Ronda Rousey backed up her words with actions last night in the Strikeforce cage as she once again took less than a round to finish off her toughest opponent to date, Miesha Tate in order to claim the woman’s bantamweight title.
Afterward she spoke to MMAfighting’s Ariel Helwani about her performance and admitted that she never remembers much about her fights until she watches them back, but that she can recall one particular moment that gave her cause for concern.
“I’m not happy with my wardrobe choice – I’m never going to wear shorts this short again because I remember being in the middle of the fight and thinking, ‘oh my god, my shorts!’ So, yeah, that’s pretty much all I learned so far.”
She does also remember not being able to force Tate to tap from the first armbar attempt she went for in the opening round, and says that it was her own fault that one didn’t end the fight.
“I didn’t feel like I had that one very well. I went into the position to try and improvise from there, but I didn’t feel very secure in it from the beginning so I wasn’t the least bit discouraged when I lost it because it felt very loose, I didn’t think I had it.”
During the fight Tate did land a few solid shots on the feet, connecting with the new champion’s chin, but she denies she was ever hurt during the exchanges.
“No, look at me – I’m fine!” she says with a chuckle.
Prior to the fight ending armbar Rousey had actually been mounted on Tate’s back raining down punches and looked like she may have been able to finish the fight from that position, but she says she was really just baiting her so she could take her arm.
“She was in a position where she had to give up an arm and defend herself or else the fight would have been stopped, so I wouldn’t have given up such a dominant position unless I was sure I had it, and so I was just setting her up to defend herself and when she did I went for it.”
So what comes next for the new bantamweight champion? In her opinion she feels that there’s someone who deserves the next shot at the title, but she stresses it’s not her decision to make.
“I think the fair thing to do is to give Sarah Kaufman the shot, but it’s not my call and it’s not her call, so whatever the fans and Strikeforce want then I’ll do it.”
Immediately following the fight Rousey made it clear that winning the fight hadn’t brought an end to her dislike of Tate, and backstage after having had a little time to reflect on what had just happened it appeared she wasn’t thinking any differently.
“No, no, after the weigh-ins when Miesha got in my face and then I pushed her back she went on Twitter and said I should be fined for head-butting her! I just thought that was not very respectable. Before I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, but after that then no, we’re not cool.”
There hasn’t been this level of interest in a woman’s MMA fighter since Gina Carano, who’s since been lured over to the movie world, so what’s the chances that Rousey could also be enticed away from the sport that’s made her a star?
“I’m here to stay, don’t worry about it. I’ve got a belt now and I need to defend it, it’s my job.”
And despite all the attention she’s getting Rousey doesn’t believe she deserves all the credit for renewing fans interest in the female side of the sport, though she acknowledges she is now a signficant part of it’s resurgence.
“I think I did something very positive for [woman’s MMA], I think there’s a lot of girls doing very positive things for it and, you know, I don’t think anybody does this single-handedly, but I think this is a big deal, at least for me.”
Finally, Rousey spoke about her late father who she had dedicted this victory too.
“I feel like what he told me I could do when I was a kid and when everyone thought there was something wrong with me, he was the one that had confidence in me. I feel like I finally fulfilled that and I kind of feel an inner peace that I didn’t have before.”
Watch the full interview below.