(Updated at 11 p.m. Ronda Rousey won by submission in just 14 seconds.)
UFC world champion, Olympic medalist, Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue model and Hollywood action star – there doesn’t seem to be anything that Ronda Rousey can’t do.
As she prepared to defend her bantamweight title in UFC 184 on Saturday at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, Rousey talked to the media about everything from Mixed Martial Arts fighting to enjoying enforced drug tests and her blossoming film career.
Rousey, 28, has become known as a force to be reckoned with in the Octagon and enters the fight against Cat Zingano 10-0, having won eight out of 10 of her fights with an inescapable judo-style arm lock.
She made her big screen debut last year in “Expendables 3,” and 2015 will see her play herself in the “Entourage” movie, as well as starring alongside the late Paul Walker in “Furious 7.”
“I met him — he was a very sweet and kind person and [I wish] all my best to his family,” she said at a press conference Thursday when asked about the actor who died in a car crash in November 2013.
Weighing in at 135-pounds, the 5-foot, seven-inch blonde has been credited for turning the spotlight on women’s MMA fighting and there’s no doubt that her success on the big screen has helped attract new fans to the sport. “I definitely think the audience for MMA has expanded as a lot of people watching are first-time buyers of the pay-per-view,” she told reporters.
“I believe I’ve got to hustle to get as much attention to the sport as possible,” she said, adding that she’s considering acting again soon. “I’ve got a couple of interesting options after this fight, but first I am going to concentrate on beating Cat.”
Instead of choosing between acting and MMA, Rousey believes she is “capable of doing all of it. I prioritize fighting first, and when there’s gaps in my schedule I shift my focus to something else.”
Fortunately her two chosen professions do sometimes collide, such as while filming “Expendables 3.” “Jason Statham was kind enough to come keep me company when I training one day. I’d been away for a while and missed the presence of my coach standing there next to me when I hit the bag,” she recalled. “He was an absolute sweetheart.”
Fans of the “Fast and Furious” films can expect to see Rousey return after the upcoming seventh film, which has a release date of April 3. “I only had 10 days and they wrote something in for me … so you really got to meet my character and I expect to hear from her further down in the franchise,” she said
While she appears to take every fight easily in her stride – such as knocking out Alexis Davis in just 16 seconds in her last matchup, “Rowdy” Rousey’s biggest challenge of late was not freezing while shooting the recent Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. “The best lighting is when the sun is rising and when it is setting, which is when it is freezing, so I was chilled to the bone at the end of the day,” she recalled of the skimpy shoot.
Next up, she will be the focus of a book written by her sister, Maria Burns Ortiz, who is an award-winning journalist. “We got approached with the opportunity to write a book and I thought that no one can really understand me and capture my voice like she could,” said Rousey. “It was a cool experience but by the end of it, she told me: ‘I don’t wanna hear about you ever again, I’m tired of you!’
“The first draft is done. I’ll finish it off … when I am done beating Cat.”
18 Dramatic Championship Sports Movie Moments: From 'Rocky' to 'Remember the Titans' (Photos)
"The Pride of the Yankees" (1942)
This beautifully dramatized moment of sports history, as wonderfully monologued by Gary Cooper, helped to immortalize the already infamous "Luckiest man" speech by Lou Gehrig.
In the ultimate underdog story, newcomer Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone) gets a shot at the world heavyweight title against champ Apollo Creed. Rocky proves he has the goods, going the entire 15 rounds against Creed, but loses in a split decision. Rocky would get a rematch though and win the title in “Rocky II”.
"Breaking Away" (1979)
One of the most inspiring underdog stories ever made, the Little 500 bicycle race in Bloomington, Indiana, is a local classic as made famous by this film. In the film's closing race scene, the locals -- dressed in plain white T-shirts with their nickname the "Cutters" -- upset the richer college students with more expensive bikes and uniforms, riding across the finish line in pure glory.
