Ronda Rousey returns to The Octagon at UFC 193 to defend her women's bantamweight championship for the seventh time when she takes on fellow undefeated fighter Holly Holm on Saturday.
Ahead of the much-anticipated bout, Rousey has been busy with other endeavors -- including being a co-host on 'SportsCenter' last month. She opened up to AOL Sports about how that experience was, where UFC is headed, why she wants to fight at Madison Square Garden, what she'll do in retirement and much more.
Q: You have the big event coming up against Holm, who is undefeated. How excited are you?
A: I'm really excited having an opponent like her. I think she's the first one who is really technical, patient, cool-headed and fired up enough to give me opportunity to show everything I'm capable of. ... I'm looking forward to showing everybody what's on paper doesn't matter in this case or in practice.
Q: This will be the first event in Melbourne and the first time two women will be fighting on the same card. You've been a part of a lot of firsts. Does that ever get old being a part of so many special milestones?
A: It doesn't get old because I'm always finding ways to top it. I mean, a stadium in front of 70,000 is no small feat, and we broke the attendance record. Take two American girls and have them fight in Austraila, it's no small endeavor. I'm not reveling in how awesome it is, though, because we haven't even accomplished it yet. Until the fight, it weighs on me. I think about it every day. I think about what Holm will try to do and I think of any kind of answer I'd have for her. I'm obsessed with thinking about it. But after, I'll appreciate it.
Q: Women's UFC has seen a meteoric rise in recent memory. Are you surprised how quickly it has grown?
A: I'm not surprised, but it's definitely risen a lot faster than I could've expected. I didn't think it was outside the realm of possibility, but it has been outside realm of expectations. It's really calming to know that even though I thought I had ridiculous goals, I'm constantly being challenged. It's really exciting always having new goals to go after. With the constant pursuit of one, it could get tiring, so it's real rejuvenating.
Q: Where do you think the sport is headed? What would u want to see happen next?
A: I think the next big step would be MMA -- professional and regulated MMA –- legal in New York in order to fight in Madison Square Garden, which is an iconic place to have fights. I think if we reach that point, there will be a new level of acceptance, for the next generation to understand and accept it, rather than having an old-school or traditional perspective. I think it's only a matter of time for more people to be exposed to it and more people to appreciate it for what it is.
Q: You're known for how 'in the zone' you get before a bout -- but the snarl is far from your every-day personality. Is the preparation process different for every fight, or do you mentally prepare yourself the same?
A: I'm just ready to go any time it's called for. I can teleport to the octagon and I can fall into it and be ready. It's something that I'm always ready to do in a moment's notice. I sleep all day, I sleep in the locker room because I'm training to condition myself to get up and be ready. It's not some long process. But I literally wake up out of the dead of sleep, ready to defend my title. It may not show all day, but if the need is there, I could respond immediately.
Q: You hosted 'SportsCenter' last month. Were you nervous?
A: (Laughs) Nothing can really make me that nervous. What's the worst that can happen, I'll screw up?
Q: Were you more nervous about being a co-host than entering the ring?
A: I put a whole lot more on the line by getting in the ring. Being a co-host, there's nothing I can lose from that. Hopefully I do a good job and people are entertained. If I suck, well, whatever (laughs).
Q: You also clearly enjoy acting. Have you ever thought about, especially because of the SportsCenter opportunity, getting into television, reporting or announcing after you retire from fighting?
A: No, I think that when I'm retired I'm probably going to move to the middle of nowhere, like Alaska or something, and not have to hear anyone's opinion about anything ever again. And I'm just gonna raise animals and make babies and no one will hear from me ever again. You'll miss me. I'm just going to tell myself that (laughs).