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Ronda Rousey on Bethe Correia: ‘I don’t just want to defeat her; I want her to leave that arena embarrassed’

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

The rumors were made official on Friday: the next defense of Ronda Rousey's UFC women's bantamweight title will go down in Rio de Janeiro at UFC 190. Securing the golden ticket to fight Rousey this time around is Bethe Correia, an undefeated Brazilian striker who forced her name into Rousey's mouth by defeating two of Rousey's self-proclaimed ‘Four Horsewomen,' Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler, in back-to-back contests.

"I would definitely say that this is personal," Rousey said at Friday's Aldo-McGregor press conference. "My dad had a great saying when someone needed to be shown what's up. He would say that this person needs to have a ‘come to Jesus' meeting. Bethe is going to have her own ‘come to Jesus' meeting in Brazil.

"I don't just want to defeat her. I want her to leave that arena embarrassed. And the best way to do it is to come here and to beat her in her own backyard."

Correia has been one of the few women in the 135-pound to strike up a rivalry with Rousey, even flying out to UFC 184 on her own dime to sit cageside for Rousey's 14-second masterpiece over Cat Zingano.

Earlier this month, Correia went so far as to promise that Rousey "will need a shoulder to cry on after I beat her," and Correia has made a point to lower one finger after each of her victories over Duke and Baszler, indicating the slaying of another of Rousey's ‘Horsewomen.'

"I understand Bethe's tactics and I understand why she went about things how she did," Rousey said. "But just because I understand it doesn't mean that it's okay. The fact is, in order to get a title shot as quickly as possible, she disrespected my friends, which I consider my family. And if you f**k with my family, you are f**ked. It doesn't matter.

"This fight is about more than just an athletic competition. It's about proving a point and punishing someone."

When Correia finally does meet Rousey on Aug. 1 in front of her Brazilian countrymen, she'll likely do so as one of the biggest underdogs to challenge Rousey to date. Correira is ranked just seventh on the UFC's media-generated bantamweight rankings, and despite her 3-0 UFC record, her biggest win came over the unranked Baszler.

Still, Correira takes exception to the idea that she's undeserving of her title shot.

"I won my fights fighting," Correia said. "I didn't do it talking. I fought. Who do you think at this moment deserves this fight more than I do? The only person in the UFC who has three fights in a row, who hasn't had a chance, who asked for it -- it's me. So I don't see any other person in the UFC who deserves it more than I do.

"I'm going to beat Ronda. I'm going to make her feel the weight of my hands. I promise this to you. I'm going to beat her for you. This belt belongs to you and it's going to be here in Brazil, because she's coming here and she's going to leave the belt here, at home, for you. This is what I'm going to give you, the crowd."

The environment was a rowdy one in Rio de Janeiro, as both women played to the Brazilian crowd throughout the proceedings. Correira promised to put her jab in Rousey's face and make the champion "feel the weight" of her hands, while Rousey vowed to entertain the masses when she "disciplined this girl." Though the oddest moment of the press conference came near the end, when a reporter asked Rousey about the mole that Correia previously offered to knock off her face "with a punch."

"Listen, it's a beauty mark," Rousey said. "Cindy Crawford had one too. And I quite appreciate it. I like it. I could get rid of it if I wanted to, but I think it's unique. And yeah, I could start going on about her physical appearance, but I'm just not even going to go there, okay? Let's not play the pretty awards between me and her. I'll just leave it there."

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