Ronda Rousey is without a doubt the face of women's mixed martial arts (MMA).
With her undeniable marketability thanks to her exceptional fighting skills, past accomplishments and "easy on the eyes" physical features, "Rowdy" has taken Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) by storm, becoming one of the more prominent promotional superstars.
But, according to Bryan Caraway, while Rousey may seem like the "all American blonde girl" with a laundry list of impressive credentials to the MMA noob (thanks in large part to UFC's public relations machine that molded her into whatever it wanted) the Bantamweight champion is really a different person.
And, according to "Kid Lightning," her stint on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18 opposite bitter rival Miesha Tate (Caraway's girlfriend) shed some light on just what type of person she really is deep down. Something he says is the reason why Rousey has lost some fans and Miesha has gained them (see an example of that here).
He broke it down on a recent episode of "The MMA Hour:"
"I absolutely do (believe Ronda lost fans). I think the world's getting a little bit of balance back. The UFC PR machine is incredibly strong. Ronda was the all American blonde girl, Olympic medalist, and was beating everybody in the first round so they said, ‘This is gold, we're going to take her and mold her into whatever we want her to be.' As far as her personality, she has the credentials and physical appearance to market well. The UFC did a great job on that and I think the Ultimate Fighter shed just a little bit of light on the type of person that she really is. I do think that it exposed her, I would say, and I think the balance has shifted a little bit and Miesha has gained a lot more fan following base. I definitely don't think Miesha is the fan favorite, I mean, Ronda still has 350,000 followers, or whatever it is, and there are a lot of people who don't follow the sport that close enough that they just see the she's an Olympian and a cute girl that's a world champion. They just see the little list of credentials and accomplishments that she's done and they think this girl has done so much and she's amazing. But they don't know anything about her personally. On a personal level, I definitely think for the fans that follow MMA, it (TUF) definitely brought a little balance to women's MMA and gained followers for Miesha."
Indeed, fans received a different glimpse of "Rowdy" on TUF 18, seeing an aggressive side of the 135-pound champion that they likely wouldn't have seen otherwise.
Foe example, Rousey frequently extends her middle finger in anger, which is seemingly always aimed at "Cupcake." Couple that with the constant verbal attacks aimed at Team Tate and Rousey's time spent on the set of TUF weren't exactly her best shining moments.
But, as Rousey proclaimed on a recent episode, at least she's upfront about it.
Then again, what exactly went down before the tapes hit the editing room, we will never know. Something "Rowdy" feared after taping of the show actually wrapped.
All issues and popularity contests aside, Rousey and Tate will meet in the center of the cage one more time to settle their differences on Dec 28, 2013, at UFC 168 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
And once the Octagon doors slam shut, the public's perception of her will likely be the last thing on "Rowdy's" mind.