“Chariots of Fire” (1981)
Two Englishmen push each other to be the best sprinter at the 1924 Olympics. While they won gold on the big screen’s racetrack, “Chariots of Fire” would go on to win Oscar gold for best picture.
“The Natural” (1984)
Robert Redford plays middle-age rookie Roy Hobbs in “The Natural.” Hobbs leads his team to a championship on his final at-bat when he launches the most famous home run in movie history. Thus proving the unspoken rule in baseball: If you break the lights you win the game.
Another Indiana classic in what is widely considered one of the greatest sports movies of all time, “Hoosiers” follows a small town high school basketball team as they make it all the way to the state finals. They play a bigger and more athletic team in the finals, but with a last second shot pull off the surprise victory.
“Major League” (1989)
Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger lead an outfit of misfit Cleveland Indians from last place to a shot at the league pennant against the powerhouse Yankees. Even though the film is a comedy, the final game plays out in dramatic fashion.
“A League of Their Own” (1992)
“A League of Their Own” proved that girls can play baseball, and ends in a play at the plate that determines the championship. Geena Davis’ Rockford Peaches may lose that final game, but as Tom Hanks taught us, “there is no crying in baseball!”
Steve James’ revolutionary documentary follows inner-city Chicago kids William Gates and Arthur Agee throughout their high-school basketball careers. The film culminates in both striving to reach the finals of their city wide championship tournament.
“Remember the Titans” (2001)
Based on the true story of Virginia’s first integrated high school football team (led by coach Denzel Washington), the Titans not only change the views of an entire town, but they go undefeated on their way to a thrilling state championship against an all-white team.
“Friday Night Lights” (2004)
The film that spawned the critically acclaimed TV series (which in turn may spawn a film of its own) is memorable in that its featured team doesn’t win the championship. The Permian Panthers mount a great comeback, but come up one yard short of the state title.
In perhaps one of the greatest upsets in sports history, a team of U.S. college hockey players defeated the Soviet Union, the three-time defending gold medal winner and best team in the world, during the Cold War.
Okay, okay. This is really a parody of sports movies. But for all its send-ups of underdog sports movie formulas, it also embraces them full-heartedly during the gripping championship showdown between the Average Joes and Globo Gym.
“The Fighter” (2010) David O. Russell‘s Oscar-winning picture depicted boxer Mickey Ward’s (Mark Wahlberg) climb up the ranks from middling contender to a shot at the title. The final fight shows the grit and heart that it took for Ward to win the belt.
The best sports documentaries are as riveting as their scripted counterparts, putting viewers right in the action as if they are watching it unfold live. "Senna" is one of the finest examples, using primarily archival footage with no narration and few interviews to show the bitter Formula 1 rivalry between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost that led to the 1989 and 1990 championships being decided in controversial fashion at Japan's famed Suzuka Circuit.
"Survive and Advance" (2013)
ESPN's "30 for 30" series included a look at arguably the most famous championship run in college basketball history. In 1983, Jimmy Valvano led the North Carolina State Wolfpack on a streak of nine consecutive overtime or one-point wins, culminating in a last-second basket to win the championship over top-ranked Houston. In this documentary, even though the outcome is known, every game's heart-stopping drama is recreated perfectly.
The power and hypnotic beauty of this famous running scene from "Creed" as directed by Ryan Coogler is immense. Michael B. Jordan captures the inspiring training run from the original "Rocky" with a modern spirit. You can feel the emotion of the moment so strongly and can't help but root for him.
"Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies" (2017)
Another ESPN documentary that puts you right in the moment. Narrated by Lakers fan Ice Cube and Celtics fan Donnie Wahlberg, this five-hour doc covers the most famous championship rivalry in sports, which peaked with Magic Johnson and Larry Bird in the 80s. The tension hits its peak with Game 4 of the 1987 NBA Finals, in which Bird infamously missed a game-tying three-point shot.
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Whether it’s the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, TheWrap recaps the biggest moments in these sports classics