Ronda Rousey simply doesn’t like to talk about mixed martial arts (MMA), despite the fact that it was that very sport that catapulted her name into a household one, long after she won a bronze medal in the Olympics for judo.
Her back-to-back losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes are subjects that are never to be brought up to Rousey in interviews, and even a hint of that discussion seems to be around the corner, the walls of defense come right up.
That said, during a candid interview with ESPN, Rousey opened up a bit more about her time inside the Octagon and her new career path with WWE. Though many think Nunes’ quick beatdown over her expedited her exit from the fight game (see it again here), Rousey says she was always looking for a way out.
That’s because after putting women's MMA on the map, she felt an obligation to always do more, even when she didn’t want to.
“I’m only here to enjoy myself. That’s the only thing that’s never been a priority in my life,” Rousey said. “In judo and MMA, there were times when the process was fun and the results were fun. And there’s a time when things run their course. You fall in love, you fall out of love and you find a new love.,” she added.
“There was a while when I was just looking for an honorable way out [of the UFC]. I felt satisfied that I’d proven everything I need to prove, but I didn’t feel anybody else felt that way, and I wasn’t sure if the women’s division could survive without me. I felt obligated to do more than what I actually wanted to. But I also have no regrets, and I’m so happy I fulfilled those obligations. And I really feel the women’s division can hold their own.”
Indeed, the women's division — aside from featherweight — have prospered without Rousey, though it’s safe to say that the box office does miss “Rowdy’s” name at the top of the bill, though Cris Cyborg has proven to be have some formidable drawing power.
For Rousey, her new venture allows her to do something she’s truly happy doing. And that happiness is portrayed every time she walks down the WWE ramp. That’s because there is no forcing her big smile.
“There’s a reason I don’t do anything when I walk out [at WWE],” Rousey said. “I’m just paralyzed with happiness every time I go out there. I get to look around, feel it and show myself feeling it -- which is something I was never allowed to do. Now it’s all I want to do.”
As far as returning to the fight game, well, she still hasn’t completely ruled that out.