Ronda Rousey Says She’s ‘Never Even Gotten a Bruise’ from a Pro MMA Fight

As if we needed another metric on Ronda Rousey‘s dominance in the MMA cage.

What may be most telling about Rousey‘s latest comments is how believable they sound. If any other UFC fighter claimed to never have sustained so much as a bruise in competition, the chuckles would be audible.

Not with Rousey. While discussing her career arc on Monday’s edition of the ESPN talk show Highly Questionable, the reigning UFC women’s bantamweight champ said she has essentially emerged unscathed from each of her 11 professional contests.

“I haven’t even gotten a bruise from getting hit yet,” she told show hosts Dan Le Batard and Bomani Jones. “If it keeps going like that, I’ll have a much longer career, but if I have a couple five-round wars, it’ll be a lot shorter.”

Understandably incredulous, Le Batard immediately followed up.

“You haven’t had a bruise?” he asked. “You haven’t had a pain? You haven’t had, like, in all of your fighting time, you literally haven’t had a bruise? You’re not exaggerating there?”

Rousey responded with a slight clarification, noting that she had not had a bruise “from getting hit.” She then noted that her most egregious injury to date was a cut she sustained on her knuckle after punching Alexis Davis. Her fight with Davis was over in 16 seconds.

Quick finishes are in no way unusual for Rousey, a fact that underscores what an unusual fighter she is. The 28-year-old is 11-0 as a pro and has only left the first round once, when rival Miesha Tate took her to the third round in their 2013 rematch.

Rousey‘s five UFC contests have lasted a total of 17 minutes and 23 seconds, or a little more than three minutes per contest. For comparison’s sake, a full five-round UFC title fight lasts 25 minutes. 

In her most recent bout, Rousey dispatched Cat Zingano in 14 seconds.

You get the idea.

Rousey is scheduled to fight again this August at UFC 190, where she is expected to take on Brazilian Bethe Correia. It’s a fight Correia has repeatedly requested, in part through post-fight trash talk issued after defeating two of Rousey‘s close friends and training partners, Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler

Rousey is the early favorite to win that fight.

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UFC 185 Drugs Tests Come Back Clean for All Fighters

The UFC 185 post-fight drug-test results are in, and every fighter came up clean. 

Lately, these reports have brought doom, as welterweight contender Hector Lombard popped hot after his Jan. 3 bout at UFC 182 and both UFC 183 main event combatants—Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Nick Diazfailed their post-fight drug tests, the former for performance-enhancing drugs and the latter for marijuana.

While MMAFighting.com’s Marc Raimondi put any doubt to rest on Monday by reporting that all of the UFC 185 competitors passed their drug tests, there was serious doubt immediately after the show. 

In the night’s main event, lightweight title challenger Rafael dos Anjos performed perfectly, battering former champ Anthony “Showtime” Pettis from bell to bell by utilizing a well-rounded, powerful and aggressive attack. 

Showtime looked invincible going into the fight, and dos Anjos completely manhandled him. 

It was a star-making performance, and in the eyes of some fans and critics, dos Anjos‘ showing was a little too good. 

It’s a shame we have to go there, but that’s the reality of the UFC right now. Fighters are getting caught using steroids, and one fighter’s misstep casts a shadow on everyone else. 

That’s just how it is. 

The UFC, to its credit, recently announced stricter testing procedures and harsher penalties for offenders, a solid step in the right direction for snuffing out this issue once and for all. 

For now, though, we can breathe easy knowing that everyone at UFC 185 played by the rules.

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B/R Exclusive: National Champ Wrestler Ed Ruth to Pursue MMA After 2016 Olympics

Ed Ruth, one of the most decorated college wrestlers in U.S. history, will pursue a career in professional MMA.

The three-time national wrestling champion said he intends to make his MMA debut in early 2017 after the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

“Once the Olympics are over, I want to go straight into fighting,” Ruth told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview. “I can’t wait to just get in there and be in that atmosphere and walk out with the belt.”

The moment he sets foot in an MMA cage, Ruth would immediately become one of the two or three best wrestlers ever to compete there.

While attending Penn State University, Ruth, 24, compiled a 140-3 record, winning three NCAA titles and earning All-America honors in all four of his active seasons. Already a member of the U.S. national team, Ruth is currently preparing to represent America as a freestyle wrestler in the 2016 Olympic Games. As Team USA’s top-ranked wrestler at 86 kilograms (189 pounds), he is the favorite to secure that spot. He plans to compete in the 86-kilogram (or 189-pound) division.

At first, Ruth admits, he did not even like MMA. But the more he came to know it, the more he gravitated toward it. Ruth also acknowledged the career path that MMA provides for great wrestlers, a path that wasn’t available a generation ago.

