“I’m selling a product and I have to be out there; I don’t have the option not to be,” she says. “But after this fight, I’m definitely going to let some people miss me, for sure. Believe me, there’s nothing I would like to do more than disappear for a while.
“I would like to wait until UFC 200 to fight again. I’m going to be filming [movies] in the meantime, so I’m still going to be keeping busy,” she continues. “When I’m filming it’s kind of weird, I’m on camera the whole time, but nothing really goes out until a year or two later. It is kind of like disappearing in a way.”
It’s no secret that Rousey (12-0) has consumed the spotlight in the lead-up to her seventh title defense opposite Holm (9-0), which takes place at Melbourne, Australia’s Etihad Stadium with a potentially record-setting crowd in attendance. From appearances on Ellen and The Tonight Show to guest-hosting gigs on SportsCenter and history-making cover shoots for Ring Magazine, the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champ has been a constant presence – and not just when it comes to media coverage.
Her matchup with Holm will be Rousey’s third fight in less than nine months. And with the media required for each UFC appearance, she’s had to run the same gauntlet – and answer the same questions – time and time again. But if all goes according to plan, she won’t set foot inside the Octagon again until July 9, 2016, when UFC takes over the new Las Vegas Arena, an eight-month hiatus that would represent her second longest break from fighting since she began her MMA career in 2011.
And, yes, she’s looking forward to getting away from it all.
“I have to be out there to sell these fights; it’s not because I really enjoy getting made up and going to work every day,” Rousey says. “It’s cool, it’s an awesome job, but it’s still a job. I’m doing it because it helps me make a living and not because I’m so extremely vain that I want to see my face everywhere.”
While fight promotion can be exhausting, Rousey firmly believes she’s the only female on the UFC roster capable of doing it at such a furious pace. She recently stated her opponent couldn’t handle the attention and responsibilities that come with being UFC champion. Holm, however, disagrees.
“[I’m ready for] the limelight that comes with being champion,” Holm says. “Trust me, every time something comes it’s just going to remind me, ‘I’m the champion.’ I think I can handle that.”
Although Rousey plans to fade away for the better part of a year after UFC 193, she won’t have peace of mind during the break unless she defeats Holm in a fight she describes as her “biggest challenge to date.”
Then again, Rousey has hardly been tested during her 12-fight career, winning all but one of her bouts in the first round and thrashing eight opponents in less than one minute. But Holm, a former 19-time boxing champion who transitioned to MMA less than five years ago, is also undefeated, and has the skillset and experience to show Rousey something she’s never seen before.
“Rowdy” says she’s ready.
“Her fighting style is, on paper, the kind that would be the worst matchup for me,” she says of Holm. “She’s the kind of person I have to be very, very patient with, a lot more cautious because of her ability to fight on the outside, her counter-punching and the camp she comes from.”
Unlike her August fight against Bethe Correia at UFC 190, Rousey has the utmost respect for Holm. The prefight banter between Correia and Rousey included comments about suicide that angered Rousey due to the tragic death of her father. She entered the Octagon with Correia intent on making a statement, and did just that with a 34-second knockout victory. The fight with Holm, however, is different. This one is about adding to her legacy.
“What I’m really looking to do is retire undefeated; I’m not sure when the right time to retire will be, but I know that I’m not done yet,” Rousey says. “Something still feels unfinished and that’s why I’m going to keep going. After every fight I reassess and say, ‘OK, what else is there for me to do?’
“I’m attempting to break the all-time UFC attendance record for this fight and I’m looking to beat a 19-time undefeated world boxing champion that no other woman has beaten yet,” she continues. “I want to be the first one.”
Holm, of course, will do everything in her power to ruin those plans and send Rousey into her layoff on a low note. The 16-1 underdog is ready to play spoiler in a fight she deems more crucial than any during her noteworthy boxing career.
“The UFC is the most prestigious belt for MMA because it’s the biggest organization with the best fighters, so fighting for this belt is huge,” Holm says. “Ronda Rousey is the most dominant fighter out there, so winning this belt is the biggest, because she’s the unbeatable fighter. Beating her is definitely the biggest achievement of my career.”