Bethe Correia: Media created illusion that Ronda Rousey is unbeatable
Trash talk leading up to a championship fight is nothing new in combat sports.
Fighters routinely engage in a back-and-forth war of words in interviews, social medial exchanges, press conferences and any other avenue that might help sell a show. UFC 190 headliner Bethe Correia found out the hard way that words can come back to haunt you, however, after a controversial interview about women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey surfaced just weeks ahead of their showdown in Brazil.
Correia made a remark about beating Rousey and hoping “she does not kill herself” as a result of losing her title. Little did Correia know at the time that Rousey lost her father to suicide when she was just a child, and the controversial comment came back to bite her in a big way.
Immediately after the comment went viral, Correia made a public apology on Twitter and stated several times afterward that she had no idea that Rousey had endured a tragedy like that in her personal life and never meant to take a cheap shot with such sensitive subject matter.
Now, almost two months after the interview first appeared, Correia is taking aim at Rousey for turning her words around and making it seem like she had ill intentions.
"That whole story instigated me to be even hungrier going into this fight," Correia told FOX Sports. "Ronda took something that I said and interpreted it in whatever way she wanted to make it seem like I'm the villain in the story when I'm the good girl."
Correia said watching Rousey's response to the situation made her realize that the bantamweight champ was trying to sell a story to her fans and maybe a few more books after releasing her autobiography earlier this year.
"I feel like she took something I said and she's trying to turn it completely around. She's trying to defame me for that, and I'm not going to allow her to burn my name from something that she misinterpreted," Correia said. "To be honest, when she was crying and being very emotional about my comment, I can tell you I was very proud of her as an actress.
"She did a very good job of interpreting that and she's on her way to being a big Hollywood star and maybe getting an Oscar soon."
Correia has been doing everything in her power to ruffle Rousey's feathers leading up to their match, but is that really the best course of action when facing a fighter notorious for lightning fast finishes and brutal submissions?
The Brazilian contender isn't going to back away from anything she's said or will say this week as she gets ready for Saturday’s showdown. She believes Rousey's apparent invincibility is simply an aura created by a false narrative that the UFC champion is somehow above defeat.
"Ronda has this characteristic of being this almighty perfect fighter, and the media's created this illusion that she's unbeatable. I don't believe she's unbeatable," Correia said.
"I can go in there and beat her. Even in the interview she did recently where she said she was going to use me as an example of what not to do for the other girls coming up — it's something she's trying to make herself seem so dangerous and make people fear her in a way. She's trying to create this illusion around herself, and it's making me want to go out there and do justice for everyone else."
Correia knows, on paper at least, she's fighting an uphill battle against Rousey, an undefeated five-time defending UFC champion whose last three fights have lasted a combined 1:36. She's a force of nature who has been called the most dominant athlete in all of sports.
Regardless of Rousey’s gaudy numbers and growing records, Correia knows the champ is still capable of losing and plans on proving that this weekend at UFC 190.
"She's never faced someone who is as strong as I am, physically and mentally," Correia said. "She's never faced a tough Brazilian who has been through wars and a lot to get here to where I'm at. It's not that there aren't other girls who are a test for her, but she just hasn't faced me, and I know I'm the one that will put up a fight."