Ronda Rousey: 'I'm the greatest fighter that has ever lived'

Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey coined herself as the greatest fighter of all time, along with claims that she wasn’t promoted very much by the UFC.

Rousey became the UFC bantamweight champion in December 2012 after fight promotion Strikeforce was absorbed by the UFC. She remained champion for over 1,000 days and had six title defenses before suffering her first loss in a fight to Holly Holm in November 2015.

It was more than 13 months before Rousey fought again, losing to title holder Amanda Nunes, who remained champion for nearly 2,000 days and won seven title fights over two tenures.

During an interview with podcaster Valeria Lipovetsky, Rousey explained why she felt she lost her final two bouts and attributed much of her poor performance to neurological issues from concussions.

At the same time she said that she had “never been so much better than everybody else,” but unfortunately her concussions stood in her way.

“I had taken punishment and taken punishment until I couldn’t take it any more,” she continued. “I know that I’m the greatest fighter that has ever lived, but when it got to a point where I’d just taken so much neurological damage that I couldn’t take it any more … suddenly everything that I accomplished meant nothing.”

“I was so done fighting after that [first] loss. I’d had so many concussions I literally couldn’t take a jab without getting a concussion at that point,” Rousey explained. “My body and mind started to fall apart, and when I couldn’t give anything any more, they hated me for it, but you couldn’t even tell them why.”

Rousey also told the host that her “mouth guard was bad” during her first loss and that she had recently suffered a concussion from “slipping down some stairs.” This, coupled with a “terrible weight cut” meant she was out on her feet the entire fight, she claimed, which lasted a total of five minutes and 59 seconds against Holm.

For her return fight against Nunes, Rousey said she “owed it to the fans” and perhaps needed to “give them an example of overcoming diversity.”

She lost that fight by TKO in 48 seconds.

The Californian also discussed how she tried to use sex appeal to her advantage “as much as possible.”

“I got to start putting an effort out there, and I just figured that the guys didn’t have sex appeal to sell their fights, but the women could; at least the women that had something to sell,” she joked. “I tried cleaning up a bit and … when I came into MMA, I was like, all right, I need to try my best to look gorgeous.”

Rousey noted that she has felt that when others complain about lack of promotion from the UFC, she didn’t get that privilege either.

“I promoted! I was doing the promoting! It wasn’t them paying for commercials; I was working to promote those fights as hard as I was working to train for them.”

The perfect scenario, Rousey described, was like the reality television shows about housewives. She tried to emulate this when she coached on “The Ultimate Fighter” against rival Miesha Tate.

“Gorgeous women that are bickering with each other. What if there was a fight at the end of the season?”

“These gorgeous women that are creating drama and there’s a fight at the end. Everyone would buy that,” she explained. “That was what I was trying to create.”

Despite all her injuries at the time, Rousey still signed with the WWE in 2017 and continued wrestling outside the organization through 2023.

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