Ronda Rousey—who never ceases to amaze us with her incredible athleticism, body confidence, and unwavering honesty—has been honored as one of Time's 100 Most Influential People. In the touching interview above, the former UFC champ opens up about her crushing title loss to Holly Holm last fall, and what inspires her to keep going; namely, the cancer patient she met just before that fight.
“This lady—she was dying of cancer—and she came to that open workout and stood out in the sun so she could have a chance to meet me,” Rousey says. "I promised her …she was like 'Please, please win!' And I promised her I would win, and I didn’t. I need to come back, and I need to win, and I need to fulfill that promise," she says as she wipes away tears.
Rousey is now back in the gym, training to regain her title "for the people that believed in me." In her home, she says she has a wall where she tapes up notes from her fans—"all the good things, like little girl letters, the cutest, sweetest, most adorable things"—as motivation. "I'm somehow helping then, and they're really helping me back," she explains.
When asked what advice she would give to a 14-year-old girl, Rousey shares these heartfelt words of wisdom:
"First I'd tell her that you're gorgeous, despite what you think. You'll never have to chase for the one, he'll come find you. And then, I'd tell her that you have a right to be anywhere you want to be. As a woman, you are kind of made to feel like you don't have a right to be certain places. And that's what I would tell her: You have a right to be anywhere. And whatever you're worried about now, you're not going to give a sh*t in five years about it." She adds, cheekily, "And wear a condom."
Rousey herself is focused on moving forward, and rediscovering the same "doe-eyed" optimism she felt the first time she walked into an arena: "That's what I need to find again." She says that these days, "it's hope that gets me out of bed."