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Ronda Rousey in her usual brash manner ahead of UFC debut

Rousey tired of ‘Cryborg’ Santos, excited for Miesha Tate vs. Cate Zigano

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ASSOCIATED PRESS

Ronda Rousey shows off her UFC bantamweight championship belt, on Thursday Dec. 6, 2012. UFC president Dana White handed out the belt, saying the former Strikeforce title-holder will make her UFC debut on Feb., 23 against Liz Carmouche.

UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche Primetime episode 1

When Ronda Rousey became the first female fighter to ever sign with the UFC, Dana White gushed over her bravado and the trash talk that accompanies it.

She’s lived up to the UFC president’s billing two months later — just not in regards to her first opponent. Rousey (6-0) is all positive when it comes to Liz Carmouche (8-2), whom she meets in the main event of UFC 157, Saturday, Feb. 23 in Anaheim, Calif.

“There wasn’t a single day I didn’t turn on my Twitter and see Liz rallying her followers to petition for this fight,” Rousey said Monday. “She went about it by being specific, not trying to create some argument or insult me or start bickering. I had to respect the way she went about petitioning for this fight while all these other girls were asking for more time or wanted another fight to prepare better.”

Carmouche, whom Rousey also respects because of her five years of service in the Marines, might be the only top-level female fighter the UFC women’s bantamweight champion doesn’t have a problem with. Rousey, who has submitted all of her opponents with arm bars in the first round, feels the rest are afraid to fight her — especially Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.

The UFC targeted Cyborg (10-1), long considered the best women’s fighter in the world, as Rousey’s first opponent in the octagon. But she passed up the opportunity and has since asked for her release from the UFC, according to her manager Tito Ortiz on a recent episode of “Inside MMA.”

“She’s just desperate for attention and seeing herself fade into irrelevance, so she’s turning into ‘Cryborg’ and making a big fit about nothing,” Rousey said.

The UFC has no plans to implement additional women’s weight divisions aside from the 135-pound class where Rousey reigns, which is Cyborg’s gripe.

Cyborg, who has spent her career fighting at 145 pounds, says she can’t cut down to Rousey’s weight.

"For her to get down to 135 pounds is physically impossible for a woman," Ortiz said on “Inside MMA.” "For a man, it's different because we have a lot more water weight to take off. For Cris Cyborg to get down to that weight, she's going to be 3 to 4 percent body fat. I've talked to her. She says she wants to start a family later on, she wants to have kids."

Rousey doesn’t buy the excuse. She cites the UFC’s offer to pay for renowned nutritionist Mike Dolce, who says he can get Cyborg to 135 pounds and in shape to the point where she could easily beat Rousey.

Rousey also takes offense to Cyborg making demands after coming off a yearlong suspension for testing positive for anabolic steroids.

“This whole spiel about how ‘my doctor says it’s going to hurt my heart and my ability to have babies,’ well, you can find your own doctor to think whatever you want to,” Rousey said. “Regardless of that, where was all this concern about her heart and having babies in the future when she was shooting steroids up her (butt)? Anyone with half of a brain can see she’s using this to her advantage just because it happens to work for her right now.”

Rousey hopes Cyborg sticks in the UFC and takes what the champion once called “the only fight that really makes sense.” In Rousey’s perfect world, all of the best female fighters would be centralized in the UFC.

That hasn’t happened to this point, but the UFC did announce its second-ever women’s fight Monday. Rousey approved of the matchup between Miesha Tate and Cat Zingano, which will take place on “The Ultimate Fighter: Jones vs. Sonnen” finale April 13 in Las Vegas.

“Zingano’s undefeated and has been talking about how she wants to fight me but apparently wants to fight Miesha first,” Rousey said. “And Miesha has just been running her mouth in general and I like fighting her because I think she deserves a beating. I’ll be very interested to see who wants that fight. It’s very likely I’ll be fighting the winner of that match.”

Rousey and Tate share a rivalry dating back to before they first fought last year. But it seems minimized in comparison to Rousey’s feud with Cyborg.

“This is the type of person who comes into fights pumped full of steroids, which is criminally negligent in putting these other girls in danger,” Rousey said. “She’s walking in with a weapon pretty much when they don’t. I don’t see where the sense of entitlement comes to where she thinks they should be creating new divisions for her and doing all this stuff for her. I feel like, you’ve been exposed and defamed as a fraud. You’re the one that should be making these changes to try to prove yourself.”

Rousey’s willing to admit she’s particularly fiery at the moment. She gets this way before every fight — even for one where she thinks highly of the opponent.

“I just wish the fight was tonight,” Rousey said. “I get to the point when I’m two weeks out to where I’m impatient. I’m ready to go. I’m in the shape I need to be in. Now we’re just killing time and waiting for that night to come.”

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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