Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has now left the sport of MMA behind in favor of a career as a pro wrestler. For a time, however, she was reluctant to do so, as she worried the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division—which was essentially built for her—would dry up in her stead.
Rousey discussed this feeling, and explained how it kept her in the sport for longer than she wanted, in a recent interview with ESPN.
“Judo and MMA, there were times when the process was fun and then there were times where it got to be only the results were fun, you know?” Rousey said of her waning interest in MMA (h/t MMAFighting). “And then there’s a time when things just run their course. You fall in love, then you fall out of love, and you find a new love.”
“There was a while when I was just looking for an honorable way out,” she added. “I felt satisfied, like I proved everything I needed to prove, but I didn’t feel like anybody else felt that way, and I wasn’t sure that the women’s division could survive without me, so I felt obligated to do more than what I actually wanted to, I feel.”
Though Rousey admits she continued competing in MMA for longer than she wanted to, she also feels everything happened the way it was supposed to.
“I also think that everything happens for a reason and I have no regrets, and I’m still happy that I fulfilled those obligations. I really do feel like the women’s division can hold its own now, and I’m proud of all the work I did there. I don’t need anyone else’s approval to be proud of myself.”
Rousey will compete in her first WWE match at WrestleMania34 on April 8.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 3/28/2018.