Olympic bronze medalist Rousey’s MMA career off to perfect beginning

Ronda Rousey couldn’t have scripted the first year of her professional mixed martial arts career any better.

“If I could have sat down and said, ‘If everything were to align perfectly for my career, how would it go?’ I would have said, ‘I don’t know, fight six times in 12 months and win every match in a minute,’ ” Rousey said. “That’s something I would say being a smartass, and that’s actually what happened.”

Rousey took up MMA in May 2010 and had her first amateur fight three months later. She won all three of her amateur bouts, including two for Tuff-N-Uff in Las Vegas, by armbar in less than a minute.

The trend continued when she turned pro and won fights in March and June — both by armbar, and both in less than a minute.

Rousey made the jump up the ranks when she signed with Strikeforce, the top organization with women’s MMA divisions, and submitted Sarah D’Alelio in just 25 seconds at the Palms in August.

“I think things are going so well I’m getting a little suspicious,” the 24-year-old Southern Californian said.

Rousey will be back in action against Julia Budd on the Strikeforce card at the Palms on Friday night, looking to continue her streak.

Rousey keeps racking up victories and asking to fight again as soon as possible. It’s a far cry from the schedule she maintained as one of the top judo athletes in American history.

She was the youngest judo competitors at the 2004 Olympics and became the first American woman to medal in judo when she won bronze in 2008.

Rousey disappointed many in the judo world when she gave up the sport before entering her prime and abandoned what was the best U.S. hope for a first gold medal in 2012. She said she just wasn’t enjoying herself anymore.

“I (didn’t) want to be miserable for four years to be happy for one day,” she said.

She is happier now and has quickly become popular. In addition to being one of the sport’s best Twitter users, Rousey is outgoing, outspoken and attractive.

She knows a potential fight with top-ranked Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos would be a big draw, but wants a bit more experience first. Rousey also said she thinks dropping down from 145 pounds to challenge for the 135-pound belt, then coming back up for a champion vs. champion matchup with Santos would be better for marketing and women’s MMA, in general.

“I want to feel like I can leave the sport better than when I came into it,” she said.

Her fight against Budd on Friday is part of a Strikeforce Challengers show. The main card begins at 8 p.m. and airs tape-delayed on Showtime (Cable 240) at 11 p.m. The card includes a main event middleweight bout between Antwain Britt and Lumumba Sayers.

■ FOX RATINGS — Final numbers won’t be available for a few more days, but preliminary ratings announced by Fox show the Ultimate Fighting Championship card on the network Saturday night was watched by 5.7 million people.

A release issued by the network indicated the broadcast, the first for the UFC on network television, pulled a 4.3 rating in the 18-to-34 male demographic, better than any Saturday night college football game this season except the Alabama-Louisiana State game on Nov. 5. KVVU-Fox 5 drew the highest rating of all Fox affiliates, according to the station.

■ TWITTER GONE WRONG — UFC star Forrest Griffin apologized for a comment he made on Twitter last week in the wake of several high-profile sexual assault cases in the news.

“Rape is the new missionary,” Griffin tweeted, a posting he later removed.

Griffin said he was relaying his observation that rape stories had become commonplace, especially with the Penn State situation dominating the news programs all week. Some, however, interpreted the tweet as a joke.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.

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