Women’s MMA Pioneer Ronda Rousey Admits It Still ‘Stings’ To Not Be Considered ‘The Greatest Ever’

'Rowdy' knows that she's the best women's mixed martial artist of all time, whether others want to admit it or not

Ronda Rousey
Courtesy of Ronda Rousey on Facebook

The legacy of Ronda Rousey in mixed martial arts is undeniable — even if all anyone ever wants to talk about is her losses.

‘Rowdy’ burst onto the MMA scene under the Strikeforce banner and immediately took the MMA world by storm, routinely submitting her opponents within seconds. She became such a sensation that UFC CEO Dana White walked back his declaration that women would never be featured inside the Octagon and promptly signed Rousey, crowning her as the first-ever women’s bantamweight world champion. 

Rousey would go on to dispatch her first six opponents, all by way of finish, and with only one opponent, Miesha Tate, making it out of the first round. 

But as fast as her rise came, so did her downfall. Rousey was handed her first career loss at UFC 193, suffering a brutal second-round knockout at the hands — and feet — of ‘The Preacher’s Daughter’ Holly Holm. It is still considered the biggest upset in UFC history. 

Recently, Rousey revealed that her retirement just one fight later came as the result of a series of concussions she had suffered throughout the years. During a recent appearance on The Diary of a CEO podcast with Steven Bartlett, ‘Rowdy’ revealed that at the time of the Holm fight, she was essentially “running on fumes” and had little left to give.

“If I was at my full capacity, I don’t think anyone could ever beat me, but I was spent,” Rousey said. “I was running on fumes for so long that I didn’t have any left and the moment I ran out of fumes was broadcast live to millions of people everywhere who had their own assumptions about it and none of them were right.

“And I felt like I couldn’t speak up or say anything. Whoever I tried to talk to, they didn’t care about helping me try to communicate. They just wanted to get as many clicks so I couldn’t trust anyone.”

In a 2015 interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Rousey revealed that the “depressing and soul-crushing” loss to Holly Holm left her with suicidal ideation from the very moment the bout ended. 

“It was basically instantly when I came backstage,” Rousey continued. “Suicide is the kind of thing that becomes more prevalent if it’s in your family and I’ve literally had two generations of suicide ahead of me. It’s just something that is always an option in your mind once it’s shown to you.

A year later, Ronda Rousey returned to the Octagon for a clash with eventual two-division titleholder Amanda Nunes at UFC 207. ‘Rowdy’ went down less than a minute into the fight. 

It would be the last time fans would see her compete in mixed martial arts. 

“It still stings a little bit that I’m not recognized as the greatest ever when I know I am, but my mom always said that she never cared if everyone knew she was the best in the world. She only cared if she knew,” Rousey said.

Ronda Rousey Discusses Her Two-Year Absence Between WWE Runs

After walking away from the Octagon, Ronda Rousey pursued a career in sports entertainment, signing with World Wrestling Entertainment. There, she would go on to become one of the first women to headline WrestleMania alongside Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch in a women’s championship triple threat match. 

After a year-long run with the company, Rousey walked away from the WWE and opted to stay out of the spotlight for the next two years. Detailing her time away from the global stage, ‘Rowdy’ said:

“I was mostly just being sad. I was sad and high and playing video games and eating crepes. Everybody wants to rush you through grieving things but I think it’s important and so I took that time to myself. I was also just so worn out from running on fumes for years on end and literally dragging myself out of bed every morning and having to dig deep every second of the day. I wanted to just disappear… I didn’t want to be famous anymore.”

She continued, “I don’t think anyone can understand how exhausted I was and how much had been asked of me for so long that I just needed to rest. I needed to mentally and physically rest… I had nothing left in me. I guess you could call it depression but I didn’t see anyone and get it diagnosed.”

Rousey also credited her husband, former UFC fighter Travis Browne, with being there for her every step of the way and helping her to overcome suicidal thoughts. 

“I literally had nothing left in me, I could barely get out of bed. You could call it depression, but I didn’t see anyone and get diagnosed. [Travis] was amazing. He really helped drag me out of my own hole. I think he understood to an extent… He was incredibly naturally talented, but he hadn’t been pursuing a goal of athletic greatness since he was six like I had.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand that, but he was also still so supportive and there for me, he never got fed up with me. Just being like that for over a year and having his incredible love and patience. He was just there for me all the time and would just hold me when I needed it, even if he didn’t understand why I was so sad. He’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I love him so much.”

Watch the full interview below:

Published on April 10, 2024 at 7:55 pm
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