Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey is a highly driven competitor, which explains why she could be so dominant as an MMA fighter. But when the young athlete was set to make her debut in the UFC, she was well beyond the conventional measures of "motivated."

In that fight, against Liz Carmouche in 2013, Rousey was far from the dominant figure she is today. She suffered a dislocated jaw and an injury to her sinuses, but managed to stay in the mix against Carmouche.

But it was a scary moment later in the match that awakened Rousey to just how badly she needed to win.

"The worse-case scenario is you break your neck, and my neck was past the place where it shouldn't have gone," Rousey tells Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times. "It was in that moment I realized I was willing to die to win this fight. I was willing to be a quadriplegic to win that fight. It was that important to me. I didn't care.

"The thought of giving up never happened. You have to want it more than the other person."

Rousey did manage to recover -- despite a kick to the chest while she was adjusting her bra -- and perform her now-signature armbar on Carmouche before the end of the first round.

Fortunately for Rousey, that debut fight wasn't a precursor of things to come. She maintains an undefeated UFC record and has avoided injury in every match since.

Says Rousey: "That's the only fight I got a bruise in."

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