Blazing a glorious path of firsts, fame, dominance and mainstream appeal never before seen in the arena of mixed martial arts, “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey was the definition of a trailblazer in her days before, during and now after her time within the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
On Saturday night during the UFC 225 pay-per-view broadcast, it was announced that Rousey, the first women’s champion in UFC history, would take her rightful place in the UFC Hall of Fame upon her induction on July 5 in Las Vegas.
“This is an immense honor, to not only take part in bringing women to the forefront of this sport, but now the UFC Hall of Fame,” Rousey stated in a UFC press release. “May I be the first of many.”
Fitting as Rousey seemed to accomplish so many firsts within the UFC such as becoming their first UFC female titlist and winning the first UFC women’s bout, she will go down as the first woman inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
“There would be no women in UFC without Ronda Rousey,” UFC President Dana White stated in the release. “Ronda is an absolute pioneer who helped me personally, and a lot of other people, look at women in combat sports differently. She accomplished everything she set out to do with UFC and became a global icon and role model in the process. Today, the women’s divisions are packed with incredibly talented fighters and they produce some of the best fights you’ll ever see. We’re proud to announce Ronda as the first woman to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.”
Tickets will go on sale Friday to attend the July 5 ceremony at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort, which, as has become an annual tradition for the UFC, will be part of the organization’s International Fight Week. It will be streamed live on UFC Fight Pass.
Rousey fought her entire historic career while training at the Glendale Fighting Club under trainer Edmond Tarverdyan. She built a 12-2 record, claiming all of her victories via stoppage with nine via trademark armbar, and became a true crossover star in MMA as the Strikeforce and UFC women’s bantamweight champion showed up in major motion pictures such as “Entourage” and “The Expendables 3”.
A two-time Olympic judoka for the United States, she became the first US woman to win a medal when she took home bronze in 2008.
Her mixed martial arts career was a blitzkrieg as she blew through three amateur bouts in a span of six months with a trio of armbar submissions, all of them 57 seconds or less. Rousey’s professional career continued the dominant template as she went 4-0 with armbar submissions coming inside a minute in all of them. Just four bouts into her career, she challenged Miesha Tate for the Strikeforce championship – then the most highly recognized women’s title in the sport. Rousey defeated Tate, who would become a career rival, in 4:27 of the first round on March 3, 2012 to win the strap. After a 54-second demolition of Sarah Kaufman, Rousey was introduced as the first UFC women’s champion with the organization purchasing Strikeforce.
On Feb. 23, 2013, Rousey made history when she and Liz Carmouche headlined UFC 157 in Anaheim in the UFC’s first female fight. Rousey won at 4:49 of the first once again by armbar.
Rousey’s record grew to 12-0 before she was upset by Holly Holm on Nov. 14, 2015 in front of the UFC’s largest live crowd ever at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia as a reported 56,214 fans saw Rousey knocked out. She returned for another bout when she challenged current champion Amanda Nunes on Dec. 30, 2016 and lost via first-round knockout.
Rousey’s list of firsts are seemingly too many to count as she was the first MMA fighter to win the “Best Fighter” ESPY in 2015 and on two occasions won the ESPY for “Best Female Athlete.”
She has appeared on multiple television shows, in multiple movies, released her autobiography “My Fight/Your Fight” and is currently a contracted sports entertainer or pro wrestler for World Wrestling Entertainment’s Monday Night Raw, scheduled to challenge for the Raw women’s championship against Nia Jaxx on June 17 at “Money in the Bank” in Illinois, which is consequently where Saturday’s UFC pay-per-view was.