Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter on Fox Sports 1 is going to have a decidedly more feminine touch—one that’ll still beat people to a bloody pulp, but girly nonetheless. Because for the first time ever, not only will lady fighters compete for a UFC contract, but the team coaches will also be women, one of whom is the beautiful—and brutal—Ronda Rousey. The 26-year-old former Olympian in judo (she took bronze in Beijing in 2008) is the right ass-kicker for the job: She’s won titles in Strikeforceand UFC and is the best pound-for-pound female MMA fighter. And for her most impressive title of all, she landed at 29 on our 2013 Hot 100 list. She didn’t even have to arm-bar us for it!
Congrats on making Maxim’s Hot 100! As someone who’s so competitive, do you feel there are any women who outranked you who don’t deserve it?
It would have been really funny if I’d beaten [UFC Octagon Girl] Arianny Celeste, because that would be like a triathlete coming along and beating the runners in a marathon. Like, “Ha-ha, it’s your job to show your titties—I do that better than you!” Maybe next year. She’s only getting older, and I’m reaching my prime.
With female fighters joining The Ultimate Fighter house this year, is it going to be like a violent version of Bachelor Pad?
I don’t think so, but it’s all those unknown factors that are making everyone so excited for the season. They’re all grown adults, and I’m not their baby-sitter. If they want to make fools out of themselves, that’s their choice.
During the Strikeforce bantamweight championship against Miesha Tate, you delivered what was called “one of the most savage arm-bars in history.” What was going through your head as you watched her elbow bend backward?
I knew her arm was out, but she was still trying to escape with a bridge, so I was trying to put her arm in my other hand. I was sitting up trying to punch her with my right hand when she finally gave up. I didn’t feel bad about it—I was reacting to the situation. I treat the fight like it’s up for grabs until the very end.
Have you kept a tally of your own injuries?
Not at all. I mean, I’ve separated my shoulder and my collarbone; I’ve messed up my knee a million times. I’ve broken my foot in several places. I’ve broken my toe a bunch, broken my nose a couple of times, and had a bunch of other annoying little injuries, like turf toe and arthritis and tendonitis. It’s part of the game. It’s not like I work at Build-A-Bear, you know?
Is there anything that makes you squeamish?
Yeah. Ugh, I got a paper cut the other day, and I had chills for, like, an hour. I hate paper cuts. Talking about it right now makes me uneasy.
Which of these illegal MMA moves would you be more opposed to becoming legal: hair pulling or tickling?
Tickling! I’m unbelievably ticklish. When I was a little kid, my sisters would hold me down and tickle me until I peed my pants. I’m so traumatized that I go straight-up fucking ninja when people try to tickle me.
Do you have any prefight rituals?
Something needs to go wrong. If things are going smoothly, I get really suspicious. There’s always some kind of chaotic event that happens—I don’t have my mouth guard, or a
pit bull bites me on the foot, or I can’t find my passport—and once I take care of that one thing, it absorbs all of my anxiety.
You’ve said you try to have sex before a fight, too…
It’s just a medical fact: As a girl, if you have sex before a fight, it raises your testosterone. People are fascinated by it because that is one difference between men and women. You know, the guys really have to abstain, and the girls are kind of medically encouraged to do the opposite. If it’s available to me, then I’m all for it, but otherwise I’m kind of out of luck.
So what are you looking for in a fella?
Confidence is the number one thing I find attractive. It’s not that he needs to be able to beat me in an arm wrestle, but if he’s too intimidated to come up and talk to me, how is he going to handle the rest of the shit that I bring along?
What is on Ronda’s list of dude no-nos?
Don’t come up and tell me arm-bar jokes. I’m so full of arm-bar jokes that when someone comes up to me and talks about them, I’m just like, “Fail! You’re out.”
Well, it is your signature fight move. Speaking of, do you have any signature moves in the sack?
No. I think if you have a signature move, then you’re kind of doing the same shit every time. I try to be creative. I’m one of the best grapplers in the world, so I think I’m much more comfortable moving around while lying down than other girls are.
What’s the girliest thing about you?
I’m a big crier. I never cry when something is painful, but I cry if things are frustrating. Like if I’m trying to do something and I mess up over and over. If I’m playing a video game and I can’t beat a level that I’ve tried 10 times, I’ll cry. When I was a kid, I think I cried for every practice from 2003 to the middle of 2006.
You were kind of a crybaby!
At first I was bawling, but now I’m balling.