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Dana White: Ronda Rousey Will Be a 'Rock Star'

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

UFC president Dana White isn't sure if Ronda Rousey will ever fight in the UFC, but he definitely knows the Strikeforce women's bantamweight champion is destined to become a big-time star.

"I took Ronda Rousey to the Sons of Anarchy premiere the other day. And you know how Hollywood premieres are with (expletive) people lined up and down the streets. You got the red carpet," White told a group of media members last week in Las Vegas.

"So we pull up and you got all the Sons guys, and all the celebrities that are there from FX TV shows. We got out of the car and the whole (expletive) place started screaming 'Ronda, Ronda, Ronda,' like (expletive) crazy. Like a (expletive) Kardashian got out of the car.

"I was like holy (expletive) (expletive) this girl is right there."
While White admits Rousey's looks (she was recently on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's "Body Issue") play a big part in her success, he says there is another "it" factor that intrigues MMA fans.

"She's a (expletive) unique individual. She's like a Diaz brother," continued White, who said Rousey is actually in full-camp mode, training with the Diaz brothers, Nick and Nate, in Stockton despite the fact that she does not have a fight scheduled.

"She really is. Inside like a (expletive) dude trapped in this beautiful body. The reason I got interested in women's MMA is because of her … everyone is like it's cause she's good-looking and 'Dana blah-blah.' Gina Carano is good-looking too. She's very pretty. There's (expletive) something different about Ronda Rousey."

But whether that difference allows Rousey — the first-ever American woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo, when she took bronze in Beijing in 2008 — to become the first woman to ever fight in the UFC, White said he wasn't sure.

"Let's say we took Ronda Rousey and you brought her in the UFC, you'd have to build an entire division. Then you have to have another place where women can train and work their way up," White said. "For the men you have all these other small shows happening all over the world. They can work their way up and get on The Ultimate Fighter. There's so many different route for the guys to get there, where for the women's (there's not).

"There's Invicta where they can fight and train. But that's only one (expletive) show out there other than Strikeforce where women can work their way up. I just fear bringing Rhonda to the UFC just shuts down the path for other talent to get to Ronda. It's tough, but I'm telling you right now I think she's one of the pound-for-pound best in the world. She's ripping apart all the best girls in the world."

Indeed the 25-year-old's latest performance, a 54-second victory via her signature armbar over former champ Sarah Kaufman in August, not only improved her record to a perfect 6-0, it raised the question: Can anybody even compete with her?

"The thing about Rousey is these girls she's fighting against are the best, they're the best girls in the world," White said. "They know exactly what the (expletive) she's going to do and they can't stop her."

Minus the 4:27 bout she won against Miesha Tate in March, that secured Rousey her 135-pound title, the eight other pro and amateur opponents she's faced haven't lasted a minute against her.

However, MMA fans and White are intrigued by a possible megafight with Strikeforce's featherweight (145-pound) champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos.

"Her and Cyborg would be a big fight. Cyborg has some issues she needs to get over first," White said of Santos, who could return from a yearlong steroids suspension in December, but would also have to drop down a weight division to face Rousey.

White said a victory over Santos or the kind of continued domination she's shown so far could force Rousey into Lucia Rijker territory. The famed Dutch boxer, known as "The Most Dangerous Woman in the World," had trouble finding quality opponents because of her dominant victories.

"I just hope it doesn't turn out to be like a Lucia Rijker-type thing, wherever you have this unbelievable (expletive) girl," White said. "But the difference is nobody knew Lucia Rijker her whole career, Ronda Rousey is four (expletive) fights in and the whole world already knows who she is."

Whatever happens, White says Rousey's 15-minutes of fame are just beginning.

"I think she is going to be a (expletive) rock star," White said. "She's got that thing. The women's fighting thing … 'Well this girl's pretty good and they stood toe to toe and everything, Ok.'

"I've been around some of those girls, they're girls. But this girl is like a (expletive) killer man. And all she wants to do is get better, and better, and better; and learn more, and more, and more."