It’s not often you’ll hear Ronda Rousey talking about her mixed martial arts career.
However, in a video promoting her upcoming April appearance at WrestleMania 34, the former UFC champion turned WWE star opened up about her brutal UFC 207 technical knockout loss to Amanda Nunes and the end of her time as a professional cage fighter.
“I remember my last fight, walking away thinking God hates me,” an emotional Rousey said. “I had nothing left in me. My husband (longtime UFC heavyweight Travis Browne) is amazing and he really brought me out of some tough times and he would just look at me and say, ‘You’re not only this. You’re more than just a fighter.’ And that’s not a bad thing. That’s not something I should be ashamed of.”
After winning an Olympic bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing the 31-year-old Riverside, Calif., native transitioned to MMA. She made her pro debut in 2011 and by mid 2015 she was 12-0 and had become the biggest mainstream star in all of combat sports.
That all ended in November 2015 when she was knocked out by Holly Holm. She took a 13-month break before returning to face Nunes. Rousey, a lifelong fan of pro wrestling, has since moved on from MMA. She signed with the WWE earlier this year.
“I needed to be miserable then to be truly happy now,” Rousey said. “It’s all led to this, and I didn’t even realize that I’ve always been on this path.”
Rousey, who said competing at WrestleMania is a “dream come true,” is slated to take part in a tag-team match. She will be partnered with Olympic freestyle wrestling gold medallist and former WWE champion Kurt Angle as they take on “Triple H” and Stephanie McMahon.
“All eyes are going to be on her in this match because every fan, whether they love her or hate her, they’re going to want to see her succeed or fail,” Angle said.
Rousey made a surprise cameo at WrestleMania 31 back in 2015 alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, but her match at WrestleMania 34 will be a new challenge altogether.
“There’s a lot of pressure, but it brings out the best in me,” Rousey added. “I thought that the Olympic gold medal was all I was ever going to care about, but life happens and things change. Then UFC was all that I thought I was ever going to care about, then life happens and things change.
“Winning in WrestleMania, it feels like all I’ve ever cared about. I’ve been accumulating all the skills along the way to be the best at this. I was always meant to be on this stage. I was always meant to be at WrestleMania.”