"I said from the beginning that I wok in quadrennials," Rousey told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
). "I do four-year cycles. I think I've got two years left in me, realistically, if I'm going to do this like an Olympic run."
Rousey (7-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) has fought just once for the UFC, but she's become a full-fledged superstar for the company. She was recently in Seattle as the face of the partnership between the UFC and the promotion's official wireless provider, MetroPCS. Then it was off to Los Angeles, New York and Chicago as part of the UFC World Tour 2013, where she and Miesha Tate (13-4 MMA, 0-1 UFC) helped promote their upcoming UFC 168 clash.
Along the way, it was revealed she would be on the cover of Maxim, that she had been cast in "The Expendables 3" and that she might take a spot in "Fast and Furious 7," as well.
But before that whirlwind tour began, Rousey had taken a self-imposed cross-country road trip, helping a friend relocate from the East Coast to the West.
"I just had 50 hours of driving to reflect, which is one of the reasons I love road trips so much because no one can f--- with me, and I can just talk and organize my thoughts and think," Rousey said. "I've got a lot of stuff coming up that I can't talk to you about."
But with all those side gigs, one has to wonder: Like Gina Carano before her, if Rousey realizes it's far easier to make a living reciting lines than dodging strikes, could she decide to walk away from MMA?
Rousey said she's not at that point just yet but that her February win over Liz Carmouche, a fight in which the UFC champ came dangerously close to losing for the first time in her career, was an eye-opening experience.
"I think one profession has a much-longer shelf life than the other," Rousey said. "My last fight, I was kind of forced to face my mortality a little bit. I had an air of invincibility about me, and I was kind of forced to realize statistically there is a chance you could get permanently hurt or even die. There's only so many times you can roll the dice.
"I am the best f---ing fighter in the world, and I truly believe that, but you're still rolling the dice no matter who you are, so I do have to kind of set up an exit strategy. That's what I did wrong in judo. I followed it all the way until the end, and I didn't put any thought into after."
Rousey, who has trained in judo since childhood, earned a bronze medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, becoming the first American woman to medal in the sport. But after her Olympic run, Rousey admits she had no idea what to do next and spent time bartending in California before starting a career in mixed martial arts.
After three amateur fights, Rousey turned pro in 2011 and has since taken the MMA world by storm, single-handedly winning over UFC President Dana White, leading to the addition of a women's division to the UFC. As the reigning Strikeforce champion at the time, Rousey was awarded the UFC belt and then successfully defended the title at February's UFC 157 event.
That fight, not to mention the incredible mainstream media attention surrounding it, made Rousey one of the biggest stars in the sport, and she's now receiving an astounding amount of opportunities outside of the cage. While Rousey said her fighting days may be limited, she insists that doesn't mean her focus will waver while she's still actively competing.
"I really want to do something special, and I really want to be the person that was able to do both (acting and fighting)," Rousey said. "When I feel like I'm done fighting, I'm done fighting. But I'm not done fighting yet. It's still my priority, and I feel like if I can have three jobs on the side and still train and fight, then I can every once in a while go do a movie. I'll still train while I'm there and then go fight.
"This is actually less of a workload than I've dealt with before, so I'm really actually very appreciative for how s---ty things were when I was first started because when things have gotten harder as we're going along, everything just seems so doable. Nothing really compares to falling asleep on the 405 and smashing your face in. That's what real exhaustion is. I can handle this s---. I get a trailer."