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Ronda Rousey isn’t just the most recognizable woman in the UFC, she is is arguably one of the most recognizable athletes in the world today.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Rousey, the undefeated UFC women’s bantamweight champion, has become a global superstar. Since making her UFC debut in 2013, she has emerged as more than the best female MMA fighter in the world: Rousey is now an author, actress, magazine cover model, fashion icon and sought-after TV guest.
None of it would have materialized had Rousey not convinced UFC president Dana White to give women a chance to compete inside the Octagon. She undoubtedly captured his attention when she won the Strikeforce bantamweight title with an armbar submission of Miesha Tate in 2012, then defended it against Sarah Kaufman later that year.
In Nov. 2012, White announced that Rousey had signed with the UFC. He later crowned Rousey its first women’s bantamweight champ and matched her against Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 in her first title defense. As so many of her other fights have ended, Rousey used an armbar to score a first-round victory.
When Rousey defeated Cat Zingano in a UFC-record 14 seconds at UFC 184 – again, by armbar – it marked her fifth title defense. Of her 11 victories, 10 have come in the first round and nine have been via armbar. Only one opponent, Tate, has extended her as far as the third round. It’s no surprise Rousey is ranked in the UFC’s top five pound-for-pound fighters, a list otherwise occupied by men.
Rousey was a highly decorated judoka as an amateur and continues to employ hip tosses and sweeps against UFC opponents. She was an Olympic bronze medalist in judo at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing after qualifying for the 2004 Games in Athens. Rousey is also a former junior world champion (2004), world silver medalist (2007) and Pan Am Games champion (2007).
Her list of movie credits includes Entourage, The Expendables 3 and Furious Seven. Her autobiography, My Fight/Your Fight, was published in 2015.
White has called Rousey “the greatest athlete I’ve ever worked with,” a compliment she undoubtedly has earned.