Bethe Correia: Ronda Rousey ‘hasn’t proven she’s the best woman fighter’

Bethe Correia (left) is campaigning hard for a title shot against Ronda Rousey.

Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC

Ronda Rousey has been rather praising of Bethe Correia in recent interviews. Correia isn’t ready to return the favor.

"I appreciate if she said anything good about me, but I’m not very interested in her compliments," Correia told FOX Sports (translated from Portuguese by Matheus Aquino). "From her I just want the belt."

Rousey, the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, said earlier this month in Brazil that she appreciates the way Correia is trying to sell a fight between the two of them. Correia defeated Rousey’s friends and training partners Shayna Baszler and Jessamyn Duke in her last two fights. After both of them, Correia talked trash about the group, which has dubbed themselves "The Four Horsewomen."

"I’m glad that the girls are taking the hint and making themselves more interesting for the fans," Rousey told reporters on Sept. 13 during a UFC Fight Night card in Brasilia. "I think that storylines and that back story is extremely important. It becomes more than just who is athletically better, it becomes who is right."

The undefeated Correia (9-0) doesn’t seem like she’s just trying to promote. She seems very earnest about earning a title shot and believing that she’ll win the belt.

I already proved to the world that the Four Horsewomen are a big joke. I just need to conclude my work getting the number one, the leader.

-Bethe Correia

"I already proved to the world that the Four Horsewomen are a big joke," Correia said. "I just need to conclude my work getting the number one, the leader. … I’m only waiting for the UFC to give me this chance so I can end this group once and for all and show who’s the woman that came to stay and will be the only one to retire undefeated."

It’s unclear when that chance might come. UFC president Dana White said Saturday night after UFC 178 that Cat Zingano had earned the next shot against Rousey, likely at UFC 182 on Jan. 3. Zingano, though, got hit with six-month medical suspension by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) due to a back injury, so she would need to be cleared by doctors before being able to step back into the Octagon before March.

Speaking of March, White also said last week that he would like Rousey to fight in January and then, if she wins, turn around and defend her title again in March. There are a few potential contenders for her then like Cris "Cyborg" Justino or Gina Carano. But Correia wants it to be her.

"If it’s in March you can be sure there will be a new champ in March," Correia said. … "The only thing I recognize [about] her as an athlete is what she did for women’s MMA. But even as the UFC champion she still hasn’t proven she’s the best woman fighter. She just proved she’s the best Judo fighter in MMA. I will show I have a more complete, true MMA game."

Rousey (10-0) floated the possibility earlier this month of fighting Correia in Brazil. Correia, as you would imagine, is very much in favor of that.

"She said she’s used to being booed, but here it’s different," Correia said. "She just fought here in a judo competition, which is much more different than MMA. She doesn’t know how the Brazilian crowd reacts and the energy they send. They’ll all be with me and I’m sure she’ll feel it. She will fight a Northeastern Brazilian with hot blood. To me it will be wonderful and to her it’ll be a disaster."

Correia, who is ranked No. 8 among women’s bantamweight contenders, said she understands if the UFC gives Zingano the title shot first, because she earned the No. 1 contender spot last year before tearing her ACL. Still, Correia said she wants her next fight to be for the title. She has a one-track mind.

"I want to be the champion, that’s all I’m thinking about and I’m already preparing for it," Correia said.