MANILA, Philippines – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White believes top female fighter Ronda Rousey is capable of changing people’s minds when it comes to women participating in mixed martial arts.
The 25-year-old Rousey, who was a bronze medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games for judo, is the first female fighter to be signed by the UFC.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, White explained why he signed Rousey to a UFC contract despite previously claiming that he doesn’t want women to fight in the UFC.
“At the end of the day, what everybody needs to understand about me is that I’m a fight fan. I’m a fight fanatic. I love fighting,” White told Jon Wertheim.
“Everybody wanted to come out and say it’s because Ronda Rousey is hot, and I got a crush on her. (Former MMA fighter) Gina Carano is hot, too. Ronda Rousey is a different animal,” he added.
White agreed that Rousey was “pretty,” but added: “She is also mean, she is nasty, and she likes to finish people... She’s a different breed, man.”
“She doesn’t want to go in – she never wants to go in and win in a decision. She wants to go in there and she wants to hurt you,” he added.
White is confident that when Rousey fights in the UFC, she will be able to convert those who are skeptical about women’s MMA.
“When Ronda Rousey comes into the picture in the UFC, there is going to be a lot of people that aren’t really into women’s fighting and are going to think women’s fighting doesn’t belong in the UFC,” he said.
“Once they see Ronda Rousey fight, I think they’ll change their mind, yeah,” White added.
White stressed that he is not taking shots at Carano, who previously competed in Strikeforce and EliteXC but has not fought since August 2009 and is now more focused on her acting career.
“But Gina Carano does not have the desire and the fire and the meanness and the nastiness that Ronda Rousey has,” White said. “Believe me when I tell you. Completely different.”
Rousey will make her UFC debut on February 23, when she defends her bantamweight championship against Liz Carmouche in the main event of UFC 157.