As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word. For anyone familiar with Women's MMA, you've likely heard the name "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey before. If not, you most certainly will. Rousey's MMA record stands at 3-0-0 with all 3 wins coming by way of submission (armbar). And get this...the total combined time of those three fights? 99 seconds - nearly the same amount of time it took me to do the math...
Rousey was kind enough to spare some of her personal time and agreed to participate in the MMAPlayground Interview Series with our own, Kyle Galvin (aka Kpro). The full interview is below.
* * * * *MMAPG:
Ronda, thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions! You're scheduled to take on Julia Budd on the Strikeforce Challengers card on November 18th. How is your training going?ROUSEY:
Training is going great. I'm in the best shape of my life, and after competing in two Olympics, that's saying a lot.MMAPG:
For readers who may not know, you've won multiple Judo gold medals at the Pan American games and also became the first female American to medal in Judo at the Olympics. As you could have easily continued training for the 2012 Olympics, what made you decide to turn to MMA?ROUSEY:
I just wasn't happy with the lifestyle required to be a world class judoka. I reached a point where I knew what it would take to win the Olympics, and I just wasn't willing to be miserable for 4 years so I could be happy on one day. Doing MMA, I enjoy every day of training, love where I live, love the team of people working to help me win, and am just a more content person in general.MMAPG:
Where are you training for this fight and who is helping you prepare for your upcoming bout?ROUSEY:
I'm training at Glendale Fighting Club with Edmond Taverdyan; at Hayastan MMA with Gokor Chivichiyan and Gene Lebell; at Results Personal Training and Sk Golden Boys Wrestling Club with Leo Frincu; and at Dynamix MMA with both Henry Akins and Anthony Hardonk.MMAPG:
Julia Budd has a Muay Thai background and you've never shied away from fighting opponents of any style. Has your training been different for this fight than any others?ROUSEY:
My training for this fight has actually been a lot like our camp to prepare for Charmaine Tweet, who is Muay Thai world champ at 155 lbs. We expect Julia to approach the fight with a similar strategy, as they have the same fighting style.MMAPG:
I'm cautious of my arms as I type this because in your amateur and pro career you are 6-0 with 6 armbars in a total of just over 3 minutes! I can't imagine opponents have been lining up and knocking down your door for a fight. Has it been hard to find opponents?ROUSEY:
It has been very difficult finding opponents since the beginning. Luckily, I have Darin Harvey, a very persistent manager that would still keep trying even after a dozen or so girls agreeing to fights and then pulling out. But, now that I'm signed with Strikeforce, we don't have to worry so much about finding opponents.MMAPG:
What motivates you to put in the hours in the gym and compete at the highest level of the sport on a daily basis?ROUSEY:
The way I was raised was that you can pick whatever you want to do in life, just try to be the best in the world at it. I'm a very proud person and if I'm putting my pride on the line every time I fight, there's no way in hell I'm going to allow anyone else to work harder than me. Plus, I love to train now. When I have to take a break I'm bored out of my mind. I don't know what to do with myself when I'm not fighting. It's my niche - it's just what I'm meant to do.MMAPG:
For our readers, would you mind giving us a rundown of what a day in the life of Ronda Rousey is like during training camp?ROUSEY:
I wake up at the ass crack of dawn, eat the most bomb oatmeal concoction in the world, feed my dog and brush my teeth. Then I jump in the car and go to Coffee Bean, bullshit with my favorite "beaners" till they finish making me the biggest coffee in the world. I then blast the music in my car and drive an hour to Glendale from Venice, train for an hour and a half in striking, then jump back in the car (music up again) and drive to Sherman Oaks for strength and conditioning and do that for an hour. Then I shower and jump back in the car, turn up the music again and drive 45 minutes home. I walk in the door, make out with my dog for a few minutes and then eat lunch, take the dog for a walk, make phone calls and answer emails, maybe take a nap. Usually, 5 minutes after I lay down for a nap, people start calling me and by the time I get done talking to those people I sleep for one minute and my damn alarm goes off. Then I get up and go grapple for over an hour and drag my ass out the door and then go grab some dinner. I walk in the door to my house, several dogs start getting slobber all over my pants ‘cause I'm carrying food and then I sit down to eat and talk to my roommates. Most of our conversations consist of me complaining about how sore I am and then I go to sleep and wake up in the morning and do the whole thing all over again with a slight variation in the workouts the next day. MMAPG:
