When it comes to winning the pre-fight staredown, nobody comes close to UFC female bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey.
At least in the eyes of Karyn Bryant.
Bryant, who will lead the FOX Sports 1 coverage of UFC 175 this week, recently talked with FightLine about Rousey. The champion defends her belt Saturday night vs. Alexis Davis in the co-main event from Las Vegas.
“This women works harder than anybody I have ever seen. She is so focused and dedicated,” Bryant said. “She is getting comfortable being the champion, knowing who she is. She a really, really, really intense woman and if anything, since winning the title, she wants to keep it and prove she’s the best.
“She has the meanest mug in the game.”
Rousey (9-0) earned her first non-submission win this past February in a battle of former Olympic medal winners when she stopped Sara McMann. As a bronze medalist in judo, Rousey was able to stop the wrestling silver medalist in the opening round.
Prior to that, Rousey had won all eight of her fights via armbar – including seven inside the first round.
“She’s just a real fighter,” Bryant said. “She does nothing else when she’s fighting. She really has got the heart and true spirit of a fighter. This is not a fad or a hobby for her.
“When you see Ronda in the gym….she is training harder than anybody else.”
Rousey has talked openly about her appreciation for the UFC bringing in another women’s division, as strawweights will compete later this year. A tournament on The Ultimate Fighter 20 will be held to crown a champion at 115 pounds.
Before the move by the UFC to do that, some wondered if a loss by Rousey would end female MMA inside the Octagon. Now, the sport is thriving like none other.
“(If Davis won) it would prove the bantamweight division is deeper than just one woman,” Bryant said. “When the title changes hand, it creates compelling stories and rematches, such as Ronda trying to win it back. It gives an opportunity to create new stars. And not that the division isn’t legitimate already, it would create more threats.
“Of course, I’m sure Ronda doesn’t want to lose.”
Check back later this week when Bryant breaks down the UFC 175 main event between middleweight champion Chris Weidman and Lyoto Machida on FightLine.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie