UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey next defends her title Dec. 28 at UFC 168 against rival and opposing TUF coach Miesha Tate in a rematch of their 2012 Strikeforce bout. Rousey and Tate's dislike of one another has been well-documented, including Tate's boyfriend/manager/coach Bryan Caraway threatening to knock Rousey's teeth in, Rousey's coach Edmond Tarverdyan threatening to do pretty much the same to Caraway and lots and lots of middle fingers drawn by Rousey and pointed at Tate.
That's why fans might be surprised to learn that Rousey's feelings about the rivalry with Tate include more than just animosity. She's actually happy for the attention that Tate's increased star brings all women in MMA.
"It's not like my dislike for her outweighs how much I care for women's MMA," Rousey said this week on a media conference call.
"It's not like I want her to be like permanently injured or retire or anything like that. It's just like it would be nice not to have to deal with her personally, myself, anymore but the notoriety she's gained from this rivalry has helped all the other girls out so I'm happy that she's actually done better because of it."
Still, Rousey is eager to beat Tate for a second time and put their rivalry to bed. The rowdy one says her trash-talking ways are are particular reaction to fighting Tate and Tate alone.
"I want to win every single fight. They're all equally important to me no matter who it is against but it will be nice to not have to deal with it anymore," Rousey admitted.
"I don't want to have to be able to put myself in a situation where anyone could instigate me again. If you notice, I've never really had a problem with any other opponent that I've ever had, if you think about it. Everyone thinks of me as this big trash talker but who have I had a problem with that I've fought except for Miesha?"
The champion also says that, despite the immense media buzz around this UFC 168 rematch between her and Tate, she has been left relatively to herself during training camp thanks to The Ultimate Fighter season that she and Tate coached being filmed last summer and being on the same card as Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman II.
"It's been a different experience. been unique. What's really been different about it the real media push happened so far ahead of time," Rousey said.
"It was way more work with the Ultimate Fighter but it was so far ahead of time that it was kind of nice to be relatively left alone for the actual camp period."
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- Miesha Tate
- Bryan Caraway