“I feel it’s a challenge,” Rousey said after the fight. “I want to silence every criticism one at a time, and I think I silenced one tonight.”
This time Rousey used the comments about her father and the death of Piper for extra motivation, not that she needs it, and moved to 12-0. At 28, it isn’t clear that there’s much more for her in a sport in which she hopes to retire undefeated. Her immediate plans include acting in a Mark Wahlberg movie and then she intends to fulfill the demand for a fight with Meisha Tate.
“Here’s pretty much the plan: I’m going to beat up Bethe,” Rousey said last week. “Then I’m going to take a couple of weeks to rest. And then I’m going to go beat up Miesha. And then I’m going to go to Thailand, or wherever we decide to film. I’m going to prep for a month and start filming for eight to 10 weeks, and then go beat up the next chick. That’s pretty much my plan.”
Rousey has beaten Tate twice by armbar; her 2012 victory ended in the first round and her 2013 win ended in the third.
Early Sunday morning, Tate was posting on Instagram after her UFC 190 viewing party: “Guaranteed she won’t do that to me. #RouseyTatelll #ImComingForGold #MieshaTate #Vs #rondarousey #andnew”
UFC Chairman Lorenzo Fertitta told the Los Angeles Times late Saturday that he hopes to place Rousey-Tate on a card with Jose Aldo-Conor McGregor in an event that would set UFC live-gate and pay-per-view records. Promoters are hoping to place that fight in the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium on Dec. 5.
Cris “Cyborg” Justino is a possible opponent, too, but UFC head Dana White said Saturday that he wants her to fight once at 135 pounds before she would face Rousey. The champ was already talking tough about Justino.
“I prefer [someone] who makes weight and doesn’t do drugs,” Rousey said on Fox Sports 1. “The fight’s there for Cyborg. She can make 145 pumped full of steroids. She can move down to 135 without ‘em. I’m not going anywhere. I don’t know why people act like I have so much to prove when she’s the one who has to prove she can fight legitimately.”
No matter the next opponent and outcome, beating up “the next chick” has put Rousey, like Serena Williams in tennis, in a category all by herself, although Williams would never phrase what she does quite like that. Still, the two are doing extraordinary things, things that put them at the heart of the conversation whenever “greatest of all time” comes up. Williams will have her chance to solidify that next month when she goes for the calendar Grand Slam in the U.S. Open. Rousey, by acclimation and by result, is already there and can consider her next steps.
“Even though the last three fights were fast, they were all done extremely differently. I know I made some mistakes tonight and I’m always on a quest trying to be a perfect fighter,” she said in a TV interview postfight. I know that’s something you can’t ever really attain. That’s a goal I’ll never reach that I can always pursue. I feel like I’m one step closer to retiring undefeated and having a real legacy and that’s my goal at this point.”
Rousey was a little more pensive about her next step in an interview with The Post’s Rick Maese last winter.
“Sometimes I worry how I will handle retirement?” she said. “When I tried retiring from judo, I didn’t handle it very well. There is going to be a day — I look at my mom and I have hope because one point in your life, winning the world championship in judo was the only thing that every mattered. But once she did that, she was able to move on, start a family and a business. Other things became important to her.
“Hopefully, I can reach that point where something else will matter that much. That’s why I try to have other careers going on simultaneously, so it’s not like once I’m done with fighting, I’ll having nothing. I want to feel like once I’m done with fighting, I have some new, big near-impossible endeavor to go after next.”