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Thursday, 07/26/2012, 09:51 am

EXCLUSIVE | Rousey on Kaufman, "I only need one clinch and I can finish it" (Interview part 2)

This is part two of our interview with Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey.

Some well known MMA fighters have trouble going anywhere without being approached by someone. A former middleweight champion and I were at a basketball event using the restroom when a fan in the urinal beside him struck up a conversation. A few seconds later the fan reached over to try and shake his hand while in mid-stream. It was something out of a movie and made me realize how crazy celebrity can be.

It’s different in women’s MMA right now. Very few female fighters can say they are recognized outside of the cage today. Ronda Rousey is one of them, but it’s not as bad for her as one might think.

“It’s not hard to blend in out in public, but sometimes I have to watch myself so I don’t leave the house looking like a bum” Rousey said. “I remember going to get coffee in a bath robe or whatever before and now I actually have to look presentable at all times. When I’m home it’s like I’m surrounded by friends and I can wear whatever I want. It’s when I go to these events and fights that I have to lead a second life. All of these people know me there. In the real world I’m just walking around the streets no one really knows me like people might think”.

Despite being on guard most of the time, when does venture out some humorous things do happen.

“There have been a few times I have been caught off guard”, said Rousey. “Sometimes I’m driving down the freeway oblivious to stuff around me, and someone will yell my name at random, and that still makes me smile. It’s not like I’m walking around and everyone knows me like I’m some big name celeb. Every once in a while someone will come up and talk to me. That stuff is cool”.

Before her fight with Miesha Tate things were a lot different for Ronda. She was simply Ronda Rousey, MMA fighter. The pre fight video packages, photos, and media coverage for she and Tate focused many times on, to be blunt, their sex appeal. Around that time ESPN Magazine came knocking and asked her to be a part of their popular “The Body” issue. She appeared nude on the cover, and right then – you might say – she launched herself in to the full blown sex symbol category.

“I don’t really see myself as that”, Ronda joked. “If others see me as that then that’s awesome. I don’t sit around and think about it at all. It’s never like I feel like such a sex symbol. I think that’s something the media has hyped more than anything. I don’t really feel like I’m some awesome thing. I don’t really feel that way. If other people want to think that then that’s awesome. I say thank you.”

With the hype surrounding her fight with Tate it was no surpsise that the viewership was as impressive as it was. Rousey is hoping her upcoming fight with Sarah Kaufman will share the same success without the trash talk.

“I really hope that it gets the same attention”, Ronda stated. “That would be really encouraging because Sarah and I didn’t have that much of a beef with each other. Miesha and I definitely did. If we still promote the fight and still have it be as big or bigger than the last event that would be great. I hope they want to see the fight itself rather than a media circus surrounding it like last time”.

There is no question that Rousey is a beast on the ground. Her brutal armbar on Miesha Tate showcased her skill and tenacity. Her stand up has game been something that fans haven’t seen. It is still untested as far as skeptics are concerned. On the other hand, Sarah Kaufman’s stand up has been praised repeatedly. Ronda doesn’t seem to mind.

“I do think my stand up is as good as hers”, Rousey said. “I’ve fought girls who were similar to her. She has solid basics and a solid base in striking. She’s no Anderson Silva or anything like that.The only way I feel like she could ever win is to try and catch me and knock me out. She hasn’t really done that to anyone ever. A lot of people don’t know what I can do. I’m no slouch standing up either. I like people to assume things aren’t there that they have not seen. If they do that they are screwed. I’m walking in there like Sarah Kaufman is the best version of her anyone has ever seen. If she’s walking in there hoping my stand up isn’t that great she’s in trouble”.

Ronda’s game plan is simple.

“She’s got twenty five minutes to not clinch with me once. The way I feel that’s all I need. I only need one clinch and I can finish it”.

It’s no secret that Rousey’s armbar is her trademark. She made no bones about her predictions on the potential outcome of her fight with Sarah.

“Her last loss was to an armbar. Alexis Davis almost had an armbar on her. She isn’t known for her grappling obviously. I’m not really calling the hold, but if she is completely paranoid about an armbar, it opens up everything else for me”.

When Ronda is not fighting she is always involved with something. Rousey feels it is important to use her rising popularity to support good causes.

“I am supporting www.freerice.com right now. I’ve just started cutting weight and I’m trying to raise money for the website. You go on there and you answer trivia questions, and every single question you answer right sends 10 grains of rice to the World Hunger Fund. I feel like that’s a lot cooler than the other organizations where you donate money and have no clue where it is really going to. Every question you answer is ten grains of rice. It’s a really good way to help out. I’m asking everyone to support this site, too”.

Follow Ronda on Twitter @rondarousey

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