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Ronda Rousey on the road to history

Women's MMA champion, UFC president drop by Burbank eatery to speak about UFC 157.

December 19, 2012|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • ARCHIVE PHOTO: Ronda Rousey, 25, will put her 6-0 record to the test against Liz Carmouche (7-2) on Feb. 23.
ARCHIVE PHOTO: Ronda Rousey, 25, will put her 6-0 record… (Roger Wilson/Staff…)

BURBANK – When Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White speaks, people tend to listen. It’s hard not to, often times. There's rarely a topic he shies away from and he's not afraid of saying something controversial.

And one person he doesn’t seem to tire of talking about is Ronda Rousey, the newly christened and first-ever UFC women’s bantamweight champion. The fact that Rousey rarely hesitates to say what’s on her mind — among myriad more characteristics that have many calling her a fighter that’s the total package — is likely a reason White so quickly warmed up to the prospects of Rousey headlining February’s UFC 157 event.

“She’s cute and she’s articulate and she’s intimating, but when she goes in [to fight], she’s mean, nasty and she likes to finish people,” White said. “She’s a badass.”

Upon a sunny Wednesday afternoon in Burbank, White, arguably the most powerful man in mixed martial arts, and Rousey, the face of women’s MMA, book ended a table lined with various media members at Morton’s The Steakhouse to begin a steady stream of media fanfare that will follow Rousey as she prepares to make history when she headlines UFC 157 against challenger Liz Carmouche on Feb. 23 live on pay-per-view from the Honda Center in Anaheim.

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“She’s a home run,” White said of Rousey, who trains at the Glendale Fighting Club under Edmond Tarverdyan, as well as at Team Hayastan. “It’s hard to compare her to anyone else because we haven’t had anybody like her. She’s very unique.”

Rousey, 25, brings a 6-0 record into her main event with Carmouche (7-2), having defeated every opponent via arm-bar submission in the first round — five of them coming inside a minute.

“They know exactly what she’s gonna do and they can’t stop her,” White said. “She’s a killer, she wants to finish it.”

In addition to the results she’s produced and skills she’s showcased, Rousey has an Olympic pedigree, as her Bronze medal in 2008 Summer Games was the first for an American in the sport, has displayed the sex appeal that garnered her the cover of ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue,” and her articulate and unflinching interviews have made her a media darling and a sound-byte haven.

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