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Wednesday, 11/21/2012, 03:25 pm

Exclusive| Ronda Rousey: “I’d definitely be interested in fighting Liz Carmouche”


When we talk about the biggest success stories in MMA, Ronda Rousey’s rapid rise from Olympic Bronze medalist to UFC champion is without question one of the most remarkable tales in this sport’s young history.

Historically in combat sports it has taken great men a number of years to accomplish what Rousey did in one. She debuted professionally in MMA in March 2011 and by March 2012 she was the champion and the undisputed queen of her division.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve heard the news that Rousey has officially become the first female to sign a UFC contract. Her Strikeforce bantamweight title has been upgraded to the UFC women’s bantamweight championship. This is absolutely fantastic news for Rousey and all of Women’s MMA.

We recently spoke with Rousey on BJPenn.com Radio before her UFC signing was announced. Rousey is fresh off another fast and dominant victory with her armbar win over former champion Sarah Kaufman in August. The 25 year old Rousey is now 6-0 and has finished every single opponent with a viciously executed armbar in the first few seconds or, in the case of her battle with Miesha Tate, minutes of the fight.

Some might be surprised that the Olympic Bronze medalist is running through the entire bantamweight division but Rousey certainly isn’t.

“Me? No [I was not surprised that I finished Kaufman so quickly]. I was trying to end it as quickly as possible and I kind of expected it to be a little bit of a different fight because she’s such an accomplished striker,” Rousey told BJPenn.com Radio.

“Before the fight they were playing the interviews and she was saying all of this stuff about my striking and my striking coach just grabbed me by the back of my hair before we went out there and was like ‘don’t let her tempt you, she’s not gonna’ lay a hand on you’ so at that moment I was pretty convinced that I was going to end it right away.”

End it right away is exactly what she did. Rousey forced Kaufman to submit at 54 seconds of the first round and immediately set her sight on who she wants to step in the cage with next, former 145 lbs champion Christiane “Cyborg” Santos. Rousey even went as far to say that she would fight “Cyborg” in the parking lot of the arena if she had to.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like Santos will be able to make 135-lbs anytime soon so that matchup isn’t very likely to happen at this time. It will be interesting to see who the UFC decide to book Rousey against in her Octagon debut. She has already finished the top two contenders in Tate and Kaufman and while a rematch with Tate would be extremely marketable it might be a better strategy to hold off on that fight until after Rousey has already established herself in the promotion.

One fighter who would match up very well with Rousey and who wants this fight in a bad way is former U.S Marine Liz Carmouche. Carmouche, one of the top contenders in the bantamweight division, told us on BJPenn.com Radio a few weeks ago that she really wants a crack at Rousey. It seems Rousey would be willing to accept that challenge.

“Yeah I would definitely [be interested in fighting Liz Carmouche]. Of course, everybody knows [Cyborg] is the fight that I want the most but I’ve got a lot of respect for Liz as a fighter and I’m definitely down to fight her but my number one pick is Cyborg, I really want her next. I’ll fight anyone that they put in my way though, this is pretty much a job.”

Rousey has done some amazing and historical things for WMMA this year but she shouldn’t get all of the credit. There has been several talented female fighters putting the work in and Shannon Knapp’s all-female promotion Invicta Fighting Championships has given these girls the platform to showcase their skills to a bigger audience.

With the UFC now promoting female fights, some are speculating what will happen to Invicta FC in the long run. At least for now the UFC are only featuring females at 135 lbs so Invicta will still be the home for the other women’s divisions.

Invicta has an incredibly bright future and will in all likelihood be the premier place for WMMA for years to come. Rousey is a huge fan of Invicta and believes the organization has helped speed up the growth of the female side of MMA tremendously.

“I love Invicta, I think they’re awesome and I’ve watched all of their cards. I think it’s perfect that there is a promotion just for women because a lot of these girls need to build up their records,” Rousey said.

“Having an all-women’s promotion definitely speeds up that process and it helps these girls get their names out there faster. It also gets these girls fighting on a regular basis because when I was coming up, before things started picking up for me, it was really hard to find fights.”

Until Rousey came into the picture, UFC President Dana White was not too keen on the idea of having women compete for his organization. White always stated that there “just isn’t enough women to make a division”. Clearly, Invicta FC has been proving him wrong on that but Rousey believes that those who say there aren’t enough women just don’t know how many talented female fighters are out there.

“When people talk about the lack of depth in Women’s MMA, it’s more about the lack of female fighters that people know. There’s a lot of good girls but there’s not a lot of girls that people know are good and they perceive that as a lack of depth. Having Invicta around is the fastest way to stop [the perception of a lack of divisional depth]. If the UFC could help promote Invicta that would help everybody I think.”

Until Rousey came into the picture, UFC President Dana White was not too keen on the idea of having women compete for his organization. White always stated that there “just isn’t enough women to make a division”. Clearly, Invicta FC has been proving him wrong on that but Rousey believes that those who say there aren’t enough women just don’t know how many talented female fighters are out there.

“When people talk about the lack of depth in Women’s MMA, it’s more about the lack of female fighters that people know. There’s a lot of good girls but there’s not a lot of girls that people know are good and they perceive that as a lack of depth. Having Invicta around is the fastest way to stop [the perception of a lack of divisional depth]. If the UFC could help promote Invicta that would help everybody I think.”

 

 

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