Here are some of the highlights from Thursday’s UFC press conference in Seattle to promote the UFC on Fox card (5 p.m. Saturday, Ch. 11).
UFC President Dana White brought out Ronda Rousey, the first UFC women’s champion, presented her with her bantamweight belt and announced the first women’s bout in UFC history would be Rousey (6-0) vs. Liz Carmouche (7-2) as the main event at UFC 157 on Feb. 23 at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Among the topics for White and Rousey: Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos, Carmouche, Miesha Tate and Sara McMann, coaching on “The Ultimate Fighter,” dating and privacy/being recognized:
Why isn’t Cyborg the first fight?
Dana White: That was obviously the fight we wanted to make. We wanted to do that at 135 pounds and we worked hard to make that fight. I believe this fight will happen and I truly believe the next one will be the Cyborg fight. This is fight first, then the Cyborg fight.
Why Liz Carmouche? Why not Sara McMann or Miesha Tate?
Dana White: Let me put it to you this way: You guys know how when you ask me these questions and I tell you the truth? A lot of people don’t like the truth when I say it. But that’s who wanted to fight her. Believe me, people aren’t kicking down the doors at Zuffa to fight her.
Is a part of you a little disappointed the first fight is not against Cyborg?
Ronda Rousey: No, it’s going to happen eventually. I can’t make these girls fight me when I want them to fight me. I got a lot of respect for Liz. She’s the only one who really stepped up and said she wanted this fight right now. It speaks a lot to her. When the other girls come around, when they actually want to come to the big show, they know where I’m at.
Can you talk about what this means, now that you are officially the face of women’s MMA, what this means for all the ladies out there who aspire to be champions like yourself?
Ronda Rousey: You know what? It’s funny. I don’t ever get nervous for stuff like this. I didn’t even know about this till this morning. I don’t know, man. I don’t even know what to make of it. It means a lot. And I feel like we have a lot to prove at this event and no one’s gonna be disappointed and I think the women are here to stay and we’re gonna prove it.
What did you make of Cyborg’s announcement that she could make 135 after so long of saying she couldn’t make 135?
Ronda Rousey: I wasn’t the least bit surprised. I know she can make 135 and so does she. It just takes her a little bit while to realize that this is the only option she has and it took her a little bit while because I think she’s not that bright. When she does sit down and thinks about it and whatever, then we’ll actually have the only fight that makes sense.
(Post press conference)
Ronda Rousey: I think it’s really funny that when me and Miesha were supposed to fight, she was going on and on that I didn’t deserve a fight and now she doesn’t want to fight me. And I also think it’s really funny that Sara McMann was telling people that I was running away from her but then she turns down a fight for the UFC title. I mean, come on. These girls talk up a really big game but they don’t really want to come into the cage and fight me. So I’m here, I got this (the belt). They want it? They know where I’m at.
What are your thoughts on coaching a season of TUF?
Ronda Rousey: I think that would be very, very cool.
Would you want to coach the men?
Ronda Rousey: You know, I don’t know if it’d be more fun coaching the men than the women. I think it’d be really great for people to see a woman coaching the men, But I also think it’s be a really great platform for women fighters to have. And I think it’d be hilarious to see my coach lose his mind having to deal with other girls,. Because I don’t really give him that much trouble, but I can’t wait for some girl to come up to him, “I have cramps, Coach. I can’t fight.” I would just love to see his reaction to that cuz he would just lose his mind. So that would be entertaining. They would both be entertaining. I’d be down for either.
Dana, would you be open to something like that?
Dana White: Yeah, obviously. Listen, she’s a world champion. What do you see on TUF? You see world champions as head coaches. Listen, I’m in, man. I’m sold.
Do you have a boyfriend?
Ronda Rousey: No, I’m very hard to date. …
Are men intimidated to date you because they know you can beat the **** out of them?
Ronda Rousey: You know what? If a guy was too intimidated to ask me out, then that’s probably not a guy I’d want to date anyway. So, saves me the time.
Would you date a fighter?
Ronda Rousey: It would be very difficult. I kinda don’t want to dip in the company too much. You know I mean? I don’t wanna date anybody who if I never wanted to see them again, I couldn’t. So fighters, I would have to see again forever, so I don’t know.
Dana White: That’s the first time I’ve ever heard that question at a press conference. “Are you dating anybody?”
Ronda Rousey (laughing): If it had to be a fighter, it would have to be … I don’t know. They’d have to try really hard.
How have you been able to keep any of your life to yourself? You’re in demand so much with the champ belt. How have things changed?
Ronda Rousey: It’s hard to keep things private, to have privacy. But you know, I’m just more wary of who I talk to and what I say. I need to know who I can trust and who I can just be around. Making that distinction about people who are trustworthy or not is the biggest change.
When you walk down the street, do you get recognized a lot these days?
Ronda Rousey: It depends on where. If I’m in Vegas, it’s everywhere. If I’m at home, not so much. I went to Jamestown, North Dakota, where I grew up, and no one had a clue who I was and I thought it was actually pretty cool. It’s different where I’m at. I like that it comes and goes and it’s not like that all the time.