MANILA, Philippines – Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is grateful to former MMA fighter Gina Carano, whom she considers a great inspiration.
“I would never be an MMA fighter if it wasn’t for (Carano). I’m not dumb enough to not be grateful. I just say, thank God for Gina Carano,” Rousey told The New York Post.
Carano was one of the most famous female MMA fighters, but she has not fought since 2009 and is now more focused on her movie career.
But Rousey stressed that even Carano’s movie career helps promote women’s MMA.
“I really think what she’s doing with films is just as much an influence on women’s MMA as her fighting again,” said Rousey.
“She’s continuing to represent us very well, bringing women’s MMA to an audience that doesn’t know MMA at all,” she added.
Carano, for her part, said she is happy to see Rousey become the new face of women’s MMA.
“I think it’s great for females that she did come along and revamped, and just kind of got everybody excited. I think that’s a beautiful thing,” said Carano.
“That puts a lot of pressure on her, but it also opens up a lot of doors for other female fighters,” she added.
Carano said Rousey was deserving of all the accolades being heaped upon her, “because she is really good.”
Despite their mutual respect for each other, Rousey said she will not hesitate to fight Carano if the “Haywire” star decides to return to the sport.
“Of course I would (fight her),” Carano told the NY Post. “I would just hope that she’d be okay. Obviously, I’d want to win.”