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'Unprecedented' title fight awaits Ronda Rousey

Mixed martial arts: Media blitz is in full swing for Glendale-trained UFC champion.

February 12, 2014|By Grant Gordon, grant.gordon@latimes.com
  • Ronda Rousey is interviewed at an open workout with the MMA champion at the Glendale Fighting Club in Glendale on Monday, February 10, 2014. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)
Ronda Rousey is interviewed at an open workout with the…

Just two days earlier, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey was in the center of a media storm that descended upon the Glendale Fighting Club for her open workout.

On Wednesday, Rousey was back at it, joining opponent Sara McMann, along with Daniel Cormier and Rashad Evans, on a conference call ahead of Feb. 22’s UFC 170 in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay.

While many of the questions were regarding the same topics from Monday to Wednesday, one constant was Rousey believes the intrigue of her Ultimate Fighting Championship women’s bantamweight championship against McMann is unwavering and quite significant.

“It’s really unprecedented and I’m really happy to be a part of it,” Rousey said.

It is a bout that pits an undefeated challenger in the 7-0 McMann, who has an Olympic silver medal in freestyle wrestling on her resume, against the undefeated Rousey, who’s 8-0 in mixed martial arts, a former two-time Olympian in judo with a bronze medal to her credit and a path of trailblazing in the world of women’s MMA behind her.

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Among the myriad storylines addressed Monday and then readdressed Wednesday were the Olympic collision, the matchup of wrestling against judo, the quick two-month turnaround for Rousey and McMann’s 10-month layoff, as well as Rousey’s burgeoning Hollywood career and the distraction it could play.

Prior to Rousey’s Dec. 28 title defense against Miesha Tate at UFC 168, she filmed two movies — “The Expendables 3” and “Fast and Furious 7” — which was part of a 10-month long layoff. Now, however, she has just two months to prepare. The short turnaround is much more preferable for the unbeaten champion, though.

“The last fight, it was definitely not the optimal training situation,” said Rousey, who’s trained under Edmond Tarverdyan at GFC for the duration of her MMA career. “Whereas for this fight, I just feel like I’ve been improving all the time. I started this camp in the best shape of my life.”

McMann, whose time away from the cage was due to personal reasons, said she doesn’t believe the time away will hinder her come fight time.

“I think if I had been injured, it would be more difficult,” she said, “but I’ve been able to train every day, so it doesn’t really feel like time off when you’re training with guys everyday.”

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