It's been talked about that you may be the next 'face' of women's MMA. How would you feel about that?ROUSEY:
I feel like what women's MMA needs is a cast of "faces." People talk about sports like it’s their favorite TV show. Yeah, there might be a main character, but everyone has their favorites. I feel like me and a few other girls like Miesha Tate, Tay Stratford, and of course Gina Carano (just to name a few) are more than capable of filling those roles and making WMMA interesting for the fans. As for how I feel about it? I feel like after two Olympics I have plenty of experience and am more than capable of handling the responsibility and pressure that comes with being a public figure and representative for the sport.MMAPG:
Do you have a certain amount of professional fights or time-frame in mind before you'd like to challenge, for instance, a Cris Cyborg?ROUSEY:
I would like to have 6 or so pro fights before I make a run for the 145lbs title. The thing is, a fight against Cris would be the most important of my career, and though I know I am capable of winning that fight today, I want to be at my absolute peak, as I would for an Olympic Games, when that fight happens. People forget I have only been doing MMA for one year and have only a little over 3 minutes of experience in the cage. I am improving every day and still feel like I can keep getting better. When my management and coaches say it’s time, we'll take the fight.MMAPG:
Are there any other fighters out there that you'd like to face or have plans of facing?ROUSEY:
I would love to fight both Gina Carano and Miesha Tate. I think both fights would get a lot of great attention for women's MMA, not to mention do a lot to progress my own career.MMAPG:
You were a vegan at the time of the Olympics in 2008 and many fighters these days are. Are you still vegan? Do you have any guilty pleasures when you're not on a strict diet preparing for a fight?ROUSEY:
I was vegan for 8 months after the Beijing games. Unfortunately, I was working 2-3 bartending jobs at once during that time and didn't have many options in the vegan genre besides Jameson Whiskey and sweet potato fries. After 8 months of that highly nutritious diet, I caught Bronchitis and had a lot of trouble getting healthy. I returned to my old diet and made a promise to myself to give veganism another try after I was done competing and do it right this time.MMAPG:
When you are not training, what do you do with your free time? Any hobbies or interests?ROUSEY:
Well, when not training I'm usually too tired to move. So anything that is entertaining and doesn't require movement I'm in favor of. Stuff like watching movies, playing Pokemon, and wasting time online. I used to surf a lot, but my training schedule is so gnarly these days I just don't have the energy.MMAPG:
If you weren't competing in Judo or MMA for a living, what would your dream job be and why?ROUSEY:
Well, after the last Olympics I narrowed down my options to becoming an MMA fighter or a rescue swimmer for the US Coast Guard. I still think that would be a badass job, I love swimming in the ocean and I'm not afraid of heights, so jumping into crazy, stormy water from a helicopter for a living seems like a cool way to make a living.MMAPG:
Where do you see yourself, and women's MMA, 10 years from now?ROUSEY:
I see women's MMA being like a less "proper" version of women's tennis; with just as much respect and coverage as the male athletes. We got a lot of work to do still, but I am a big believer in manifesting things, and to steal a line from Susan B. Anthony: "Failure is impossible." As for me, I see myself probably running a gym and coaching, maybe doing stunts for movies sometimes. So many people have spent the time to help and teach me, it seems selfish to not pass that on. And after years of taking falls for judo, I happen to be a professional "faller" and stunts are fun! MMAPG:
As MMAPlayground.com strongly supports women's MMA, give a shout out to your sponsors!ROUSEY:
I wanna give a biiiiiiig thank you to Citizens of Humanity Jeans, Mizuno/Fuji, BasRutten.com, Clinch Gear, Recon 1, Polanti Watches.... and whoever I'm forgetting that will be pissed off after reading this interview!MMAPG:
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us Ronda. I'm sure you've just gained many new fans! We'll all be cheering you on November 18th when you face Julia Budd on the Strikeforce Challengers card! Do you have any final words?ROUSEY:
Yes. Here's a quote from Will Rogers: "Women are not the weak, frail little flowers that they are advertised. There has never been anything invented yet, including war, that a man would enter into, that a woman wouldn't, too."
And here's a quote from me: DEMAND WOMEN'S MMA!
* * * * *Follow @RondaRousey on Twitter"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey on Sherdog.comDISCLAIMER: Views and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the interviewer and interviewee and are not necessarily those of the staff or affiliates of MMAPlayground.com.