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4 Things We Learned About Ronda Rousey from Her ESPN Interview

3 minute read

Ronda Rousey lost her UFC women’s bantamweight title and undefeated status with a shocking knockout by Holly Holm in November. Opening up for the first time since the match in Australia, the 28-year-old fighter spoke to ESPN The Magazine for its “Ideas of the Year” issue about her stunning defeat.

1. The loss was crushing for her

Rousey had been planning to “disappear for a while” after her fight with Holm, but she had thought it would be time to celebrate her victory, not agonize over her defeat.

“I’m just really f—ing sad,” she said. “I’ve turned off my phone. I haven’t looked at it. I’ve just been having long conversations with Mochi [her 7-year-old Argentinian Mastiff].”

2. She’s embarrassed about how she fought

Rousey explained that she didn’t feel good about the fight after she took a big hit in the first round. “I got hit in that first round. … I cut my lip open and knocked a couple of my teeth loose. I was out on my feet from the very beginning.” she said. “It was like a dumbed-down dreamy version of yourself making decisions. … I was just trying to shake myself out of it. I kept saying to myself, ‘You’re OK, keep fighting. You’re OK, keep fighting.’ I just feel so embarrassed. How I fought after that is such an embarrassing representation of myself. I wasn’t even f—ing there.”

3. Recovering from the knockout has been difficult

The day after she got home from the match, she left for a trip to a remote ranch in Texas with her boyfriend, Travis Browne, to regroup. “I kind of just slept a lot and ate fast food,” Rousey said. “First I was so sick I couldn’t eat anything…Physically, my body was refusing its own failures. It was, like, sick of itself. Expelling itself. Like all the skin came off my face. My whole body flushed it out.”

She admitted that the shot that knocked her unconscious in the end, a kick to her face by Holm, was so hard that it’ll take her “three to six months before I can eat an apple, let alone take an impact.”

4. None of this means she is giving up

Rousey is eager for a rematch: “I need to come back. I need to beat this chick. Who knows if I’m going to pop my teeth out or break my jaw or rip my lip open again. I have to f—ing do it. It doesn’t matter. I have to do it.”

She spoke about how she is still willing to lay everything on the line. “I always say you have to be willing to get your heart broken. That’s just what f—ing happens when you try,” she said. “I guess it’s all going to be determined by what happens in the rematch. Everything is going to be determined by that. Either I’ll win and keep going or I won’t and I’ll be done with everything.”

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Write to Megan McCluskey at megan.mccluskey@time.com