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."

More: Why Boxing Fans Fume At Ronda Rousey's Latest Cover

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey steals the spotlight when she puts the clamps on Stephanie McMahon at WrestleMania 31.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey connects with fans in Brazil.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey speaks on a sports panel at SXSW in Austin.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Mario Lopez welcomes Rousey to the set of 'Extra' at Universal Studios

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey waves to fans at Univesal CityWalk.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey appears at a promotional event with Reebok and UFC.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Hip hop artist Swizz Beatz poses with Rousey.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey draws a crowd in Hollywood.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey attends a special screening of "The Expendables 3" in Macao.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger flank Rousey at The Venetian Macao.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey attends the Los Angeles premiere of "The Expendables 3" at the TCL Chinese Theatre.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

"The Expendables 3" is Rousey's first acting credit.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey shares a laugh with Joe Rogan after weighing in before UFC 175.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey joins the cast of "The Expendables 3" at the Cannes Film Festival.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey attends the Cannes premiere of "The Expendables 3" with Antonio Banderas, Sylvester Stallone, Mel Gibson and Wesley Snipes.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey works a scene on location in Beverly Hills with Jerry Ferrara for the "Entoutage" movie.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey takes time to pose with a fan at LAX airport.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey poses during a UFC portrait session in December 2013.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey has an exchange with Jimmy Kimmel.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey is featured in the 2012 edition of ESPN The Magazine's annual body issue.

 

Ronda Rousey: Outside The Octagon

Rousey wins a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. She is the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo.

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