The speculation is now officially over regarding Ronda Rousey’s next professional moves and it doesn’t require an Octagon. Rousey has officially signed with the WWE and is now a professional wrestler.
The announcement comes on the heels of her appearance at Wrestlemania this Sunday night where she made a surprise appearance at the WWE’s Royal Rumble pay-per-view in Philadelphia. After the conclusion of the first-ever women’s Royal Rumble match, where Asuka had outlasted 29 other women and earned herself a right at either the Raw or SmackDown women’s championship at WrestleMania, Rousey emerged to a shocked crowd.
Legendary mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey made a surprise appearance to stare down Women’s Royal Rumble Match winner Asuka, SmackDown Women’s Champion Charlotte Flair and Raw Women’s Champion Alexa Bliss: Courtesy of the award-winning WWE Network.
“This is my life now. First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt,” Rousey told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne of her decision to join WWE. “When I first met with Triple H, I told him, ‘There are other things I can do with my time that’ll make way more money, but I won’t enjoy nearly as much.'”
After Japanese superstar, Asuka claimed victory in the women’s Royal Rumble match, WWE women’s champions Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair entered on either side of the ring. Suddenly, Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” blared through the PA system and Rousey’s name appeared on the screen.
With the entire Wells Fargo Center crowd rising to their feet, one of the UFC’s biggest stars walked through a black curtain, not speaking a word but instead getting in the faces of all three other women in the ring and pointing at the WrestleMania sign. This was an indication that she is going right for the top of the division in WWE. Rousey walked over to Stephanie McMahon, and shook her hand to seal her new status as a WWE performer.
Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey joins Ramona Shelburne for an emotional interview, following her signing a full-time contract with WWE.
Rousey forever changed the world of MMA over the course of four years after following in the shadow left by its first trailblazing women’s star, Gina Carano. After taking home a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics, Rousey won each of her three amateur MMA fights in less than a minute.
Her first 12 professional fights were basically one-sided matchups as Rousey became the Strikeforce champion, and once the UFC merged its fighters into the bigger brand’s roster, then the UFC,women’s bantamweight champion, reversing an early statement by UFC President Dana White that the women’s ranks would probably not make it into the Octagon. Rousey won five of her first six fights in the UFC in the first round, with four of those fights lasting 1 minute, 6 seconds or less.
However, Rousey would ultimately lose the last two fights of her career, to Holly Holm in 2015 and Amanda Nunes in 2016, before stepping away from MMA at the age of 29 after her lack of proper boxing/striking skills was exposed. Still, her impact is no less diminished as what began with just the women’s bantamweight division has now stretched to four women’s divisions in the UFC.
Since then, Rousey has become a pop culture icon and was the symbol for women’s triumph in combat sports. Rousey has hosted “Saturday Night Live,” appeared in a variety of TV shows and movies, and was featured on the cover of many of the biggest magazines in the world, including the 2012 ESPN The Magazine Body Issue. It is not certain if Rousey will ever return back to mixed martial arts.