The Expendables 3 director Patrick Hughes bravely offered up himself as a punching bag when mixed martial arts pin-up Ronda Rousey confessed to struggling with nerves as she prepared for a pivotal fight scene in the film.

Hughes asked Rousey how she fought nerves before a big fight and she told him she threw a few punches in her dressing room, he reluctantly offered himself as a target.

He explains, "Ronda's first scene ever was with Sly (Sylvester Stallone) at a bar and she was really super nervous. I said, 'What do you do before a big fight?' And she said, 'I like to spar in a room and get that nervous energy out'.

"So I said, 'You need to hit something? Let's find something to hit!' She said, 'But I wanna hit you. Put your arms up'.

"I'm thinking, 'Ronda's just gonna hit my hands,' so I put my arms up and she goes, 'wham!' The next day I was getting dressed and my kids were there and said, 'Dad, what's that?' I had this huge black mark and a broken rib. I said, 'I got beaten up by an actress!'"