MONDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/13: Ronda Rousey compares UFC to WWE, says UFC debut ‘felt bigger’ than Wrestlemania, Jake Hager on holding onto submission, Namajunas hints at retirement, more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Ronda Rousey (photo credit Jayne Kamin-Oncea © USA Today Sports)


Ronda Rousey has been out of the spotlight since her Wrestlemania 35 main event last month. In that time, she’s been able to reflect on the whirlwind WWE run and her revolutionary MMA career that preceded it. Rousey sat down with Megan Olivi for an interview that is streaming on UFC Fight Pass.

Rousey, with a cast on her hand from an injury she suffered during her Wrestlemania match, compared being in the Wrestlemania main event at MetLife Stadium to her UFC debut back in 2013.

“[WrestleMania] felt big, it’s just I think it just has to do with the time, with the perspective. Me and Liz Carmouche, it felt bigger to me,” Rousey said (transcribed by MMAFighting).

“Even though it was years ago and not as many people watched and it was in the Honda Center, which maybe holds like 16 to 20 thousand compared to WrestleMania, where it was in front of like 80,000 people and millions of people watching. I just felt like me and Carmouche was the most pivotal moment, where everything had to happen that way or else women’s MMA would have ended before it started.

“With WrestleMania, it just felt like all the stars were aligned and the whole universe was conspiring for us to succeed and I had not a single doubt in my mind that we would. But for Carmouche, it was so many outside factors of like, the numbers had to do well and I had to win the match, but I had to win the match in an exciting way. There were just so many other different factors that I had to worry about and I feel like the stakes were higher in a way even though the venue and the audience was smaller.”

While Wrestlemania was definitely held in a larger venue and was possibly viewed by more people, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was the bigger event in Rousey’s career. Using Google searches to compare, it appears that public interest in Ronda Rousey has been relatively flat since she left MMA. The following chart shows that searches for “Ronda Rousey” peaked in Nov. 2015 when she fought, and lost to Holly Holm. Searches in April 2019 were 4% of what they were in Nov. 2015 while they reached 11% of that figure in the month of Rousey’s UFC debut.

Whichever show was bigger, Rousey spoke well of her time in WWE but was non-committal when it comes to a return.

“I made lifelong friends that I didn’t know were coming and it was something that I thought was going to be a small detour and it became my life for a whole year. They say that no one really retires, so we’ll see, I’m trying to do the baby thing right now.”

Monday Notebook

-Jake Hager spoke about his disappointment with TJ Jones during the buildup to their Bellator 221 fight. “TJ did great, he’s a class act. He did run his mouth all week. He did taunt me publicly. Did I have every reason to go out there and try and hurt him? Yes. Was I professional all week? Yes…This is just what happens it wasn’t on purpose. I legitimately thought that was him pushing on my arm.”

-Rose Namajunas told media after her UFC 237 loss to Jessica Andrade that she heard she may get a rematch but that she’s not fully committed to continuing to fight. “I just want to do something else with my life right now,” she said.

-Jared Cannonier says there are no hard feelings between him and the Brazilian fans after receiving a harsh reaction following his win over Anderson Silva Saturday night. “It wasn’t my intent to aggravate even more, to antagonize or anything like that, and going through my posts on my phone, some of the Brazilians are coming in and commenting, saying that it’s nothing against me, that they’re just passionate. I understand it, especially about their heroes.” (transcribed by MMA Fighting)

In case you missed it

MCGRATH: 12 things I learned this weekend in MMA

Full Rousey interview

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