A lot of people, once they become champion, they relax, kind of sit in the position and try to enjoy it. But I feel like everything I've ever worked for could be lost at any moment. I work harder and harder and harder, because I want to be farther ahead with every fight, and not worrying about these girls catching up to me.
When I was in school, martial arts made you a dork, and I became self-conscious that I was too masculine. I was a 16-year-old girl with ringworm and cauliflower ears. People made fun of my arms and called me 'Miss Man.' It wasn't until I got older that I realized: These people are idiots. I'm fabulous.
I was just a little three-year-old kid, and I loved Hulk Hogan. And when you're a three-year-old kid, you don't list off the reasons. I was just drawn to him. He was always my favorite, even in the video games and everything like that. He was the one that I always remembered and liked the most.
I'm a big crier. I never cry when something is painful, but I cry if things are frustrating. Like if I'm trying to do something, and I mess up over and over. If I'm playing a video game, and I can't beat a level that I've tried 10 times, I'll cry. When I was a kid, I think I cried for every practice from 2003 to the middle of 2006.
When I looked at the state of women's MMA, what I saw was that it was missing rivalries or anything theatrical about it. Everybody was trying to be Miss America, unwilling to go under any kind of criticism, and taking the safe answers. I thought I needed to do whatever I could to get attention.
I never really liked weightlifting because there is no problem solving, whereas when I am fighting, I am trying to solve a problem, so I don't think about being tired. I box, wrestle, do jujitsu, run up sand dunes; every single day is something different so that I am mentally engaged. That's what makes me want to train longer.
I was painfully shy for a long time. I mean, that's something I really had to work my way out of. And I really think it was because, after the 2008 Olympics, I spent a whole year bartending. It was the one thing that really forced me to be just not so scared to start conversations with strangers.
The best way to take a punch is to look at it. Honestly. Someone could hit you with the hardest punch that they have, but as long as you see it, it's not going to knock you out. It's the punches that you don't see that knock you out. So you could get tapped with a small punch, but if you don't see it, you're out.
I wasn't always the most fashionable, and I would come to school with cauliflower ear and ringworm. I got made fun of a lot. People called me 'Miss Man' and 'Guns', and people directed a lot of karate jokes at me. I wish that I was at school now that MMA and martial arts is cool, but back when I was in school, people associated it with nerdy stuff.
I only have so much ring time that my body can endure. I've had four surgeries on my knees, arthritis in my neck, separated my shoulders, broken my nose. I'm just gonna hope that science advances faster than I can deteriorate. Because what am I gonna do? Put a perfect body into the ground? What's the point of that?