One certainly wouldn’t know from her stellar resume—which includes becoming the first American woman to win an Olympic medal in women’s judo—but Ronda Rousey is used to being overlooked.
“My whole judo career I was working with a height and strength disadvantage. I’ve always been known as the smaller, weaker one,” says the 5-foot-6 Rousey, with a laugh. “So what I learned to do a long time ago was become very, very efficient in everything else.”
The 24-year-old Rousey—who after claiming the bronze medal during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, decided a switch of sports was in order—has become a quick study in mixed martial arts.
None of her six fights have lasted even a minute, as Rousey has quickly finished all six opponents via armbar.
“I know it would be good for me to have to go the distance, to have more information on what I need to work on so I can train more efficiently, but I always go for the first opening I see,” Rousey said.
“I’m always trying to finish a match, not win by points. If the first idea always works, I can’t say that’s a bad thing.”
Rousey will get another opportunity for a fast finish tonight when she takes on Canadian Julia Budd during Strikeforce Challengers 20 at the Pearl at the Palms. Middleweight Antwain Britt fights Lumumba Sayers in the main event of the Showtime-broadcast event that begins at 6 p.m.
But Rousey sees Budd (2-1), who is ranked three spots ahead of her in sixth-place amongst 145-pound women in the Unified Women’s MMA Rankings, in the same class as the other fighters she’s competed against so far: a taller and supposedly superior striker.
“She’s a strong girl. She has the reach and striking advantage over me,” says Rousey, who verbally submitted Sarah D’Alelio in just 25 seconds in her Strikeforce debut in August. “But pretty much everyone I’ve fought has had the same game plan, and she’s never fought anyone like me before.”
That kind of bold attitude and stellar Jiu-Jitsu has Rousey believing, much like she did when she was competing in the Olympics, that the sky is the limit for her in her newly acquired sport.
“I knew that 2012 was meant to be my year. If I’m not going to be Olympics, I knew I would be doing something else amazing,” Rousey said. “I’m not exactly sure what, but hopefully I can win a title … or two … in this next year.”