Just hours away from the highly-anticipated return of Ronda Rousey, it’s no secret that the former champion has been on a strict media-free diet ahead of her first UFC appearance in over a year.
Since losing to Holly Holm in November 2015, Rousey has been out of the public eye. After three fights in nine months and her usual schedule of endless interviews and TV spots, Rousey decided to take a different approach to her return fight against Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 Friday night.
“I’m still grieving the person that could have won it all,” Rousey said in UFC 207 Countdown. “But I have to live up to the fact that I’m not her. That’s just who I’d like to be and instead I’m what I need to be for myself and everyone else.
“You have to go through those stages of acceptance and renewed optimism.”
TMZ posted a video Wednesday in which Rousey seemingly responded to the swirling frenzy of criticism surrounding her media blackout. In the clip the former champion said, “I don’t care how this Pay Per View does; I don’t care how much money I make; I don’t care about interviews and I don’t care how I look. All I care about is winning my belt back on Friday night, and that’s it.”
Rousey’s Instagram collection over the past few weeks showcases an in-shape challenger eager to compete again after being away from the game she loves for so long. Rousey said she is a fighter. She believes that she is still the best fighter in the world and plans to show that when she fights at UFC 207.
In a media scrum Wednesday, UFC president Dana White spoke about Rousey and her request to forgo media ahead of the critical fight.
“It’s definitely not ideal but it’s what she asked for,” White said. “Back in the day Ronda would do anything we asked her to do. If the guys wouldn’t do something she would pick up the ball and do it herself. So, for her to ask for something like this – how could I say no to that? She’s done a lot.”
“Rowdy” is back to her old self.
“I’ve talked to her every day and she’s very good,” White said. “She’s ready to roll, ready to fight and she’s in a great mood.”
Matt Parrino is a digital producer and writer for UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MattParrino