Ronda Rousey has officially arrived in the WWE to start off a new phase in her career, one that she insists is ‘not a gimmick’ and will be the primary focus of the next several years of her life. It’ll be hard to know what’s true and what’s kayfabe with her down the road, especially after Rousey pulled off a very elaborate media troll to convince people she wasn’t going to be at the Royal Rumble on Sunday. But there was one part of her latest interview with ESPN that looked very honest: when she nearly came to tears after her last two losses in the UFC were mentioned.
“I think I’d just rather not talk about that right now,” she said after several long seconds of silence.
“The only thing that helped me, because winning the Olympics was the only thing I cared about as a kid, I devoted my whole life to it and I tried and I tried,” she said emotionally. “And I’m winning the World Championships like my mom did and I got to the finals of the World Championships and I lost. I went to two Olympics and I lost.”
“It’s still hard to realize your childhood dreams not coming true. And I think the only thing that helps was finding something else to devote my self to and be successful at. I think I only really was able to get past the Olympics when I started doing MMA. And I do believe there’s a parallel there.”
“It still hurts that I didn’t win the Olympics,” Rousey admitted. “And it sounds ridiculous to a lot of people. ‘You’re an Olympic medalist, you should be happy.’ It would be hard to explain that to my 10 year old self that was so sure she was going to win the Olympics. Things all happen for a reason. I really do believe that. I really do believe that the worst things in life result in the best things that can happen. And I think that this journey into the industry is proving that belief is real.”
That just goes to show you how seriously Rousey takes winning that she considers her bronze medal in Olympic judo ‘losing.’ In Rousey’s autobiography she details her troubled years between judo and MMA as a swirl of booze and drugs and occasionally living in her car. The MMA to WWE phase seems to have been calmer with Rousey now married to fellow fighter Travis Browne, but it’s clear in the way she continues to withdraw inwards every time her UFC losses are mentioned that she hasn’t processed them in a healthy way.
That being said, she didn’t exactly close the door on her UFC career forever. But the door sounds only as open as the door to judo, which she says isn’t shut … but has basically been shut since she left the Beijing Olympic village in 2008.
“That’s what everyone else seems to say,” she said when asked if she was retired from MMA. “I never retired from judo, so if that’s what you guys want to think … All I know is I really want to devote 100% of my time to wrestling right now, and whatever people want to call that, they can call it.”
She admitted she hasn’t even watched the UFC in the past year, once again comparing it to judo, which she doesn’t watch any more either. But when asked if she’d consider crossing back over from the WWE to UFC if the right opponent came along and her eyes flashed with determination.
“I wouldn’t doubt myself doing anything,” she declared.