“I started watching it, and it’s a really cool sport,” Ruth said. “I’ve always wanted to do boxing and karate. You can win in any type of way. I just caught the bug. … It’s been something that wrestlers have needed. What do you do after the Olympics? You could coach. But there was really no professional outlook. But now we have MMA. Now we have choices.”

Though Ruth has no extensive training in any combat sport outside of wrestling, wrestling is considered a cornerstone skill of MMA and should give him a big leg up right out of the gate. So, too, will the training team he’d like to join: the vaunted Greg Jackson-Mike Winkeljohn camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

“I want to go back to Greg Jackson’s,” he said. “There’s nothing set in stone, but that’s the direction I’m leaning.

Ruth made some waves in MMA circles last December when he spent time helping the team’s most famous student, UFC light heavyweight champ and pound-for-pound kingpin Jon Jones, prepare for his UFC 182 title defense against Daniel Cormier, himself an Olympic wrestler.

The speculation flames were further fanned when an Instagram video surfaced showing Ruth working on some glitzy kicks with Jones at the Jackson camp.

“MMA world: I’m coming for y’all,” Ruth said in the video.

Apparently, the experience left a lasting impression.

“There’s a higher elevation there, so training-wise that can test my body a little,” Ruth said. “Jon Jones was a great teammate. He was really supportive. And in working with Greg Jackson, he is a genius.”

Regardless of the camp, Ruth himself will bring plenty to the table. According to DeWayne Zinkin, who will serve as Ruth’s co-manager in MMA, an uncommon blend of tangibles and intangibles keys Ruth’s success.

“For the last two years, he’s been our No. 1 prospect,” Zinkin said. “We’ve had our eye on Ed for a long time. He’s dynamic, he’s explosive, and he’s everything a coach or manager would like to see. He’s that guy.”

The rangy but solid Ruth seems custom-made for the grappling arts. His formidable signature move, the cradle, regularly led to wins by fall throughout his collegiate career. But more intricate techniques, like a vaunted misdirection single-leg takedown, seem to come just as naturally.

“He has a bunch of nicknames, and the nickname I see as most fitting is ‘Effortless Ed,’ ” Zinkin said. “He wins so easily it’s like he’s not even trying.”

But it’s that physical prowess that will translate particularly well to MMA, said Bob Cook, Ruth’s other co-manager.

“There are no secret moves in MMA anymore,” Cook said. “There’s no secret submission. Those days are gone. The new generation is guys cross-training. People who dominate the sport now are superior athletes.”

But a fighter can’t live on athleticism alone, any more than he can thrive as a specialist in only one discipline. Ruth knows he needs a wider skill set, and that means picking up more striking. Though he occasionally works punches and kicks, he mainly does so for conditioning purposes at this point.

There’s also the small matter of learning how to take a strike, which in its own way can be just as tricky as learning how to dole one out. Some wrestlers (see: Brock Lesnar) have not reacted well when another person’s fist hit their face. The ability to absorb a punch is not innate for most people, and it is one Ruth has to acquire. 

“I think about that all the time. Once you get in there and you get punched, you could say ‘I don’t want this,’ or you can learn how to take it,” Ruth said. “With wrestling, you don’t get punched in the face, but you do get slammed on your head sometimes. I’ve done boxing and sparring and it didn’t faze me, but it was with boxing gloves. Those MMA gloves are a lot smaller. I don’t know what to think about it, but I’m ready for it. I have no choice but to be.”

As for weight classes, Ruth said the 185-pound middleweight division is the most logical fit given that he wrestled at 184 pounds in his final two seasons in Happy Valley. But he also spent significant time at 171 pounds, so a drop to welterweight is not out of the question.

“I might do a test cut to 170 to see how that goes,” Ruth said. “But right now I’d say it’ll probably be 185.”

For the next year or so, Ruth’s primary focus is honing his game for the Olympic trials, and he is working with the Sunkist Kids wrestling team at Arizona State University under Zeke Jones, who coaches the U.S. Olympic freestyle team.

In the meantime, there’s no major hurry for his MMA career, an approach that seems to be deliberate, and which could carry on after he steps into the cage. (He’d still be only 26 if he debuts in early 2017 as planned.) Though Ruth freely shared a desire to eventually compete in the UFC, he does not seem to be in a rush to do so.

“I might take it slow, not go straight to the big time,” Ruth said. “That can shorten up your career.” 

Why does he think he can succeed in MMA? Not every wrestler makes a good MMA fighter. Ruth pointed to the characteristics that made him great at wrestling in the first place, and the characteristics that wrestling honed in him.

“I can get really obsessive over things. If I want to get good at it and I’m not good at it, it drives me crazy,” Ruth said. “When I first did freestyle wrestling, guys were flipping me. But I kept working at it, kept changing the game plan. 

“Wrestlers are built tough. We know how to work hard and break our body down so we can build ourselves back up.”

