Ronda Rousey’s impact on the world of MMA can’t be undersold. The former bantamweight champion ushered the sport to new levels of notability and notoriety, making her MMA’s first true cross-over star.
She did this off the back of a dominant spell between 2011 and 2016 where she racked up a 12-0 record. That record was all finishes, with many of them coming in less than a minute of action.
Rousey’s record, and mystique, was undone by Holly Holm at UFC 193 in 2015. There ‘Rowdy’ suffered a devastating KO. After a year-long hiatus Rousey returned to face Amanda Nunes for the bantamweight title. She was TKO’d in less than a minute.
After this Rousey left the cage and decided to give pro wrestling a try. In 2017 she signed a full-time contract with the WWE.
Since then she’s had over 50 matches with the WWE and has won the Raw Women’s Championship, Women’s Royal Rumble and SmackDown Women’s Championship.
She recently appeared on The Kurt Angle show to discuss her career. When host, former WWE star and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle, asked her which was tougher, MMA or pro wrestling, she had an interesting answer.
According to Rousey, the ‘realism’ of MMA is what will always make that a tougher activity in her mind.
“The realism to me is like that extreme anxiety,” she revealed (ht MMA News). “And I remember leading up to the Bethe Correia fight I was like, every single time I go into a fight I’m like Why do I do this? Why do I do this to myself? This is the absolute worst, I hate it.
“And then like, afterwards, I was, you know, giving everybody high fives all the way out. This is Rocky 4 man!
“That those highs and lows and this, you know, peaks and valleys and the crazy anxiety with a huge payoff or you know, the huge not payoff is what really makes it real for me, not like injuries and stuff like that. I don’t know how I got down that path.”
Rousey went on to say that is was “much more difficult doing actual competition than staged competition.” Though, she made it clear that she “absolutely loves” the staged aspect of pro-wrestling.
“We get to do all of the fun parts of like, what’s the coolest way this fight could possibly go? Like I remember always thinking to myself that I wanted to do a Sode Tsurikomi Goshi, which is a throw that I didn’t do all the time in MMA. Now think of all the different ways that I would get to do it, and it just never came up, you know.
“But like in wrestling, I get to do it all the time. I get to do all the matches that like yeah, you know what I mean? You can make the fight as entertaining as possible. Instead of like, what? It just ends. And fun.
“Why is it bad to say it’s like fun? If people ask like, easy I’m like, yeah, it’s physically difficult. But everyone’s working together to make sure it works out. It’s not like everybody is conspiring against you to stop you from reaching your goal, you know, in that moment.”
At 35 and with a lucrative career in wrestling and acting it seems unlikely that Rousey will ever return to the fighting cage. Though, she did recently hint that a bout with fellow fighter turned performer Gina Carano might entice her back into a real fight.