Bethe Correia is fighting for the women’s bantamweight championship in her home country at UFC 190 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, this Saturday, and yet she is the biggest underdog in UFC history.
That’s because her opponent is Ronda Rousey.
“Obviously Ronda Rousey is amazing,” UFC president Dana White said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “She’s an incredible athlete. Everything about this woman is insane. But yeah, I imagine (Correia) is (a heavy underdog). But she’s undefeated. She’s beat two of Ronda’s training partners – knocked them both out – and has talked a lot of smack about Ronda. I think it’s going to be a better fight than people anticipate.”
Correia (9-0) is definitely talking a big game, saying she hopes that Rousey doesn’t kill herself after she loses the fight. That comment is particularly insensitive given that Rousey’s father committed suicide when Rousey was a child.
Did Correia know that when she made those remarks?
“She absolutely did,” White said. “She’s been playing that game. There’s people that are really good at playing the head games. Conor McGregor is one of the best I’ve ever seen, and Bethe has been doing that for sure. But Ronda’s a tough one to do it (against). Ronda is one of the most mentally strong human beings I’ve ever met in my life.”
Still, Rousey (11-0) wasn’t afraid to talk a little smack herself, saying, “If I beat you quickly, that’s me at my nicest and most merciful. That means you get to go home unscathed with a paycheck. If I make the fight last longer, that means I don’t like you and I want you to go home looking different than the way you walked in – and I don’t like this chick.”
“Ronda’s mom freaked out on her about that,” White said. “Everything Ronda gets, she gets from her mom. If you’ve ever met the woman, she’s hardcore. She’s not happy with Ronda saying she’s going to drag it out. She wants her to go in and destroy her.”
White called Rousey, who has eclipsed the top men in pay per view buys, “the biggest star in the history of female combat sports.”
”She’s amazing, man,” White said. “She is a beast inside and outside of the octagon. The difference is, there’s a lot of others women out there that fight, but Ronda is one in a million. She’s a very unique individual in many ways.”
That said, White gives Correia a legitimate chance of pulling the upset.
“If you watch Bethe train, she’s got knockout power, man,” White said. “Anybody with heavy hands and knockout power can change everything in one punch. There’s never a case where you should go in and let somebody stay in the fight. You’ve seem it in boxing, though. There’s been fights in boxing where a guy wanted to punish another guy (when) he could put him away, and he backs off and lets him get off the ropes so he can punish him some more. It’s been done before. But you don’t want to do that. You want to go in and finish a fight as fast and as decisively as you can.”