2014 was a huge year for UFC women’s bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey. As well as making her big screen debut in blockbuster action hit The Expendables 3, the former Olympic judoka earned two knockout wins over Sara McMann (UFC 170) and Alexis Davis (UFC 175) – the latter of which coming in just 16 seconds.

Now Rousey is gearing up to defend her title for the fifth time against Cat Zingano at UFC 184 on February 28th.

In the current edition of Fighters Only magazine, Ronda speaks about her respective careers in MMA and film in an exclusive interview. Read below for a special preview.

“[The Expendables 3] really made me start thinking about my own life,” Rousey explains to FO in an exclusive interview. “Like, how am I going to deal with retirement when it gets to be that time? When I can’t fight any more, how will that affect me when I see all these young, hungry kids coming up? It makes you think.”

With thoughts of her expiration date lying heavy on her head, even though her careers in mixed martial arts and acting are firmly on the upswing, it’s tough to imagine how someone with a schedule like Rousey’s is able to fit intense training camps into a life that’s constantly on the move.

She firmly believes her mental strength and refusal to let excuses get in the way of hard training have been the main reasons why she’s the most dominant female fighter on the planet right now.

“How I see it, it’s all about putting in the work and having motivation. You have to stay motivated – force yourself to be motivated. I’ve said this before, but to be the best for more than a day or a week you have to be really, really driven to sustain that level, and that’s difficult

“Honestly, you have to make yourself get up and go train, even when you have every reason and excuse in the world not to. To reach your goals you’ve got to put in the hard work required to get there – and that sounds simple, but it’s not. You have to be persistent and you have to keep that simple idea in mind at all times. You’ve got to put in the hard work required to get there.

“Typically I have two to three workouts a day, and they could include wrestling, striking, boxing, running up sand dunes, grappling, strength and conditioning, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, swimming. And I actually don’t lift any weights at all.

“Every muscle people see on my body is for a task. Whenever I want to be able to do a certain move or action, I put the work in until I can. And to be honest, I’ve never enjoyed weightlifting because there’s no problem solving. With fighting I’m solving a problem, so I don’t think about being tired.”

Interview by Matthew Power