Bethe Correia vows to take fight to Ronda Rousey in UFC title match
It’s difficult to take what Bethe Correia is saying seriously.
The unbeaten Brazilian has a Saturday night fight in Rio de Janeiro with Ultimate Fighting Championship bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who’s also unbeaten.
“I’m not worried. . . . I don’t have to respect anything she’s going to do in there because I’m going to be imposing my game and overcome anything that she can do in there,” Correia said.
“I don’t have to think about anything she’s doing.”
Rousey has ended all but one of her 11 fights in the first round, including her most recent bout, against another big-talking challenger, Cat Zingano, who tapped out in 14 seconds into their February encounter at Staples Center.
Rousey, a 2008 Olympic bronze medalist in judo, recently impressed former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson with her boxing skills during a recent workout at Rousey’s home gym in Glendale.
“I’m a monster when I get into the cage,” Correia said. “I have a fighter’s heart. I have no fear about my country being embarrassed or me not putting up a good fight. I’m confident it’s going to be a great fight and that the belt will stay in Brazil.”
Las Vegas sports books disagree, with MGM Resorts listing Rousey as a staggering 20-1 favorite.
In a conference call with reporters, Rousey, 28, confidently spoke of beating Correia and moving on to a possible November date in Australia against Miesha Tate, whom she has defeated twice. Then she wants to film a movie with Mark Wahlberg before “beating up the next chick.”
“I’m going to beat Bethe in the most fantastic and entertaining way possible,” Rousey said.
Correia, 32, began mixed-martial-arts training in her 20s and gained Rousey’s attention by defeating two of the champion’s training partners last year, Jessamyn Duke and Shayna Baszler.
Duke got out-punched by nearly a 2-1 margin before losing a unanimous decision in April 2014. Baszler was a second-round technical knockout victim five months later, prompting Correia to ham it up for the camera by holding down two fingers.
Correia says her plan is to confront Rousey with an enhanced striking plan polished by a tough four-month training camp.
“You’re going to see the regular Bethe, but I’m going to be 10 times more hungry, well trained and more prepared,” she said.
In May, Correia made things personal by saying she hopes Rousey doesn’t commit suicide after losing, a comment Rousey thought insensitive given her father’s suicide.
“My father will be with me the day I hand you the comeuppance you deserve,” Rousey tweeted to Correia, who later apologized and said she was unaware.
At a face-off Thursday, Correia was the aggressor, Rousey responding with fierce-face silence.
From Rousey’s perspective, if the truth offends, so be it.
“I’ve had thousands of matches, so much more competition. How many has Bethe had?” Rousey said. “I’ve had fights where I’ve had my elbow dislocated and had to pop it back into place and ended up having to throw the girl in the last few seconds . . . because it just had to happen. Been sick . . . had a terrible weight cut . . . so many thousands of experiences that this girl could never possibly have.
“And she’ll never catch up. That’s where confidence comes from: overcoming.”
Correia expressed boldness, too.
“I’m going to go in there with everything I’ve got,” she said. “I’m going in there to hurt her, to knock her out, to show her who dominates the octagon.”
Easier said than done.
Follow Lance Pugmire on Twitter @latimespugmire
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