Rookie Hansen won a legion of admirers for her first UFC outing on Saturday, including a congratulatory message from former champion Ronda Rousey, who inspired her to pursue MMA, while she was receiving stitches after her bloody third-round victory.

The first question the Californian was asked at her post-fight press conference concerned an extraordinary $37,000 bet placed by an anonymous punter in the build-up to her armbar victory over Frey, which looked far from certain during the early stages of the scrap.

“I saw that about 45 minutes before my fight,” admitted the impressively durable newcomer. “That’s a lot of money to bet on someone making their UFC debut but congrats to them, I guess.

“I was like, ‘what the…?’ It didn’t put any pressure on me because that’s your choice. I’m not responsible for fulfilling that. It is cool to see people putting that kind of faith in me in a way, I guess.

“That’s so crazy to me. I mean, I don’t know who did it.”

Hours later, Hansen met her backer – a fight fan known as ‘zayytiggy’ on Twitter who is fond of betting on bouts – at the airport while she was preparing to fly home, writing on social media: “Literally just met the guy who bet $37k on me at the airport. So insane.”

Her admirer produced his winning slip as proof of his investment in Hansen, telling accounts who questioned the wisdom of his bet after Frey won the opening round: “I guess you should have known I’m 20k richer.”

He replied “no bs lol” when asked whether he had felt nervous after watching Hansen’s initial struggle to impose herself on the undercard of the event headlined by Dustin Poirier’s win over Dan Hooker, but said he had also successfully backed Cynthia Cavillo to beat Jessica Eye and Gillian Robertson to beat Cortney Casey in recent weeks.

“Always been ballsy,” he added. “I won three weeks in a row. I just do my homework.”

Calling Hansen “Killer K”, the windfall winner elaborated on his pre-fight analysis by agreeing with a fellow fan who suggested evident flaws in Frey’s takedown defense, replying: “Exactly it. Her td defense sucks.”

Hansen’s reported $12,000 appearance fee and collection of the same amount as a victory reward would have only just eclipsed the gambler’s winnings had she not earned a hefty $50,000 bonus for Performance of the Night.

Speaking about her message from Rousey, she said: “It’s all a cycle. There are going to be little girls looking up to me one day. I think it’s great that we support each other in that way, it’s cool.”

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