Scott Harris covers MMA for Bleacher Report. For more MMA news and ruminating and joking, follow Scott on Twitter. All quotes obtained firsthand.

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UFC Fight Night 63: Who’s on the Hot Seat in Virginia This Saturday?

At UFC Fight Night 63, Chad Mendes and Ricardo Lamas will do their best to prove they are ready to meet the winner of a highly anticipated July title bout between 145-pound champion Jose Aldo and Irish MMA sensation Conor McGregor.

Mendes is actually coming off of a loss to Aldo, but it was one of the most competitive bouts the Brazilian titleholder has had. If Mendes hadn’t already had an additional loss to Aldo, there probably would have been a lot more interest in an immediate rematch.

Meanwhile, Lamas also has a somewhat recent loss to Aldo on his record. Since being dominated by Aldo at UFC 169, Lamas has rebounded with wins over Dennis Bermudez and Hacran Dias.

Headliners Mendes and Lamas are certainly going to be with the UFC for the foreseeable future, but some UFC Fight Night 63 competitors aren’t positioned nearly as well. Here are the individuals sitting on the hot seat heading into Saturday’s fight card.

 

Liz Carmouche and Lauren Murphy

Given how new the division is, women’s bantamweight competitors are being given a longer leash than those in other weight classes. However, Liz Carmouche and Lauren Murphy should both be heading into UFC Fight Night 63 with the mindset that they need to win.

The first female title challenger in UFC history, Carmouche has posted a disappointing 1-3 record inside the Octagon. Falling to 1-4 against an opponent with no UFC victories might not result in Carmouche being released because she is one of the more recognizable individuals in her division, but it would certainly put her UFC career on thin ice heading into her next outing.

Considering Murphy went to a split decision with Sara McMann in her UFC debut, she’ll probably be retained by the UFC regardless of the results this weekend. That said, her performance against McMann could be forgotten in a hurry should she miss weight on Friday and then lose badly on Saturday.

 

Gray Maynard and Alexander Yakovlev

It has only been a little over three years since Gray Maynard had his third meeting with Frankie Edgar, but The Bully has plummeted down the lightweight ladder since then.

Maynard has only won once in his past six outings. Moreover, the former title challenger has been knocked out in four of his past five appearances, which has caused some to question whether or not he should call it quits.

Despite losing in his first two UFC bouts, Alexander Yakovlev has now been matched up with another big-name opponent. Having already lost to Demian Maia, Yakovlev has not been given much chance to succeed by UFC matchmakers.

Getting cut due to a loss against Maynard would be rough, but it’s hard to imagine the UFC keeping a 0-3 fighter like Yakovlev around.

 

Ron Stallings and Justin Jones

Both Ron Stallings and Justin Jones had tough UFC debut matchups, but they need to get those losses behind them and back into the win column at UFC Fight Night 63.

Facing Uriah Hall in his first UFC outing, Stallings was predictably knocked out in the opening round. If he were younger and had more time to develop, it’s possible the UFC would give him more slack, but the time is now for the 32-year-old Stallings to prove he belongs on the UFC roster.

At 3-0, Jones entered the UFC without much pro experience, and he was welcomed with a loss against The Ultimate Fighter 19 winner Corey Anderson. Should Jones lose again on Saturday, it could mean he needs more times to develop with smaller promotions.

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Alexander Gustafsson vs. Glover Teixeira Booked for UFC Fight Night 69

A huge light heavyweight bout between former contenders Alexander Gustafsson and Glover Teixeira has been booked for the upcoming UFC Fight Night 69 event. The news was first reported by Swedish MMA site Kimura.se and was then confirmed by UFC President Dana White in an interview with MMA Crazy TV on YouTube.

The fight features two fan-favorite sluggers in desperate need of a win.

Gustafsson, who became an overnight sensation through his UFC 165 bout with Jon Jones, had his dreams of an immediate rematch squashed when the UFC booked Teixeira to face Jones at UFC 172. While Gustafsson worked his way back into contention by beating Jimi Manuwa at UFC Fight Night 37, he was forced to withdraw from a UFC 178 bout with Jones and was replaced by Daniel Cormier. From there, he went on to lose to Anthony “Rumble” Johnson at UFC on Fox 14.

Teixeira, on the other hand, tore apart the Brazilian MMA scene from 2009 through 2012 and entered the Octagon with a great deal of hype. While he initially made good on the high expectations placed on him by UFC brass, he was absolutely mauled by Jones at UFC 172 and was then handily defeated by Phil Davis at UFC 179, which left his place in the division completely unclear.

Gustafsson vs. Teixeira is expected to serve as the main event for UFC Fight Night 69, which will take place in Berlin on June 20. No other bouts have been announced for the event, so stick with Bleacher Report for more details on the card as they become available.

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