“I come from a very outspoken family of very empowered women, and when I was training as a kid, I kinda got bumped around to a lot of these fighter houses where I was hanging out with all men in their mid-20’s ever since I was around 13 or so,” said Rousey. “So I always kinda had more of a brash sense of humor and rapport with my teammates, and that compounded with very empowered and educated women in my family, and it kind of turned into the way I present myself today, which I admit is not very normal, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.”
It’s not, and for all the attention paid to her looks and her outspoken views on the world in and out of the sport, the bottom line is clear – she can fight, she can hurt you, and no one has found the solution to her puzzle thus far. Rousey doesn’t believe Tate will be the one to do it either.
“I think the style of fighter that I would have a problem with would be a very high quality striker with very good footwork and takedown defense,” said Rousey. “Whereas she (Tate) is a wrestler with decent submissions, but she doesn’t have better takedowns than me, she doesn’t have better submissions than me, I’m much more accustomed to fighting wresters than she is to fighting judo players, and most of her wins have been by decision or submission. There’s no way she’s going to submit me, and if she’s just hoping to last 25 minutes without getting submitted by me and win by decision, I think that’s just ridiculous. I never take a fight that I don’t think I can win, and I think this fight is extremely winnable for me, and I think she also knows that too, which is why she’s been resisting the whole idea from the very beginning.”
Pardon the use of the UFC catch phrase, but this is “as real as it gets.” And it may be in stark contrast to the way Rousey was before making it to the world stage as a judo player. In an interview before her Strikeforce debut last August, she told me that “I couldn’t even speak in full sentences until I was six years old. I was very shy, and all through high school I wore baggy clothes every day just to cover up my arms because I was just embarrassed. The self-confidence that people see in me now has developed over time. It didn’t come to me from the beginning. It came mostly from doing well in sports. I felt that if I was amazing in something, I’m actually a cool person and I should think more of myself. It’s something about medals – having a tangible thing to hold in your hand, it’s like ‘oh look, I’m awesome.’”
By then, the world was already catching on to what she brought to the judo world, and as soon as she made the move to MMA in 2010, everything just took off, with Rousey garnering Jon Jones-esque attention for a still growing sport. Her mother and sisters are undoubtedly proud of her, but the one who probably would have been beaming the most would be her father Ron, who tragically took his life when his daughter was just eight years old.
Afflicted with Bernard-Soulier syndrome, a rare blood disorder that kept him from healing properly, Ronda’s father saw a broken back worsen to the point where he was told he had just two years to live, and instead of having his family watch him die, he took matters into his own hands. But before he died, he gave her the tools she needed to succeed.
“I was raised with the mentality that if you’re going to do anything, you’re gonna do it to be the best at it,” she said last year. “Ever since I was a little kid, my dad told me that if you’re gonna swim, and you’re gonna be a swimmer, you’re gonna win the Olympics in swimming. And I switched from swimming to judo, and I was like I’m in judo, I’m gonna be a judo player and I’m gonna win the Olympics in judo. And when I switched to MMA, I completely have that same intent. So it’s not a big change for me; I’m just trying to continue the same trend that I’ve been trying to follow since I was a little kid.”