UFC women’s bantamweight champions Ronda Rousey said she’s proud of her cultural heritage and is especially glad that she now has a platform to showcase her roots.
Rousey, along with Miesha Tate, Chris Weidman, Anderson Silva, Travis Browne, Josh Barnett and UFC President Dana White spoke at a UFC 168 Press Conference on Thursday.
In response to a media question asking about her racial background, Rousey said she is proud to be a Venezuelan and excited that she has so many Latino fans.
“It’s really, really flattering,” Rousey said at the press conference. “It feels great. When I was younger people wouldn’t believe I was half-Venezuelan. I don’t look like it. I look like my dad. I never really got any cultural recognition as a kid. It’s kind of a shame that people treat you how you look like.”
Now, it’s a different story, Rousey said.
“It feels great, especially my mom and her whole side of the family is super excited about it now,” Rousey said. “I have a lot of cousins and stuff still in Venezuala now. It’s really nice to have a venue to be able to regain a connection with my roots.”
Rousey will fight Tate in the co-main event of Saturday’s UFC 168 card. The two have one of the sport’s most intense rivalries. Rousey tapped Tate out with an armbar in Strikeforce in 2012 and the two have been verbally feuding ever since. The two women co-hosted The Ultimate Fighter earlier this year, which only further fueled the rivalry.
Rousey said she has not watched a single episode of the show because she felt as though she was made out to look like the villain to Tate’s heroine role on the show. Also at the press conference, Rousey said her feud with Tate helped give women’s MMA the spark it needed to gain the attention of UFC President Dana White.