Ultimate Fighting Championship women's champion Ronda Rousey will… (Neil Davidson / Associated…)
Ronda Rousey said making her debut as the first Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s champion at Anaheim’s Honda Center is beyond her wildest imagination.
“If someone said you could write down a list of everything you ever wanted, I’d say, ‘Win all my fights. Be in the UFC. Have it at home. And have a kick-[rear] undercard.’ People’s dreams aren’t supposed to come true like that.”
Yet, the unbeaten Rousey will have that date, defending her new belt against Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23. Tickets go on sale Friday for the card, which will include a light-heavyweight fight between Temecula’s Dan Henderson and Brazil’s Lyoto Machida.
Rousey and UFC President Dana White met with reporters at Morton’s in Burbank on Wednesday, a spirited discussion in which Rousey revealed the star power that convinced White to establish a women’s division.
“I always said the women’s talent pool is not deep enough to start a division, and now people are saying, ‘It sounds like the Ronda Rousey show … ,’ and I say, ‘You’re damn right it is. It takes a certain type of person, personality and fighter to appeal to everyone. She’s got it.… She’s a home run, man.”
Rousey told of growing up in Santa Monica “as more of a fighter, a tomboy. I cut my hair short, people called me ‘Ronnie.”
She said a bartending job forced her to first wear makeup.
“The lighting was dim, so I could mess up,” Rousey said of her makeup work. “Being girly now, it’s working.”
She dropped out of high school as a sophomore, pursuing judo and standing as a bronze medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics in China.
Wednesday, she aimed criticism at the Olympic movement and at U.S. judo for depriving athletes of financial support.
“I have a bad-girl thing going on,” Rousey said. “I can screw up and it’s no big thing. I can get caught at a brothel with a bottle of Jack.”
In Carmouche, the Riverside-born Rousey will face a U.S. military veteran who has announced she is gay.
“I applaud her, it didn’t bother me a bit,” White said.
White additionally confirmed the coming season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on FX will switch from Friday nights to Tuesdays, starting Jan. 22, with coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen.
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