It’s been more than three years since Ronda Rousey competed in the UFC, but according to the former women’s bantamweight champion, not a day passes where someone doesn’t ask her about fighting again.
Rousey has never used the word “retirement,” but she’s essentially put MMA behind her after losing back-to-back fights against Amanda Nunes and Holly Holm. She was later inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame before launching a successful career as part of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Lately, Rousey has been content living off the grid with her husband, UFC heavyweight Travis Browne. But she says it’s still hard for her to escape her past..
“There’s not a day that goes by people aren’t telling me to fight,” Rousey said on her YouTube channel. “I have to try and think of it as, would I rather be the greatest of all time, or have everybody think I’m the greatest of all time? It used to be so important to me to have both. But now it’s got to the point where I don’t want to sacrifice myself and my family to prove that anymore to a bunch of people that don’t give a sh*t about me.
“I know, and the people who love me know. It’s no longer a priority in my life. All the people that tell you, ‘Come on, fight again, do this again,’ they would never do that for me.”
After transitioning to MMA from her judo background, Rousey’s life was consumed with fighting. By the time she was touted as one of the UFC’s biggest superstars, she said the sport became her only identity. It wasn’t until she walked away that she learned to see herself as something other than just a fighter.
“It’s hard when everyone around you, the value they have for you is how you fight, and how they see you is how you fight, and the only thing they think you have to offer is how you fight,” Rousey explained. “It was actually my husband that taught me I’m so much more than just a fighter. I don’t have to fight myself into the ground to prove that I’m the greatest of all time when I already know that I am.”
Rousey confesses that it wasn’t easy to walk away from the sport, but she sees evidence quite often that convinces her she made the right call.
“That’s something I really had to deal with stepping away from the UFC was finding my identity without it, because I got so lost in it,” Rousey said. “It’s tough, because you’re with these people and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, I got to live this journey with you, this is amazing’ and then you see some of these Bellator fights and you’re like, ‘Oh my god, this person’s still going?’ I can’t watch it. It makes me sad.”