Throughout the years of mixed martial arts, there’s been one name in the sport that’s been more recognized and more feared among opposing athletes:
Just reading that name conjures up memories of her dominance for many.
Let’s take a look back at the career at the one whose nickname matched her in-ring demeanor to the letter, “Rowdy”.
Note: Rousey obtained permission from the late professional wrestler Roddy Piper to use the nickname “Rowdy” as an MMA competitor, which carried over to her year as a performer in World Wrestling Entertainment in 2018-2019.
Rousey began her career as a judo practitioner, competing for the United States in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, securing the bronze medal for the Americans in the latter.
All told, she posted a 6-3 record in Olympic judo competition.
She had been practicing judo since late in her childhood, with her mother, a former judo champion in her own right, being her initial training partner until a fateful day when the latter sustained a broken wrist.
Following the Beijing Olympics 12 years ago, the then-21-year-old Rousey ended this portion of her career as an athlete, which saw her take the gold medal in the Pan-American Games in 2007.
In 2010, Rousey turned to mixed martial arts, going 3-0 in her amateur career, winning all three fights by way of first-round armbar submission.
The total time of Rousey’s three amateur fights combined was just one minute and 44 seconds.
By January of 2011, her amateur days were already over.
In March of that year, Rousey made her professional MMA debut in King of the Cage: Turning Point vs. Ediane Gomez, scoring a first-round armbar submission 25 seconds into the contest.
That June, she faced off against Charmaine Tweet in a 150-lb. catchweight fight during HKFC: School of Hard Knocks 12, again winning by armbar in the first round, this time in 49 seconds.
Just two months later, Rousey got her first taste of major MMA exposure when she appeared in the late Strikeforce promotion, defeating Sarah D’Alielo by first-round technical submission (armbar).
A rivalry is born:
She later challenged Miesha Tate for Strikeforce’s Women’s Bantamweight title in March of 2012, defeating her by first-round technical submission.
The two would meet again when both were in the UFC during the Dec. 28, 2013 UFC 168 pay-per-view in the co-main event, with Rousey scoring a third-round armbar in the longest fight of her MMA career.
After her win against Sarah Kaufman in Strikeforce in August of 2012, the promotion would close and Rousey would go to the UFC and immediately become its first Women’s Bantamweight titleholder.
UFC years and losing streak to close her career:
Ronda Rousey would spend nearly four years as a member of the UFC’s active roster and defend the Women’s Bantamweight championship six consecutive times.
In November of 2015, she main-evented UFC 193 in Melbourne, Australia vs. Holly Holm—and it was on that card where Rousey sustained her first defeat since her days in judo.
Holm would score the Women’s Bantamweight title by second-round knockout and Rousey would not appear in a UFC event for over 13 months after UFC 193.
On Dec. 30, 2016, in UFC 207’s main event, Amanda Nunes defeated Rousey by first-round TKO, spoiling her bid to regain the belt.
Although no one knew it at the time, UFC 207 would mark Rousey’s last appearance to-date in a combat sports event.
WWE, RAW Championship, and heel turn:
In 2018, after marathon speculation, Rousey signed a contract to perform in World Wrestling Entertainment as a babyface on Monday Night RAW.
It was also during this time that the UFC announced that Rousey would be the first female inductee to its Hall of Fame for that year’s enshrinement class, which was referenced by her in a storyline on RAW, saying:
“Everyone told me I wasn’t ready to make the Olympic team at 17, but I did. And everyone said that I wasn’t ready to challenge for the Strikeforce belt after only four fights, but I won. Come to think of it, everybody said I wasn’t ready to be UFC champion, and now I’m going into the Hall of Fame!”
She retained the RAW championship for 231 days, but during that time, Rousey became a heel, when on Mar. 4 of last year, during the RAW telecast, she made a scathing promo regarding the WWE Universe [its fanbase], and her rivals Becky Lynch [real name Rebecca Quin] and Charlotte Flair, saying, in part:
“Damn your fantasies, damn ‘The Man,’ screw the Woo, and no more Mrs. Nice Bitch!”
The feud between the three came to a head when Stephanie McMahon announced that the main event of WrestleMania 35 would be a triple-threat match for both the RAW and Smackdown Live championships—with a caveat thrown in on the Monday before WrestleMania last year.
On the Apr. 1, 2019 RAW, Rousey, Lynch, and Flair teamed up to battle The Riott Squad (Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan, and Sarah Logan) in a 3-v-3 match with the stipulation that if either member of the former team betrayed another teammate, the match would not take place.
No such action happened during the match, preserving the WrestleMania main event.
The following Sunday at Mania, Rousey’s tenure as RAW Women’s Champion concluded when Becky Lynch won both championships by pinfall, leading to controversy in that Rousey’s shoulders weren’t down.
To date, Rousey is still contracted to WWE but is still on hiatus almost a full year after her main event defeat.
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