After becoming the first American woman to medal in judo, at the 2008 Olympics, Rousey won the first UFC women's fight, over Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23. Despite the rumors, her next breakthrough won't be in the movies.
DAN PATRICK:Are MMA fans surprised by your personality when they meet you outside the ring?
RONDA ROUSEY: A lot of people have preconceived notions about me. A lot of people are like, Wow, you're not a jerk.
DP:How do guys feel about what you do?
RR: They're cool about it. But the dating part has been a little difficult because I'm an extremely difficult person to be with. I travel all the time, and I train with a bunch of guys. I require a lot of effort, and I guess no one I like has thought that I'm worth the effort so far. But whatever, I'm busy with my career right now.
DP:How much pressure are you under?
RR: How do you gauge that? I'm at a pressure level of 12 [laughs]. I put a lot of pressure on myself. I want to succeed so much, outside pressure can't compare to inside pressure.
DP:Do you fight angry?
RR: I have no emotion when I fight. I'm entirely in the moment, and I observe everything and make snap decisions off all of those observations. I'll only remember little snippets of what happened. I spend so much time on play, I don't record.
DP:What do you like the room to be like before you fight?
RR: I don't like anybody in the room casually chatting. I like it pretty quiet. I'm very irritable before I fight. Afterward I'm the most cuddly koala bear you've ever seen. All the stress in the world has been lifted off my shoulders. I want to sit in my bed and watch movies and eat wings.
DP:Anyone ever challenge you to fights outside the ring?
RR: Every single fight I've ever gotten into ... the repercussions were never worth it. [Now] I'm very Daniel-san when it comes to fighting.
DP:So you have gotten in fights?
RR: Yes. Self-defense situations. I don't go around and start kicking people.
DP:Are you going to be in the sequel to The Hunger Games?
RR: Not to my knowledge. I don't know where that came from. I had it all over my Twitter one day.
DP:You look like Jennifer Lawrence's older sister.
RR: She only has a younger sister in the book, so I guess I'm out of luck. If it's convenient, I would love to do it. But right now fighting is my priority.
DP:Will MMA make it into the Olympics?
RR: I don't know. After I see that they're trying to get rid of wrestling, which was one of the inaugural sports of the Olympics, and they still have archery.... I can't say there's any real common sense to the Olympic process right now.
DP:If you're going to do The Hunger Games, you can't rip archery.
RR: I'm not ripping archery. I'm just saying any activity like archery or golf or pistol shooting.... If you don't break a sweat, it's a skill. If you break a sweat doing it, it's a sport.
"He just pulverized poor Brandon Knight. That was tough to watch. I've been posterized. But that was something different. It was like the scene in Final Destination when the girl steps off the curb and all of a sudden the bus [runs her over]. That's what it reminded me of."
KOBE BRYANT, Lakers guard, on the alley-oop dunk by Clippers center DeAndre Jordan
Alabama QB AJ McCarron defended Heisman winner Johnny Manziel for taking courses online because of the attention he gets at Texas A&M. "I go to class," McCarron told me. "You get some extra stares. But Johnny's one of my good friends, and he's had a lot thrown at him. I can understand." ... Kentucky coach John Calipari said the media have overstated the Wildcats' struggles because it's a compelling story line. "If it was the media [on the tournament selection committee], we probably wouldn't get in," Calipari told me. "Even if we won the [SEC] tournament, they'd try to keep us out." ... Indiana sophomore Cody Zeller knew he could have been a high NBA draft pick last season, and he considered going pro. "I was definitely close," the 7-footer said. "It's a lot of money to turn down. I just wasn't ready. I'm a little kid at heart." ... Nuggets coach George Karl told me his approach has been influenced by the fast pace of European soccer and Oregon football. "They don't want the defense to match up their strength against your strength," he said. "The weakest part of a defensive team is in transition."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II/1DEUCE3 PHOTOGRAPHY (PATRICK)
JEFF R. BOTTARI/GETTY IMAGES (ROUSEY)
BILL FRAKES (MCCARRON)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (CALIPARI)
JOE ROBBINS/GETTY IMAGES (ZELLER)
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (KARL)