NEW YORK — This is Ronda Rousey’s life now, morning shows and television cameras trailing her every move, rowdy fans mobbing her for autographs and pictures. On Wednesday in Manhattan, this is what it was like for her. There was a morning news spot with Al Roker on The Weather Channel, TMZ asked her to perform a split on camera, and one fan showed up to meet her with his cat in tow, a feline he named “Rousey.” Of course, he asked the UFC women’s bantamweight champion to sign its tag. On Thursday there will be more appearances on highly rated radio shows, and more fans to please.
It’s a lot to process for someone who just two years ago was virtually anonymous in the world she has since conquered, who worked a graveyard shift at a 24-hour Fitness among two others jobs just to try to make ends meet. Money is no longer an issue, but focus is. Rousey said that while her new problems are better than her old ones, conserving energy is still a common theme. On Tuesday night, for example, she got only three hours of sleep.
All of the madness is fleeting she knows, but it will continue as long as she wins. While her next fight – a matchup against Cat Zingano — is already decided, Rousey has enough perspective to acknowledge that her rivalry with Miesha Tate is not over.
It was her matchup with Tate that catapulted her to stardom, making her the Strikeforce women’s champion within less than a year of her pro debut. Even before the two fought, they stole headlines with an explosive rivalry, lobbing verbal grenades at each other before meeting. That built anticipation for the fight in a way that the women’s game had not seen since the days of fighter turned Hollywood star Gina Carano.
Rousey took that attention and ran with it, but Tate has never been too far from her view, a shadow chasing her. The two would have rematched if Tate had beaten Zingano earlier this month, but after winning the first two rounds, she was stopped on strikes in the third.
“I was a little disappointed to be honest but Cat is an amazing fighter and she did a great job,” Rousey said. “I don’t want to take anything away from her. It was one of those fights. I thought that Miesha was doing really well but it ended up in Cat’s favor. All respect to her. She deserves to be the coach, and I can’t wait to fight her.”
While Tate will have to regroup and string together wins to get back in the title hunt, Rousey does not believe their rivalry has seen its last days.
While she has her eye on other contenders — she is looking forward to watching Saturday’s Sara McMann vs. Sheila Gaff UFC 159 battle in person — in her eyes, a rematch with Tate is inevitable.
“I think because of the demand it’s going to end up happening anyway,” she said. “So many people want to see that fight again. A lot of people keep telling me that was their favorite fight. And just me and Miesha personally, I think we just like fighting each other because we don’t like each other very much. It’s bound to happen just because the demand is there.”
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