Ronda Rousey is American mixed martial artist, judoka, and Movie Star actress. Rousey was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo (bronze), which she won at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She is the former UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion, as well as the last Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She won 12 consecutive MMA fights, six in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). She won 11 of those fights in the first round, nine of them by armbar submission.
In May 2015, two magazines ranked Rousey as the most “dominant” active athlete. In September 2015, voters in an online ESPN poll selected Rousey as the Best Female Athlete Ever. Later that month, she claimed to be the UFC’s highest paid fighter, male or female. In 2015, she was the third most searched person on Google. As of January 2017, Rousey is ranked the #4 female bantamweight fighter in the world according to the UFC, and #9 by Sherdog. Rousey’s first feature film role was the 2014 film The Expendables 3. In 2015, she had roles in the films Furious 7 and Entourage.
Rousey was born in Riverside, California, the youngest of three daughters of AnnMaria De Mars. Her mother, a decorated judoka, was the first American to win a World Judo Championship (in 1984 and also an inductee into the International Sports Hall of Fame. She retired from her judo career at 21 and starting her MMA career at 22 when she realized that she did not want to spend her life in a conventional field of work. Rousey began judo with her mother at the age of 11. Rousey trained with her mother until she was 13 after accidentally breaking her mother’s wrist. At 17, Rousey qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, becoming the youngest judoka in the entire Games. Also in 2004, Rousey won a gold medal at the World Junior Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
In April 2006, she became the first female U.S. judoka in nearly 10 years to win an A-Level tournament as she went 5-0 to claim gold at the Birmingham World Cup in Great Britain. Later that year, the 19-year-old won the bronze medal at the Junior World Championships, becoming the first U.S. athlete ever to win two Junior World medals. In February 2007, Rousey moved up to 70 kg where she ranked as one of the top three women in the world. She won the silver medal at the 2007 World Judo Championships in the middleweight division and the gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games.
In August 2008, Rousey competed at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. Rousey defeated Annett Boehm by Yuko to win a bronze medal and with the victory, Rousey became the first American to win an Olympic medal in women’s judo since its inception as an Olympic sport in 1992. Rousey retired from judo at 21 after the Olympics. Rousey made her mixed martial arts debut as an amateur on August 6, 2010. She defeated Hayden Munoz by submission due to an armbar in 23 seconds. She entered the quarterfinals of the Tuff-N-Uff 145 lbs women’s tournament on November 12, 2010, and submitted promotional veteran Autumn Richardson with an armbar in 57 seconds.
Rousey faced Taylor Stratford in the Tuff-N-Uff tournament semi-finals on January 7, 2011, and won by technical submission due to an armbar in 24 seconds. She then announced plans to turn pro and was replaced in the tournament. Rousey has a perfect 3-0 record in amateur MMA competition, and the combined duration of all her amateur fights is under 2 minutes.
Rousey made her professional mixed martial arts debut on March 27, 2011, at King of the Cage: Turning Point. She submitted Ediane Gomes with an armbar in 25 seconds. Rousey faced kickboxing champion Charmaine Tweet in an MMA bout at Hard Knocks Fighting Championship: School of Hard Knocks 12 on June 17, 2011, in Calgary, Canada. She submitted Tweet with an armbar in 49 seconds.
Rousey appeared in All Access: Ronda Rousey on Showtime. The half-hour special debuted on August 8, 2012. UFC President Dana White revealed during the program that “In the next 10 years if there’s a woman in the octagon, it’s probably going to be Ronda Rousey.” The second installment of the special aired on August 15, 2012. Rousey also appeared on Conan. Rousey challenged Tate for her Strikeforce title on March 3, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. She defeated Tate by submission due to an armbar in the first round, again dislocating her opponent’s elbow, to become the new Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
In November 2012, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that Rousey had become the first female fighter to sign with the UFC. UFC President Dana White officially announced at the UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz pre-fight press conference that Rousey was the first UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion.
Rousey originally opposed using the nickname her friends gave her, “Rowdy”, feeling it would be disrespectful to professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper. After meeting Piper (circa 2012 or 2013) through Gene LeBell, who helped train both of them, Piper personally gave his approval.
In 2014, Rousey was named one of ESPN’s Impact 25. On April 11, 2014, it was announced that Rousey would defend the UFC Women’s Bantamweight Championship against Alexis Davis and won the fight via knockout just 16 seconds into the first round. Rousey vs Cat Zingano she won with an armbar in 14 seconds, the shortest match in UFC championship history. Rousey fought Bethe Correia on August 1, 2015, in Brazil, at UFC 190, winning the bout by knockout 34 seconds into the first round. Rousey dedicated the match to “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, who died the day before, commenting that Piper was one of her inspirations and had endorsed her use of his nickname.
The completion of this bout marked Rousey’s sixth official with the UFC, all of which had been victories. She spent 1077 seconds in the octagon to attain all six and accumulated $1,080,000 in prize money; this equated to nearly $1002.79 for every second spent fighting. While discussing her signature armbar in an interview, Rousey noted that her judoka mother jumped on her every morning to wake her up with armbars.
In October 2015, Rousey became the first female athlete to guest host ESPN’s SportsCenter. Rousey was on the cover of the January 2016 issue for The Ring magazine. She became the first mixed martial artist to ever appear on the cover of the boxing magazine and the second woman as well, after Cathy Davis in 1978.
A number of starring film roles have been developed for Rousey, including an adaptation of her autobiography My Fight/Your Fight at Paramount, The Athena Project at Warner Bros., the Peter Berg-directed action film Mile 22, and a remake of the 1989 Patrick Swayze action drama Road House. Road House will mark her biggest acting job to date. According to Variety, Rousey reached out to Swayze’s widow, Lisa Niemi, to ask for her blessing, which Niemi gave.