In just the latest example of her remarkable star power, UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey has added another first to her growing list of accomplishments. “Rowdy” is set to become the first MMA fighter to grace the cover of Ring Magazine.
Truly and honor to be the first Mma fighter on the cover of ringtv 🙇🙏👊 https://t.co/oYeRoUmLFJ
— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) October 27, 2015
The famed publication asks the question in their January 2016 issue whether Rousey is set to conquer the sport of boxing after dominating mixed martial arts. It’ll hit newsstands on Nov. 15, and not surprisingly the decision has ruffled some feathers amongst hard-core boxing enthusiasts. However, her tremendous popularity will very likely counteract that, as her legion of fans can’t get enough.
Rousey’s mainstream acceptance has gotten to the point where rarely a day or two goes by without her generating headlines. She achieved another first this year by being featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness Australia, and was also included in this year’s Fortune 40 under 40 list. That prestigious list recognizes those individuals under the age of 40 who have considerable power and influence in the business world. Her movie career continues to blossom as well, as Rousey is being cast in the lead role in the remake of ‘Road House.’
She’s literally everywhere these days and there’s no sign of her popularity fading anytime soon. The UFC superstar is slated to make the seventh defense of her 135-pound strap in Australia next month against Holly Holm. Her last three defenses have lasted a grand total of 64 seconds.
Holm is a decorated former boxing champion who’s considered to be one of the best female strikers in the sport. Rousey is looking forward to testing herself against the unbeaten challenger at Etihad Stadium as the organization hopes to set a new attendance record at UFC 193 in Melbourne.
If anyone is capable of smashing the old attendance record of 55,000 it would certainly be the UFC’s current No. 1 star. Rousey’s 34-second destruction of Bethe Correia at UFC 190 has been the organization’s top performing pay-per-view of the year so far in generating a whopping 900,000 buys.
There’s no doubt that the so-called Bible of Boxing is looking to cash in on Rousey’s popularity by bestowing a cover honor upon her. After all, she’s never had a professional boxing match. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean she doesn’t have some ties to the sport.
Her admirers include the likes of former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson and current knockout king Gennady Golovkin. GGG recently called Rousey, who happens to be a big fan of the unbeaten middleweight champion, the best female athlete in the world. Rousey has also been involved in a war-of-words with unbeaten boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Rousey’s utter UFC domination actually got her the nod over Mayweather at this year’s ESPY awards in the Best Fighter Category. UFC President Dana White has consistently stirred the pot by claiming that Rousey would ragdoll Mayweather if they ever fought. The hypothetical argument is a ridiculous one given that a clash between the two could never happen, but somehow it has made for plenty of conversation. The verbal battle between Rousey and Mayweather has seemingly died down after “Money” announced his retirement after a September victory over Andre Berto.
The 28-year-old California native first rose to prominence in the Strikeforce fighting promotion capturing the title with a first-round submission win over Miesha Tate. Rousey’s popularity has absolutely skyrocketed since joining the UFC, as her clashes have become absolute must-see events. The most intriguing part of her career progression has been a significantly improved stand-up game. Her striking skills have been taken to an entirely different level under the watchful eye of coach Edmond Tarverdyan.
The dangerous thing for the rest of the women’s 135-pound division is that Rousey can rely on much more than just her signature armbar to achieve victory. She’s recorded knockouts in three of her last four appearances, and still has never had a fight go the distance. Tate is the only opponent to last past the first-round when she was submitted in the third-round in their rematch at UFC 168. Rousey is a massive favourite to continue her winning ways against Holm in Australia.
Whether a future career in boxing is in the cards is likely a long shot. Rousey is on record as saying she doesn’t plan on continuing her UFC career into her 30’s, which leaves just a few more Octagon appearances. Hopefully one of those will be a long-awaited Superfight against Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.
Once her UFC career winds down, she’ll undoubtedly continue to focus on her Hollywood ventures. There’s also the possibility of future involvement with the WWE, as Rousey made a surprise appearance this year at WrestleMania 31 with “Furious 7” co-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
If Rousey were actually to set her full attention on the sweet science someday, it would definitely be hard to bet against her. It seems everything she touches these days turns to gold. The number of history-making occasions will only continue to grow and the Ring Magazine accolade is just the latest in a long line of them.