Ronda Rousey Interview: “I’ve Always Wanted to Be Samus”

Former UFC Bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey is the cover athlete for EA Sports UFC 2, but she doesn’t only appear in video games, she also enjoys playing them. Rousey is an avid World of Warcraft player, rolling with her Night Elf Hunter and Blood Elf Rogue, and she’s also a fan of Pokemon–her favourite being Mew.

We caught up with Rousey after a motion capture session at an event for EA’s upcoming UFC game to talk about being in a game, the possibility of streaming on Twitch, and the video game character she’d most want to star as in a movie.

I noticed that you said you aren’t used to wearing shoes when you fight. How hard is it to do the same kind of things you do in the octagon while wearing the mocap suit?

The suit doesn’t really bug me at all because I grew up doing judo. A gi is big and chunky and uncomfortable to move in–you get used to it. And then MMA got me used to wearing tight spandex so it’s kind of a mix between the two. The only thing that really bothers me is wearing the shoes because both MMA and judo are barefoot; doing small movements like stutter steps or lunging makes you slip a little bit inside your shoe, so my movements are a little bit different.

So after you’ve been captured and put into the game, how does it feel to see your character model doing the things you do and being able to control yourself with a gamepad?

I have a really hard time with it. I don’t like watching my own character or playing my own character, to be honest. I don’t like feeling like I don’t have immediate control over my body; you know, like, figuring out what buttons do and saying “No, you do that!” It’s much easier for me to counter a double with a Harai Goshi than finding the buttons that do that.

But it’s cool to see the little details and the little mannerisms of mine that have been picked up on and put into the game.

Do you ever try to create yourself in a game, or do you want to roleplay as someone else when you’re playing something like World of Warcraft?

I really don’t try to make characters look a lot like me. I have a tendency to make characters look more what I would like to look like if I was in that world. I like to get into that character. So with my Blood Elf, I’ll have her be with, like, evil bitchier hair. My Night Elf will have goody two-shoes, I-like-to-waltz-through-the-forest hair.

It’s a little different. [laughs] The kind of things guys don’t think about when they’re designing a character–“I just want to make this guy look badass!” I need some kinda style that an evil girl would put her hair up as. I like to get into character, not make them me.

I’ve heard that your favourite male fighter is Demetrious Johnson.

[Ronda smiles and nods]

Well, he’s actually been getting into streaming video games quite a bit, and to the point where he would like to do it full-time after his fighting career winds down. Would you ever be interested in streaming any of the games you play?

You mean, like, having people watch you play?

Yeah.

[UFC fighter] Jessamyn [Duke] does that. She pays her bills streaming!

Really?

Yeah, I think she pays more of her bills streaming than she does from fighting. Like, that’s what pays the rent. I think that’s so awesome. I told her she should do it in a bikini. [laughs] And then she’ll make a lot of money doing it. I’m like, “You’re like a supermodel sitting there, playing video games! They’d love that stuff.” But she’s a real humble girl. Not as much as I am. [laughs] I’d be titties out with controller in hand like “Let’s do this.” [laughs] But no, I don’t think so. My commentary during games is not that exciting. It’s more of my relaxation and alone time than anything. It’s like a meditative thing for me. It’s a time to not be on and entertaining somebody else. It’s a time for me to be entertained, you know what I mean?



Yeah, definitely. I’d actually like to ask you about performing fight scenes in movies. You had a great fight scene in Fast and Furious 7 and you’re currently working on Road House–is fighting for a movie hard, or is it something that comes naturally to you as a fighter.

A lot of things come naturally. There are certain things I have to, like, keep in mind when shooting for a movie and that’s defense. Nobody has any defense in movies because when you have defense you cover your face, and that was my main problem–covering my face.

It’s funny because they were making a Warcraft movie, I was like “I want to do that!” That’s what made me start playing World of Warcraft. And so I got into it backwards like that. It started out as role research for something I knew I would never get–I didn’t have time or they were already filming it. It’s kinda cool when two worlds connect like when they make a movie based on a book, and you go buy the book because you know if the book is being made into a movie it must be pretty good.

I think they should make more movies based on video games to be honest. I think that would be really cool.

What movie based on a video game would you want to be the star of?

I’ve always wanted to be Samus. That would be badass. I love how people found out later that it was a hot chick on the inside. And then most of the day you’re in a suit, so you can just hang out and eat donuts and be the star of Metroid. I hope they make a movie out of that.

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