Liz Carmouche isn’t feeling any pressure heading into the biggest fight of her career against Ronda Rousey on Saturday.
The two headline UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche in the first ever women’s fight in UFC history.
“There is no pressure for me. Being the underdog, there’s no expectations for me. I just go in there and whatever I do woos the crowd. There’s no pressure. I just have to go in there and do my game,” said Carmouche at the UFC 157 open workouts.
“A lot of people feel this is a win-win situation for me, and it really is. I get to participate in my dream one way or another. It was always my dream to be in the first women’s UFC fight, so at this point it’s just creating new dreams to pursue,” she said.
Rousey, the UFC women’s bantamweight titleholder, has become one of the highest profile athletes on the UFC roster, even though she has yet to compete inside the Octagon. The Olympic Judo bronze medalist is undefeated (6-0) and has won all of her fights in the first round by armbar. Carmouche feels Rousey wins some fights before the fight even begins.
“I think that is part of it. I think she goes in there with a great psychology and breaks them down and they go in and they’ve already been broken before they even enter the fight,” said Carmouche.
“They say ‘oh my god, she was in the Olympics. She’s the best,' instead of realizing she’s a fighter. Everybody has mistakes. You just have to seize the mistakes in time.”
Carmouche is known for her vicious ground and pound. Asked if she needs to keep the fight standing to win, Carmouche responded, “No. I don’t think so at all. Not everybody has my ground and pound or my top control.”
Rousey has finished her fights so quickly that she hasn’t been able to put all of her skills on display. Some question whether the armbar queen has anything else in her arsenal. Carmouche believes Rousey has many more tools at her disposal.
“I think as an MMA fighter she has to have more than that. I definitely think that’s her strong play each and every time, but I know that the champion that she is that she’s a capable fighter that has more than that in her toolbox,” said Carmouche.
“She’s an Olympic player. You can’t take that away from her, a bronze medal in the Olympics for Judo. That’s says it’s strong. She’s been doing it since she was a child, which a lot of us don’t have the advantage of. Most of us were maybe like playing soccer and not MMA, like myself, so now we’re starting to get the ball rolling. She has that advantage and that experience,” added Carmouche.
Carmouche, however, isn’t caught up in the hype or mystic of Rousey. She hasn’t been drilling armbar defense for hours on end while neglecting other aspects of her game.
“It’s not something we obsessed over,” she said. “Because I feel like if I only concentrate on armbar defense and only Ronda then I lose myself as a fighter and stop being an MMA fighter and well-rounded to just being an armbar defensive person.”
Liz Carmouche takes that confidence from the gym and steps into history at UFC 157 on Saturday night.