Ronda Rousey is an American mixed martial artist and the first ‘UFC’ Women's Bantamweight Champion. A popular name in mixed martial arts, Rousey participated in 14 fights and won 12 of it. She is also a judoka and became the first US woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo at the ‘Summer Olympics’ in Beijing in 2008. Termed as a “slaughterhouse in a blouse” by Eminem, she was ranked number one among the 50 ‘Most Dominant Athletes Alive’ in 2015. She is also the number one pound-for-pound female MMA fighter in the world, according to ‘MMARising.’ Born to a highly accomplished judoka, she inherited her mother’s passion for the martial arts. Her idyllic childhood was shattered when her doting father, who was seriously injured in an accident, committed suicide as he was unable to cope with the disabilities he suffered from the accident. She struggled through her tragic childhood to emerge as a formidable judoka. She was very successful as a judoka and competed at the 2008 ‘Olympic Games’ in Beijing, China. Soon, she embarked on a career as a mixed martial artist, making her debut as an amateur in 2010. Over the ensuing years, she established herself as one of the best ever in contemporary mixed martial arts. She is regarded as the number one female MMA fighter of all time.
Childhood & Early Life
Ronda Rousey was born on February 1, 1987, in Riverside, California, USA. Her mother AnnMaria De Mars was an accomplished judoka and was the first U.S. citizen, female, to win a ‘World Judo Championship.’ Her father Ron Rousey was a soldier. Rousey is of English, Polish, Trinidadian, and Venezuelan ancestry.
Tragedy struck the family when her father, who was injured in a sledding accident, was told that he would be a paraplegic. Unable to bear the burden of his disability, he committed suicide. Ronda was just eight years old at the time of his death and this incident affected her profoundly. Later on, her mother married an aerospace engineer.
Ronda struggled in school and was having problems focusing on her studies. Her mother persuaded her to learn judo, believing that it would act as a vent for her frustration. Her mother became her first coach and made Ronda train really hard.
She was named in the United States Olympic team at the age of 15. So, she dropped out of high school at 16 and later earned a G.E.D. At the age of 17, she qualified for the 2004 ‘Olympic Games’ in Athens, becoming the youngest judoka in the entire ‘Olympic Games.’
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She could not win a medal in the 2004 Olympics. However, she won a gold medal at the ‘World Junior Judo Championships’ in Budapest and also at the ‘Pan American Judo Championships’ the same year.
In 2006, she claimed the gold at the ‘Birmingham World Cup’ in Great Britain, and also defended her ‘Pan American Judo Championship’ title. In the same year, she went on to win the bronze medal at the ‘Junior World Championships,’ becoming the first U.S. judoka ever to win two Junior World medals.
Her performance as a judoka touched new heights in 2007. Not only was she now ranked among the top three women in the world in the 70 kg category, she also won the gold medal at the 2007 ‘Pan American Games.’ The same year, she won the silver medal at the 2007 ‘World Judo Championships’ in the middleweight division.
She participated in the 2008 ‘Olympic Games’ in Beijing, China. Though she lost the quarterfinal to Edith Bosch, she ended up earning a bronze medal after she qualified for another match through the repechage bracket. With this victory, she became the first American to win an Olympic medal in women's judo since its inception as an Olympic sport in 1992.
She retired from judo after the 2008 Olympics. After her retirement, she was unsure of what to do and spent some time working as a bartender. Eventually, she joined the ‘Glendale Fighting Club’ and made her amateur debut in mixed martial arts in August 2010. In her debut match, she emerged victorious by defeating Hayden Munoz with an armbar submission in 23 seconds.
She amassed several other amateur victories over the next several months and had a perfect 3-0 record in amateur MMA competition. She went on to make her professional mixed martial arts debut in March 2011 at ‘King of the Cage: Turning Point’ where she defeated Ediane Gomes with an armbar submission in 25 seconds.
Ronda Rousey made her ‘Strikeforce’ debut against Sarah D'Alelio in August 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada. She defeated D’Alelio with a technical armbar submission in the first round.
She then challenged Miesha Tate, the ‘Strikeforce’ Women's Bantamweight Champion at the time, for her title. Their match was much-publicized as the professional rivalry between the two women was well-known.
The fight took place on 3 March, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. Rousey defeated Tate by submission due to an armbar in the first round to become the new ‘Strikeforce’ Women's Bantamweight Champion.
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Rousey defended her ‘Strikeforce’ title against Sarah Kaufman at ‘Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman’ in August 2012 in San Diego, California. She made Kaufman to submit in just 54 seconds to retain the ‘Strikeforce’ Women's Bantamweight Championship.
She was challenged for her title by Alexis Davis in the co-main event at ‘UFC 175’ in July 2014. Rousey went on to win the fight via knockout in just 16 seconds into the first round.
Beautiful and glamorous, Ronda Rousey also ventured into television and films in 2010s, making appearances in movies, such as ‘The Expendables 3’ (2014), ‘Furious 7’ (2015), and ‘Entourage’ (2015).
In 2017, it was reported that Rousey had signed with the ‘WWE’ on a full-time basis and had been training at the ‘WWE Performance Center’ in Orlando. Subsequently, she made appearances in ‘RAW’ and went on to become a prominent member of the ‘WWE’ fraternity.
It was confirmed on January 17, 2019, that Rousey would be voicing ‘Sonya Blade’ in a video game titled ‘Mortal Kombat 11.’
Awards & Achievements
In 2007, she won the silver medal in ‘World Judo Championships,’ bronze medal in ‘German Open,’ gold medal in ‘Pan American Games,’ and bronze medal in ‘Pan American Championships’ in judo.
She won the bronze medal in women's 70 kg tournament in judo at the 2008 ‘Summer Olympics.’
She is the first ‘UFC’ Women's Bantamweight Champion, a title she won in December 2012.
In 2014, she won three ‘Wrestling Observer Newsletter’ awards—‘Best Box Office Draw,’ ‘Most Outstanding Fighter,’ and ‘MMA Most Valuable Fighter.’
Personal Life & Legacy
She has dated several men, including fellow MMA fighters, Brendan Schaub, Timothy DiGorrio, and Travis Browne.
She is a fan of professional wrestling, ‘Dragon Ball Z,’ and ‘Pokémon.’
She has raised money for the ‘Black Jaguar-White Tiger Foundation’ by auctioning signed T-shirts. The aim of the foundation is to save big cats from circuses and zoos and provide them with the best lifestyle.
Rousey started dating ‘UFC’ fighter Travis Browne in 2015 and they got engaged on April 2017. They eventually got married on August 28, 2017.