Rousey, 35, competed as a professional mixed martial artist from 2011 to 2016, boasting a record of 12-2. The judoka also earned a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
She joined the UFC as the 6-0 Strikeforce 135-pound champion and was promoted to the undisputed UFC bantamweight queen. She defended her belt six times in the promotion, stopping the likes of Meisha Tate, Cat Zingano and Sara McMann.
Rousey’s last two bouts went entirely different, however. Holly Holm took her strap at UFC 193 in November 2015 via brutal KO. And at UFC 207, Amanda Nunes stopped her with strikes in under a minute in December 2016.
That was the last time Rowdy stepped into the Octagon. She’s now a WWE superstar who has dabbled in Hollywood, and she also has a YouTube channel where she posts content like judo techniques and gaming.
Rousey Said Her Mistake Was She Kept Fighting ‘For Everbody Else’
Rousey was recently featured on “The DC Check-In,” a YouTube interview series by former two-division UFC champion Daniel Cormier. And during their conversation, “Rowdy” opened up about her fighting career, telling “DC” that she hung around fighting for too long in an effort to appease “everybody else.”
“I think it was difficult [to quit] in both judo and MMA, in that everyone else felt that they wanted more from me,” Rousey said via MMA Fighting. “Like, in judo you peak in your mid-20s. I medaled at 21 so I was going to be 25 for the next Olympics. Everyone’s like, ‘Oh, this is it! You’re going to be the first [American woman] to win an Olympic gold!’ And I didn’t want it anymore, and I couldn’t do it for everybody else.
“And I think that’s a mistake that I made with MMA, was when I got to that point where I didn’t want it anymore, I kept doing it for everybody else.”
Rowdy Said ‘You Have to Be a People Pleaser’ When Competing at the Highest Level
Rousey continued with her thoughts, saying that she felt like she had to please everyone, ranging from her parents to the fans watching at home. And at points, that’s something that appeared as an “obstacle” for Rowdy.
“I think to be at that top level, you kind of have to be a people pleaser,” Rousey said. “You want to please your coach, you want to please your parents, you want to please everybody watching. And so it’s one of the things that makes you excel, but it’s one of those things that, it can be an obstacle a lot of times. And knowing when is the right time to walk away, it’s got to be your decision because not everybody else is going to come to a consensus. And nobody knows what you’re actually going through and what it actually takes.
“You’re like a novelty on TV every couple months, whereas that’s your every day and your reality. And yeah, I think that setting boundaries with that relationship of everybody else, and not doing things for them and doing things for you, even though you won’t be understood, I think that was the hardest part — letting go of that need of feeling understood, because no one’s ever going to.”