WITH only a tick over two weeks until the UFC comes to Melbourne for the first time ever, the best female fighter in the world is very skinny odds to defend her bantam weight title.
Ronda Rousey will go head to head with Holly Holm at Etihad Stadium on November 15, putting the fighting world’s spotlight on Australia.
And while Holm is expected to offer the champ her stiffest challenge yet – she is still $1.06 with our friends at crownbet.com.au to win the fight.
And she doesn’t think a whole lot of the competition.
“I don’t think that this matches up well for her,” Rousey said.
“I wouldn’t say that in a pre fight interview, and I haven’t.
“Because it doesn’t make sense in order to sell it.
“I need people to doubt me.”
Funny stuff, but you’d be confident too if you were 12-0 and finished nine of those fights in the first round.
Holm, too, has never been beaten in nine MMA fights, but this is the most daunting task in all of female fighting sports.
She’s not making the same mistake of running her mouth – like Rousey’s last victim Bethe Correia did – in the lead up to the fight, instead preferring to focus on her surprise at being offered the chance to take on the best.
“You have to be mentally strong to get in there (The Octagon),” she said.
“When they called, it was like, ‘This is what’s next. Awesome.’
“If I would have felt like I should have said no, then when the next fight comes it would be, ‘Was I doubting myself before? Am I doubting myself now?’
“That’s just a not mentality I have in me, and I don’t choose to feel that way at all.
“There’s so many girls in the division, but guess what: Even before I signed with the UFC it was like, ‘Hey, when are you going to fight Ronda Rousey?’
Holm knows Rousey is the heavy favourite, but she says anything can happen.
“Nobody would want to watch a fight if they knew what was going to happen; the unknown is there, and anything can happen,” she said.
“I’m very capable.
“I’m walking with every bit of confidence into this fight, confidence without being cocky or overconfident.
“I’m going up against the best fighter.
“They aren’t calling her the most dominant female fighter, they’re calling her the most dominant female athlete, and that’s a lot to carry.
“Do I have to do everything right? Absolutely. But it’s possible.”
Typical for any fight of this magnitude, Rousey’s preparation has not been without controversy, the star’s own mother lashing out at coach Edmond Tarverdyan.
Rousey likes to say her mum, Dr AnnMaria De Mars, who was once a judo world champion, is her inspiration and her main influence, but perhaps that has changed after the tirade she launched upon Tarverdyan.
“Edmond is a terrible coach and I will say it publicly,” De Mars said in a recent interview.
“I think he’s a terrible coach.
“I think he hit the lottery when Ronda walked in there.
“She was winning before she ever met him.
“She probably won 99 percent of the judo matches she ever fought in.
“She won the junior worlds when she was 17.
“She got a bronze medal in the Olympics, she got a silver medal at the world championships, she was one of the top athletes in the world when she walked in there and he wouldn’t even give her the time of day for months.
“Somebody like that is a terrible coach.
“And I think she stays there, because it’s like somebody pitches a no hitter when they’re wearing red underwear and they wear that red underwear every day.
“I think it’s superstition and I would caution anybody from going there.”
“It’s bad that he uses her to lure people in.
“I told Ronda, ‘I’m not going to be quiet about this anymore.’
“He’s a bad person and people should not go there.
“And if he wants to sue me, that’s my honest opinion.”
Those are some powerful words, but then again, perhaps it’s all about the show?
Rousey says she will deal with mother.
“Any reaction and response I have for my mother, she’s going to hear from me and not a media outlet,” Rousey said.
It was also revealed this week that the UFC women’s bantam weight champion was in a relationship fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne.
“Ronda and I started talking throughout the summer and I’ll say now that we are together,” Browne said.
“She’s my woman and I’m her man.
“There’s no boyfriend, girlfriend stuff, there’s no dating, we’re together.”
Rousey confirmed the fighters’ union: “It’s true that Travis and I are in a relationship. I’ve really enjoyed the time we have spent together and getting to know one another. And that’s all I’m going to say about it.”
You rarely ever hear a bad word about the 28 year old from Los Angeles and this week she said the pain of never winning an Olympic Medal has driven her to be the best female fighter in the world.
“I still get motivation from never winning the Olympics,” Rousey said.
“That was my childhood dream and I spent my whole life in pursuit of that.
“And I had to give that up.
“I had to really come to terms that it wasn’t going to happen.
“And I’ve always really been heartbroken by that.
“But in a way I’m grateful because I feel that if I did win the Olympics then I wouldn’t have the never ending source of motivation that I have today.
“Every time I defend my title it’s another chance to redeem myself.
“But it’s never quite an Olympic gold medal.
“And that’s how I stay I motivated.”
It’s expected some 60,000 will pack Etihad Stadium for the fight on November 15, which was made possible by the Andrews state Labor government overturning a ban on cage fighting.
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