by Molly Knight
UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will be featured in the November issue of SELF Magazine. Preview below.
Comedian Chelsea Peretti considers herself a Ronda Rousey superfan. “Ronda fearlessly speaks her mind,” she says. “I can see how her physical strength is powered by mental strength.” Peretti, 37, is known for her role on Brooklyn Nine-Nine—and for her no-holds-barred sense of humor. “We both dislike being typified by our gender,” she says. “Plus, we’re both beautiful blondes! Just kidding—I’m not blonde.” The duo talked about what it means to be a strong woman in 2015.
CHELSEA PERETTI How does it feel to be the most famous badass in America?
RONDA ROUSEY I like being given that label, but I wouldn’t give it to myself.
CP What’s your definition of a badass?
RR Someone who’s willing to do what needs to be done. There are plenty of times where people know and they don’t do it—because it’s not comfortable or easy. If you do what’s right regardless of how it’s going to make you look, then you’re really a badass.
CP You’re objectively the best in your sport—how does that make you feel?
RR It’s motivating, because it’s something I have to keep earning. When I was a kid, all I did was train. I never went to a dance, I never had a date, I never went to a single party. Training was my whole life, and it was because I wanted to be able to win the Olympics more than I wanted to go to the movies with my friends. It’s funny, because people get offended by the mind-set that it takes to be the best.
CP What do you mean?
RR If I say that I’m the best in the world, sometimes people think that’s really cocky and arrogant, but I had to work hard to be able to believe in myself. In your teens, you start to become super self-conscious. I had to build that up.
CP Did you ever get in street fights as a teen?
RR Yes. Santa Monica didn’t used to be so nice! After school, my friend and I would go to the Promenade, where a lot of shady characters hung out. I loved Frappuccinos, but I only got $5 a day for lunch. If I ate, that meant I didn’t have enough money for a Frappuccino. So we would go over to these kids and say, “I bet you $10 I could beat up any one of you.” There were always some guys who could use the money. We’d fight and I’d do something to get them to give up, and they’d give us $10 and we’d go get Frappuccinos…. That was, like, my side gig for a little while.
CP I don’t think anyone would take that $10 today.
RR Well, I don’t fight for Frappuccinos anymore, either.
CP Do any fighting strategies carry over into daily life?
RR The one that really sticks out in my mind comes from my mom. She’d always tell me that you have to be your best on your worst day, because what if the Olympics fall on a bad day?
CP What else did you learn from her? A lot of girls aren’t brought up to fight.
RR Well, my mom never forced us to do anything. I fight, but my three sisters don’t. What she really taught me was the value of giving up what you want now for what you want most. My sisters were taught that, too, and they carried it through the professions they decided to pursue.
CP How do you wind down after a fight?
RR I eat about 50 hot wings. I love hot wings. After my last fight, one of the UFC owners flew in a private chef from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro so that he could make me hot wings, because there are no hot wings in Rio! That’s how important they are to me.
CP Those were some expensive hot wings.
RR They were really good, though.
CP Do you let other people eat them, too?
RR The thing is, you’ve got to let me eat a couple before anyone else has any, because otherwise I’ll start eating faster. It’s a race to see who can eat the most. I’m so competitive, I even compete with hot wings.
CP What’s downtime like for you?
RR I’ll wake up, eat my little chia bowl, train. Then get a sandwich, go home and make out with my dog, watch TV shows about how the universe was made while playing Taichi Panda. If you have crazy, crazy days, doing nothing is such a luxury.
Read the rest of the interview by downloading SELF’s digital edition now.