place, it has to be at 135, and hinted that she had difficulty believing that the Brazilian Invicta featherweight champion might not be done with performance enhancing drugs.
"That's the thing, when you look at these people from before, when they're using, and after, when they're not, they look entirely different. And ‘Cyborg' looks and weighs exactly the same. If she gets off, it'll be very easy for her to make weight, from what we've seen with every single other person that's gotten off.
I can't say with proof or anything, but if you look the exact same as you did when you were using, then what changed?"