First title defense on deck for Ronda Rousey

Mixed martial arts: Glendale-trained Strikeforce women's champion will face Sarah Kaufman on Saturday.

August 15, 2012|By Grant Gordon,
  • Ronda Rousey and her trainer Edmond Tarverdyan prepare for Rousey's first ever defense of her Strikeforce women's bantamweight title Saturday night in San Diego at the Valley View Casino live on Showtime.
Ronda Rousey and her trainer Edmond Tarverdyan prepare… (Roger Wilson/Staff…)

These are the days of Ronda Rousey.

She has become a media darling, a sex symbol and a bona fide mixed-martial-arts superstar who's been all over the television screen, magazine covers and, of course, the Internet, with roughly 100,000 Twitter followers and counting along with this vlog and that interview and so much more.

Just about everything she does is news these days in the world of MMA journalism and often times beyond.

Perhaps lost in the aura, ascension to stardom and "it factor" that seemingly surrounds her has been the fact that she's reached the top of women's MMA because she's one helluva fighter with the Strikeforce women's bantamweight title to defend against former champion Sarah Kaufman on Saturday night in San Diego at the Valley View Casino live on Showtime's "Rousey vs. Kaufman" card.

But while many in the media, and likely fans, have made much ado about Rousey's growing notoriety and presence, the Glendale-trained grappler assures that she's got her eyes dead ahead on defending her title belt.


"I enjoyed it a lot more the two months after when I first won the title. But now, I'm much more focused on retaining the title instead of basking in having it," said Rousey (5-0), who will take on Kaufman (15-1) in the five-round, 135-pound bout. "The last few weeks [haven't] been about sitting back and enjoying myself. It's been about preparing myself and working as much as possible on maintaining it."

Training predominantly at Team Hayastan in Hollywood and the Glendale Fighting Club under lead corner man Edmond Tarverdyan, Rousey has shot up the ranks of the women's fighting world and claimed the Strikeforce belt in just under a year and in only her fifth fight, submitting then-champion Miesha Tate in the first round of their Showtime main event on March 3.

While Rousey was predicted to be a star on the verge before her bout with Tate, since winning the championship, she has exploded in popularity and notoriety. She's appeared on "Conan" and hosted "TMZ,"graced the cover of three magazines in one month, including the ESPN The Magazine "The Body" issue, got the Internet buzzing with comments on Kim Kardashian and Michael Phelps, rang the opening bell at the stock market and was the first guest female coach to appear on "The Ultimate Fighter."

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