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Ronda Rousey's bartending work helps with all the offbeat questions

Ronda Rousey's bartending work helps with all the offbeat questions
UFC champion Ronda Rousey and her coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. (Nick Ut / Associated Press)

Being the face of Ultimate Fighting Championship doesn't come with a detailed job description, but beyond the fighting part that Ronda Rousey has mastered, she also gets the unwritten stipulations.

In a 45-minute question-and-answer session with reporters before leaving for Australia for the main event of UFC 193, Rousey delivered thoughtful responses to each and every question she was asked.

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From her favorite superhero to her progress as a cook to a request to make the "Ronda face" she wears on her walks to the ring, Rousey obliged all.

In a side discussion with The Times following the extended news conference, the 28-year-old said a previous job taught her how to treat people.

"I learned that from tending bar," Rousey said. "Part of doing that is listening to what everyone has to say."

Sincerity equated to good tips, of course, but the Venice resident leaves the impression in her patience and responses that there's a genuine interest in respecting others.

The UFC women's bantamweight champion conducted the mass interviews at her trainer's gym, Glendale Fight Club, in advance of her Saturday night (U.S. time) title defense against former world boxing champion Holly Holm, who is 9-0 in mixed martial arts fights and still a prohibitive underdog.

Yet, after most of the fight queries were answered, a swarm of other revealing inquiries were made.

Any moments catch you thinking how big you've become?

"The [Rousey] mural in Venice -- the street art, [just] like Jim Morrison -- when I saw that, I told [UFC President] Dana [White] and he said, 'Yeah, we paid for that,' " Rousey said.

"But there was another one done by a real reputable street artist I went to high school with. The [UFC] one was on top of the [marijuana-dispensing] 'Green Doctor,' which I thought that was hilarious. I like that spot, put it right there. That's what gets me -- more than the media -- seeing the locals and the culture embrace that."

When she met the street artist she was referring to later that day inside her gym, she took extensive time to thank him and accepted another piece of art, telling him how much it meant to her.

What about friend Nick Diaz's five-year suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for multiple marijuana positive tests?

"No matter how many parking tickets you get, you don't deserve life in prison," Rousey said. "Keeping him from fighting for five years is the rest of the shelf life he has. They shouldn't test for weed at all. Why not test to make sure we're not drunk?"

Do you have any freedom?

"In Venice, everyone is local and cool about everything," Rousey said. "They say hi and I feel like Belle in 'Beauty in the Beast,' 'Bon jour.' It's not like I'm being chased."

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What superhero would you be?

"Miss Marvel. Why? Because she's bad-ass, looks like me and she's not taken," Rousey said.

What about your role assuming Patrick Swayze's character in a remake of "Roadhouse?"

"I don't think anyone else wanted to do it more than me, and no man could live up to the Swayze," Rousey said. "I grew up watching Westerns with my dad. I'm going to do the best I can do."

This week, Rousey was asked her presidential preference and made more news by answering it was Bernie Sanders.

That's the way it is for the world's most popular fighter. Everyone apparently wants to know everything about you.

Still, the boundaries have been defined by Rousey. Her personal life is off-limits.

When a reporter asked her at media day what she thought of her mother's critical comments of her trainer, Edmond Tarverdyan, Rousey said, "Any reaction to my mother, she should hear from me and not a media outlet."

And when a reporter who attended that session opened questioning of a later Rousey-Holm conference call by asking about Rousey's thoughts on UFC heavyweight Travis Browne and his comments about the pair being together, she left the call entirely.

Rousey knows the business well enough now to understand the equivalent of an armbar to reporters is a no-comment from the champion.

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