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Ronda Rousey warmed up for 'The Expendables 3' by punching the director

Ronda Rousey had to work out some nervous energy before filming 'The Expendables 3' so director Patrick Hughes offered up his midsection as a punching bag. He probably regrets that decision now.

Ronda Rousey's warm-up for 'The Expendables 3' included punching the director 

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images North America

Ronda Rousey is quickly becoming the new action starlet in Hollywood, with high-profile roles in films such as "Fast & Furious 7" as well as the new "Entourage" movie opening 2015.  Her first featured role opened two weeks ago when "The Expendables 3" landed in theaters, and while the numbers at the box office haven't been all that great for the third film in the series, Rousey's performance was a breath of fresh air.

Teaming up with the action stars of yesterday, Rousey held her own against names like Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wesley Snipes. As fluid as her performance was on film, it seems Rousey was definitely nervous before shooting her first scene in the movie.

It was actually the first appearance for her character in the film as well, as she "auditions" for a role in a new Expendables team lead by Stallone along with his "talent scout," played by Kelsey Grammar. Before the scene started, Rousey was bouncing around and trying to get ready for shooting, when director Patrick Hughes asked her what he could do to help. The end result was Hughes taking a punch from the UFC women's bantamweight champion -- and if anyone says girls can't hit hard, just ask him how his ribs were feeling the next day.

I remember the first thing we shot with Ronda, I actually got beaten up. I went up and said, “’Well, what do you do before a big fight?” And she says, “I like to spar in my room. I get that nervous energy out.” And I said, “So you need to hit something? Let’s find something to hit.” And she said, “But I want to hit you.

— Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes

"I remember the first thing we shot with Ronda, I actually got beaten up. Ronda's first time ever on camera was the scene with Sly at a bar, and she's really super-nervous. I went up and said, 'Well, what do you do before a big fight?' And she says, 'I like to spar in my room. I get that nervous energy out.' And I said, 'So you need to hit something? Let's find something to hit.' And she said, 'But I want to hit you,' Hughes revealed when speaking to HitFix.

"She was like, 'Put your arms up.' And I'm thinking, 'Ronda's just going to do this.' Put my hands up, and she goes WHAM! Next day, I was getting dressed and my kids were there at the time --€“ my 7-year-old daughter said, 'What's that?' And I had this huge black mark. I had a broken rib. And I said, 'I got beaten up by an actress.'"

Rousey disputes Hughes' claims that he actually had a broken rib, although she does admit giving him a punch to kick off the film in the UFC way.

"He didn't have a broken rib! I didn't hit anything hard," Rousey said.

As it turns out, all that nervousness was for nothing because Rousey was welcomed on set like one of the boys; her castmates treated her like any other actor or actress in the film. From the first day she arrived, Rousey was part of the team, and that definitely helped her adjust from the bright lights of the Octagon to the big stage of a major motion picture.

"I thought I was going to be like the new kid at the school when I walk into the cafeteria and everyone's like, 'You can't sit here!' That's what I thought I was walking into. And they'll probably go, like, 'This chick? She's not even an actress. She's not even a guy,' or something. I don't know what I was expecting. I was expecting the worst. And yeah, I felt a little like the Downy teddy bear when I actually showed up. Everybody was just so welcoming and warm," Rousey said.

"Everyone really, I felt, went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, and I couldn't have asked for a better first project to be on. And I've always been the one shaking it down with all the guys anyway. I would have felt more uncomfortable if I were in 'Sex and the City 4.' So I'm really happy."