Rousey is the only woman to win a championship in both the UFC and WWE, as well as the only woman to headline a pay-per-view event in both companies.
She was voted the best female athlete of all-time in a 2015 ESPN fan poll, and Fox Sports
described her as "one of the defining athletes of the 21st century."
Rousey has also appeared in films, including The Expendables 3
(2014), Furious 7
and Mile 22
and released her autobiography My Fight / Your Fight
Ronda Jean Rousey was born in Riverside, California
on February 1, 1987, the youngest of three daughters of AnnMaria De Mars
Waddell) and Ron Rousey,
after whom she was named.
Her mother, a decorated judoka, was the first American to win a World Judo Championship (in 1984). Rousey is of English, Polish, and, through her maternal grandfather, Trinidadian and Venezuelan ancestry.
Her Venezuelan grandfather was partly of Afro-Venezuelan descent and her Trinidadian maternal great-grandfather, Alfred E Waddell, was a doctor who emigrated to Canada and became one of the first black physicians in North America.
Her stepfather is an aerospace engineer
Her biological father, after breaking his back sledding with his daughters and learning that he would be a paraplegic, committed suicide in 1995 when Rousey was eight.
AnnMaria pursued a PhD
in educational psychology at the University of California, Riverside
as her daughters grew up.
For the first six years of her life, Rousey struggled with speech and could not form an intelligible sentence due to apraxia
, a neurological childhood speech sound disorder.
This speech disorder was attributed to being born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. When Rousey was three years old, her mother and father moved from Riverside, California, to Jamestown, North Dakota
, to obtain intensive speech therapy with specialists at Minot State University
Rousey dropped out of high school and later earned her GED
She was raised between Jamestown and Southern California
, retiring 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.
Olympic judo career
Rousey began judo
with her mother at the age of 11. