Rousey primed for her comeback
IF Conor McGregor is the face of the UFC, Ronda Rousey is the backbone.
The 29-year-old from California is still one of the most recognisable figures in MMA despite her year-long absence from the Octagon.
Her fight at UFC 193 against Holly Holm was one of the most watched female fights in UFC history but a devastating defeat shattered Rousey's confidence and sent her into a world of self-doubt and mental health issues.
A return to the Octagon at UFC 207 on New Year's Eve will see thousands of fans flock to Las Vegas in anticipation for her fairytale comeback, but she could just as easily be floored by current bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes.
Rousey's loss to Holm was one of the biggest main card upsets seen in the last 12 months, but the abuse she copped from fans celebrating her failure was just as brutal.
Rousey recently delved into her personal life with ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, and it included a number of juicy facts and hard-hitting lines from one of the UFC's most engaging characters.
Rousey compared her recovery from UFC 193, where she exiled herself in a cabin in the woods, to Batman's solitude away from civilised society.
"It's like I'm doing the chick version of growing a beard and living in a cave, you know?” she said. "You remember when Batman goes off to this ninja place, then time lapses and you see he's grown this beard? My woman version of growing a beard was letting my highlights grow out and changing my number.”
While her loss to underdog Holly Holm was devastating for diehard fans to endure, Rousey said in hindsight it gave her much-needed perspective on the world of professional fighting - and the many obligations it entails.
"That loss saved me from becoming what I hate,” she said. "One of those people who live their lives to impress everyone else. Who put up a front for the world to admire. Who make sure every charitable act is posted and shared for their own image gain. Who posture and pose for people they care nothing about except for the opinion they have of them.”
In Rousey's absence, the McGregor hype machine hit new levels.
The double champion has ridden roughshod over the sport and is now fuelling rumours he's set for a big money fight against boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.
But Rousey isn't a fan of the persona McGregor has adopted, which is much like "Money” Mayweather's.
"If money is the motivation, then f*** that,” she said. "All these Money people ... Money Mayweather, Money McGregor. I see they're trying to do an angle or whatever. People buy it. The worship of money in our society is so deep. But just because that's the easiest way to keep people's attention or entertain them doesn't mean that's the right way.”
A look inside Ronda's personal training dojo reveals the true side of fighting in professional MMA.
Countless hand wraps from her career are inscribed with the words "retire undefeated”, but her new slogan for her return to the Octagon is much more harsh. Rousey has now gone with "FTA” or "F*** them all” on her training gear.
While the message to herself may get her fired-up to beat Amanda Nunes at UFC 207, her mother disagrees with it being a good motivator.
"F*** everybody is not a good reason to fight,” her mother AnnMaria De Mars said. "I think that's stupid and bulls***.”
As for her next opponent if she's successful against Nunes? Rousey revealed a rematch against Holm tops her list.
Nobody has been able to defend the bantamweight belt since Rousey was outed last year, and bookmakers are slightly in favour of the 29-year-old regaining her position as UFC's top female fighter.
Rousey revealed her end goal after finishing her career in the Octagon, and it's probably something you wouldn't expect. The 29-year old said she dreams of living in a house in Alaska with Travis Browne and a number of children - and perhaps her own animal sanctuary.
"All I need is me and Travis and our little house in the woods, popping out babies and making snowmen and I'm cool, man. Really, I'm good,” she said.