When Liz Carmouche woke up on Thursday morning, she had no idea she was about to become a part of UFC history.
UFC president Dana White announced at the UFC on FOX 5 press conference in Seattle that Carmouche would challenge Ronda Rousey in the main event of UFC 157 on Feb. 23 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
But Carmouche herself didn't find out until about an hour before the announcement.
Carmouche explained how it all broke down in a telephone interview with MMAFighting.com from the San Diego Combat Academy gym in her first public comments on the fight.
"I got a call from Dana about an hour before the they made the announcement," Carmouche said. "It was the first time I've ever talked to Dana. It came together that quick. I was out clothes shopping, and just like that I've gone from not having a fight to being in the UFC and getting my dream fight just like that."
With one fell swoop, Carmouche became part of the first women's fight, title fight, and pay-per view main event in UFC history, as well as the UFC's first openly gay fighter. Hours after the big announcement, it hadn't all sunk in.
"I still haven't processed it," Carmouche said. "I'm still trying to wrap my brain around it. It was the type of thing I dreamed about when I got into the sport a couple years ago, but to have it happen this fast ... like I said, I still haven't processed it."
The fighter known as "The Girl-Rilla" is 7-2 in her career and has won her past two fights. She was scheduled to face Sara McMann on the doomed Nov. 3 Strikeforce card in Oklahoma City, and has waited for her next move since the card was canceled.
"I never let myself get out of fighting shape," said Carmouche. "That's always been my thing. I always want to be ready to go if I get a phone call. So it's not like I got out of shape or anything like that. Obviously I have a goal in front of me now, but I haven't stopped training."
Carmouche knows what's in her path. While Rousey, the UFC's first women's bantamweight champion, has become a star in part because of her brash demeanor and sex appeal, she also backs it up in the cage, with six-first round armbars victories in six career fights. Carmouche knows Rousey's fans expect her to be the next victim, and she's okay with that.
"Hey look, I respect Ronda. She's done so much for the sport of women's MMA. I'm never going to take anything away from her. But for those people who think I'm going to get armbarred quick, all I can say is, they could be in for a surprise."
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