Ronda Rousey just stored popping up in Lucia Rijker’s conversations.
Associates would start with, "There’s this woman," and gush about Rousey’s fighting, her swagger and their similarity.
Then UFC President Dana White called Rousey "the lucia rijker million dollar baby
Rijker of girls’s MMA," and Rijker decided she had to fulfill the Strikedrive girls’s bantamweight champion for herself.
Rousey (5-zero MMA, 3-0 SF) works with Rijker’s former manager, Darrin Harvey, who sent Rijker the clip of White in hopes of pairing them collectively for Rousey’s struggle towards Sarah Kaufman (15-1 MMA, 6-1 SF), which takes place Saturday at Valley View On line casino Center in San Diego. ("Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman" airs on Showtime and Showtime Extreme.)
Harvey’s pitch to Rijker: "She’s just like you."
So started the relationship between the undefeated and now-retired boxer and kickboxer, and one in all MMA’s sizzlingtest commodities.
As one of the most dominant fighters in the historical past of ladies’s combat sports, Rijker’s expectations of Rousey were in all probability modest after they first met within the gym. They definitely changed, nevertheless, after a few classes with the fighter.
Rijker, who’s perhaps greatest recognized for her position as the soiled boxer in "Million Greenback Baby," worked alongsideside Rousey’s hanging coach, Edmond Tarverdyan. She offered Diana Prazak, a featherweight world champion boxer, to spar with Rousey and was impressed with what she saw.
Rijker was light on the specifics of what she worked on with Rousey, however mentioned Prazak was a stylistic match for Kaufman, whose aggressive striking led her to the bantamweight title before a submission loss to Marloes Coenen in 2010.
"She’s very dominant, and he or she leads along with her head, and he or she has some good right fingers and some strikes," Rijker said of Kaufman. "But to be able to hit somebody, you’ve got to be right in entrance of them. So there’s a lot of ways to avoid that or get rid of that, and that’s what we’re working on."
Rousey is not Rijker’s first publicity to MMA. Within the early 90s, she frolicked in Japan and watched as promoters usually blended skilled wrestling with real fighting.
Rijker received her begin in fight sports at age 6 when she took up judo, and she later trained in jiu-jitsu.
"Not every grappler or wrestler is capable of being an excellent striker," she said. "However, Ronda is such an all-around athlete that I’m impressed with the explosion in her punches and how she picks it up because it’s a very different sort of explosive energy that you’re working on compared to judo."
Along with those bodily items, Rijker feels Rousey can be an even larger success because of the group behind her. As a trailblazer in ladies’s fight sports activities, Rijker had few of the sponsorship alternatives available to athletes immediately and "lived like a monk" on the peak of her career. Rousey, she stated, is able to focus completely on her craft without having to fret about keeping a roof over her head.
"I trained two or three times a day, however I lived off nothing," Rijker said. "When you might have an overall athlete like Ronda and great team of people that help her to be a full-time athlete, she might be anything."
Indeed, they met because Rousey is already something. After profitable a bronze medal in judo on the 2008 Olympics, she transitioned to MMA and fought her first novice bout years ago. Since then, she’s finished all of her opponents by way of armbar within the first round, including Miesha Tate, from whom she took the title in March.