Ronda Rousey fever has gripped Australia as she stepped up preparations for her latest defence of the women’s world bantamweight title at UFC 193 against Holly Holm.
Screaming fans greeted Rousey at Federation Square, Melbourne, for open workouts ahead of her clash with Holly Holm in the main event at Etihad Stadium.
Rousey went through an intense workout – grappling, hitting mitts and some gymnastics, during what is officially supposed to be a rest week for her.
“This is one of my easy days,” said Rousey. “I don’t go up there just for show. I’m really training when I’m up there. I’m not just going up there doing as little as possible for the fans.
“That’s why I’m better than all of these girls. Whatever Holly thinks working hard means, I work 10 times harder than that.”
Holm also wowed the fans, showing no sign of nerves before the biggest mixed martial arts fight of her career.
The challenger looked to have more fun than anyone else during the session, going through some obligatory shadow boxing before dancing on stage, and was smiling throughout her session.
The former professional boxer said embracing this part of the job is something she picked up before her UFC debut in Los Angeles in February.
“This is for the fans, not me,” she said. “I mean, it’s for me in the sense that you get that energy and it’s amazing.
“But I went in there and just shadow boxed and jumped rope, and fans were calling out moves and I was able to do it. If they’re going to come out here and watch an open workout, I want to be involved with them.”
Rousey said she cried looking at judo mats recently, thinking about how much love she has for the years of work that brought her an Olympic medal and subsequent fame and fortune in the UFC.
“That’s why I’m going to win,” she said. “You think Holly Holm ever looks at a boxing ring and cries because she loved it so much? No.”
There is a strategic element to the open workout sessions, with fighters analysing their opponents to see if they can find any clues that will help them during the fight.
Rousey confessed to using this to her advantage: “Whenever I do these, I throw out a couple decoys,” she said. “Things I’m not really planning on doing, but I show it anyway.
“It’s up to my opponent and their interpretation, but they could watch every one of my training sessions and they could have known me since I was five and I’m still going to beat them. It doesn’t matter.”