NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. – Ronda Rousey walked off an F-16 fighter jet after a wild one-hour ride over the Las Vegas desert and immediately bounced on her toes and threw a combination of punches in the air.
Clearly, the Strikeforce bantamweight champion was exhilarated by her ride with the Thunderbirds, though she wasn't so thrilled to talk about whether her next mixed martial arts fight will be in the UFC.
Still wearing her Air Force jump suit, Rousey did what she called her "I-don't-know-anything dance" when she was asked whether she was aware of reports that Strikeforce would fold early next year and that she'd be in the UFC.
"Seriously?" she said when asked about the reports. "If anything were going to be released, do you think they'd do it through me on your iPhone in this hangar?"
The questions about her fight future were the only downers for the burgeoning superstar during a busy morning in Southern Nevada. She rode from Nellis to Creech Air Force base in a $30 million fighter plane piloted by Capt. Michael Fisher.
During a weekend in which an air show was going on, Rousey got the opportunity to experience some of what the combat pilots feel. She didn't get nearly the g-force that they do, though she was begging for it.
Air Force personnel at the base raved about her composure. Rousey said she was never fearful.
"It's really, really hard to describe, actually," Rousey said. "The thing I remember the most when we were pulling all of the Gs, you could feel all of the fluid in your body pulling down. It was a bad day to have a runny nose, let me tell you that.
"I wasn't scared. I knew they had very qualified people helping and making sure everything [went all right]. I'm sure it's more dangerous for me driving to Vegas in my Honda than it was flying upside down with this guy [Fisher]."
Her favorite parts were when Fisher rolled the plane and when it turned 90 degrees and fired directly up in the air.
Brig. Gen. Charlie "Tuna" Moore raved about Rousey. "I wouldn't doubt if she landed [the jet]," he said. "She's a very impressive young lady."
Moore said the Air Force benefits whenever a celebrity rides along with the Thunderbirds, because it brings exposure to what the military is doing.
Moore, who piloted an F-16 during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, said many airmen are UFC fans and said were excited by Rousey's appearance. He called himself a big fan and said he got into the sport after once seeing UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
As great as it was for Rousey, though, it was nothing like a fight.
"It's different [than a fight]," she said. "When I go into a fight, I know it's a really high risk situation. My mind thinks differently. I felt totally safe doing this."
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