Three weeks after Holly Holm broke Ronda Rousey's face and her spirit, the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion has finally broken her silence.
"I'm just really fucking sad," Rousey told ESPN the Magazine's Ramona Shelburne in her first interview since UFC 193.
A month ago, Rousey was ubiquitous, appearing on talks shows, commercials, magazines and websites. But in the aftermath of the her first defeat as an MMA fighter, she's has withdrawn into herself. She stays home. She plays video games. She avoids the chatter. "I've turned off my phone," she says. "I haven't looked at it. I've just been having long conversations with Mochi," she said. That's her dog.
Rousey's still nursing the wounds she suffered at the hands (and feet) of Holm. There are still stitches in her lip. Several of her teeth are wobbly. "It might be three to six months before I can eat an apple," she says in the interview. The emotional wounds are just as raw, but with the encouragement of her family and trainer Rousey is emerging from her post-fight hibernation.
That's a process, though, and it includes coming to terms with what happened in Australia. Rousey describes the fight like she wasn't part of it. She did things she can't explain. She didn't do other things she'd practiced for months. Why? Her trainer blames the pressure and the attention. The distractions became too much. But as Rousey admits, albeit implicitly, Holm deserves all the credit.
"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 says. The hit she's referring to came 30 seconds into the fight. Holm landed a thunderous left, and Rousey was not longer herself. "It was like a dumbed-down dreamy version of yourself making decisions. ... I was just trying to shake myself out of it. ...I wasn't even fucking there."
With time will come acceptance and eventually Rousey will be healed. At that point that she'll be confronted with the possibility of reentering the octagon, likely with Holm. Will she do it? In the past few weeks plenty of people have suggested that she won't, that she'll choose decidedly safer world of acting. But Rousey has a different plan.
"I need to come back," she says. "I need to beat this chick."
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