Ronda Rousey was training for her UFC 190 bout against fellow unbeaten – and Brazilian native – Bethe Correia in an open workout on Wednesday when she got surprised by a young fan.
After putting on a show for the enthusiastic audience, the young fan ran up to Rousey as she was walking away and flung arms around her waist. At first knocked off balance for a step, she quickly regained her footing, turned around, and stooped to return the favor.
She then kneeled down and bowed to the young fan, who was dressed in karate gi and flip-flops before swooping him off the ground for one final hug.
The encounter quickly went viral on sites like ESPN and MMAFighting, who were actually there to shoot an extended video of the entire workout (the “feels” start at the 14:32 mark).
And if you just click on that link and skip ahead to the hug, do yourself a favor and let the video play a little past that. After the young fan goes on his way, Ronda Rousey puts a little more of a performance on for fans, and it’s truly impressive as she lays on a series of cartwheels and flips that would make even the most well-conditioned athlete feel a little out of shape.
As for the upcoming bout with Correia, the two have had a long history of bad blood, with Correia defeating most of Ronda’s so-called “Four Horsewomen” in direct competition and talking a lot of trash heading into the main event.
In fact, most recently Correia had to walk back some of her trash talk because she made a suicide joke at Rousey’s expense, claiming that she hoped Ronda didn’t kill herself after she loses on Aug. 1.
This was a particularly cheap shot in the eyes of most fans because Rousey’s father did commit suicide, a fact many critics felt Correia would have been aware of since she had studied up on Ronda Rousey as much as she had, referring to other details from Ronda’s autobiography in the same controversial interview.
Nevertheless, the apology came, but quite possibly too late. With the Brazilian fans clearly behind Ronda Rousey at the open workout linked above, she may actually be the fan favorite in her opponent’s hometown.
As for the fan encounter, what do you think of how the UFC champ handled it? Is Ronda Rousey the biggest and best role model in professional sports, and do you think she will bring home another victory Saturday night? Sound off in the comments section!
[Image of Ronda Rousey via SportsKeeda]