There has been speculation that Ronda Rousey has outgrown the Ultimate Fighting Championship and world of mixed martial arts. Based on recent comments, though, she might not be leaving for bigger paydays too soon.
It's true that Rousey has become a media sensation. From modeling to acting to starring on the reality show "The Ultimate Fighter," she has done it all with aplomb. She's somewhat edgy, handles herself well in live interviews and has been in two major motion pictures.
On Saturday night in Las Vegas she'll showcase her fighting skills in a highly anticipated rematch against Miesha Tate, who lost to Rousey by armbar submission last year in a Strikeforce event. Their fight will be the semi-main event on the UFC 168 card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena that also features the rematch of reigning UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman and longtime former title holder Anderson Silva.
"The movie stuff was fun," Rousey said, "but by the time it was over, I said, 'Oh, thank God, I'm so ready to get back in the gym.' It's tough to have to look good and say some line 19 million times. I'd rather slum it and not shave and punch things."
The unbeaten UFC bantamweight champion might have more lucrative opportunities outside of UFC, but it doesn't sound like she's ready to leave the sport behind. She wants to leave a legacy for women to follow and cited the legendary Royce Gracie as inspiration.
"I want to be able to sit and have that look of contentment and have that smile that I see Royce with when he's at those [UFC] events," Rousey said. "I really want there to be women’s MMA fights in the UFC 20 years from now and be able to sit there and just revel in what was created."
Rousey's bout against Tate has been much anticipated because of their bad blood on "The Ultimate Fighter," for which they trained opposing teams of competitors looking for their break into the UFC.
"If the 'Real Housewives' threw down at the end of their season, how great would that be?" Rousey said. "Every schoolyard in the world loves a fight. That's how you get them to glance at us."
Rousey hopes that by the conclusion of her career -- whenever that may be -- she will have elevated the women's fight game beyond that. The UFC has already announced it is starting a second women's strawweight division.
"I really still feel like that weight is still on my shoulders," Rousey said of women's MMA. "When I feel like I don’t have that responsibility anymore, that’s when I’ll start thinking about stepping away."