When it comes to balancing training with media obligations, few mixed martial artists keep a schedule as hectic as Ronda Rousey.
On top of pushing herself in the gym before each fight, the UFC women's bantamweight champion is never too far from the spotlight. In between bouts, Rousey has even taken to filling downtime with roles in films like The Expendables 3, Entourage and Fast & Furious 7.
Going into her upcoming title defence against Canadian Alexis Davis in the co-main event of UFC 175 in Las Vegas Saturday, Rousey's once again running the press gauntlet.
Though her packed timetable would be enough to make some fighters cringe, Rousey has a secret weapon working to her advantage.
“I don't really do that well with downtime,” Rousey said during a recent media conference call. “So I'm always in the gym regardless. A lot of fighters like to have their fight and then go chill out for a month or two. I get in trouble for sneaking back into the gym sometimes two days after a fight. I'm just always in shape and always ready. I don't really like resting too much.”
The cause of Rousey's desire to never stray too far from the gym is two-fold.
Though there is nothing more satisfying than violently dispatching high-level challengers, this sensation is often fleeting for the California native. It doesn't take long before she once again gets the itch to compete.
“The high after a win is what I enjoy the most, not sitting around and resting,” Rousey said. “I clearly only enjoy the rest while that high is still lingering. It's only so long that I can enjoy sitting on the couch and eating as much pie as I want before going to the gym and pressing repeat. I really need that big goal and obstacle to be excited about what I'm doing.”
On top of her competitive drive, Rousey simply knows that in order to stay on-point, she must fight frequently. She admitted to learning this the hard way, after a 10-month layoff prior to her December bout with Miesha Tate resulted in some unwanted ring rust.
“We don't really have the luxury boxers have where, if the champion takes a long break off, they can have a tune-up fight to get ready for another big title fight,” Rousey said. “I just have title fights to keep from getting that ring rust.”
Next on her hit list, Rousey aims to net her fourth consecutive title defence by besting Davis.
Currently riding a five-fight win streak — three of which have come under the UFC banner — Davis has flown under the radar somewhat and could offer tough opposition wherever the fight may go.
Rousey said she isn't taking the Port Colborne, Ont. native lightly.
“Alexis is definitely the most well-rounded fighter I've ever come up against,” Rousey said. “She's one of the most experienced and her coaching (staff) is some of the best I've ever come up against.
“I think the greatest challenge is: whatever tools she does have, I know that she'll use them in the most intelligent way possible. Being that she is well rounded, she has a lot of tools to pick from.”
Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the bout will play out once the action hits the mat, as Davis is arguably the most experienced ground fighter Rousey has ever been paired up against.
As well as sporting a Muay Thai striking background, Davis holds black belts in both Brazilian jiu jitsu and Japanese Jujutsu.
A 2008 Olympic judo bronze medalist, Rousey said she aims to represent her discipline and secure bragging rights by taking out Davis.
“When I first started watching MMA that was one thing that pissed me off so much, everyone assumed that everything would beat judo,” Rousey began. “Everyone would be like, 'Any wrestler can beat a judo player. Any jiu jitsu player can beat a judo player.' I was just really annoyed by the complete lack of respect that the sport got. I see that changing definitely.
“You can definitely get away without having any ground game in judo, but if you are the type of person ... that can submit people in judo — I mean, you've only got a couple seconds to make that work. If you're the type of person that does actually make it work on the ground in judo, you're one of the best in the world. I'm happy to really get the opportunity to showcase that.”
Should she get the job done against Davis, Rousey said she plans on taking a much-needed break.
However, it will remain to be seen whether she can enjoy her time away from the cage.
“I'd like to fight again on New Year's and take a little break before then,” Rousey said, “but the UFC knows if there's an emergency or they need me, I'll step up on 24-hours notice.”