UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is no stranger to rivalries, but her next matchup isn’t about rankings or about facing the top contender in the world at 135 pounds.
Rousey will meet undefeated Brazilian challenger Bethe Correia at UFC 190 on Aug. 1 in Brazil after specifically asking the promotion for the fight. Correia landed in Rousey’s crosshairs after beating two of the champion’s closest friends and teammates, Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler, in back-to-back fights in the UFC.
Now Rousey is ready to settle the score while beating Correia in the challenger’s home country.
"I would definitely say this is a personal fight," Rousey said on Friday. "My dad had a great saying when somebody needed to be shown what’s up. He would say that this person needs to have a ‘come to Jesus’ meeting and Bethe is going to have her own ‘come to Jesus’ meeting in Brazil. I’m happy to come down here while I discipline this girl."
There were very few smiles from Rousey on Friday outside of a few happy moments she shared with a loud and welcoming Brazilian crowd.
Whenever the attention turned to Correia, the UFC women’s bantamweight champion’s grin turned grimacing as she gazed at the Brazilian challenger with anger in her eyes.
I don’t just want to defeat her. I want her to leave that arena embarrassed.
— Ronda Rousey
Rousey understands why Correia went after her teammates in order to score a championship fight with her, but as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for.
"I understand Bethe’s tactics and I understand why she went about things the way she did, but just because I understand it, doesn’t make it OK," Rousey said. "The fact is in order to get a title shot as quickly as possible, she disrespected my friends, which I consider my family.
"If you f–k with my family, you are f—ed. It doesn’t matter. This fight is more than just about an athletic competition. It’s about proving a point and punishing someone."
Rousey has looked virtually unstoppable so far in her UFC career, especially with the way she’s recently run roughshod over all top contenders in her division.
Rousey blitzed top-rated grappler Alexis Davis last July in just 16 seconds, then somehow managed to top it with her performance against previously undefeated contender Cat Zingano at UFC 184 in February when Rousey won via submission in only 14 seconds.
It seems Correia has gotten under Rousey’s skin, so there’s no telling how the champion will approach her next title bout, but there’s always a chance she’ll attempt another record-breaking performance.
And this time she’s doing it in her opponent’s home country.
"I felt like if I’m really going to make an example out of Bethe, I don’t just want to defeat her. I want her to leave that arena embarrassed," Rousey said. "The best way to do it is to come here and beat her in her own backyard."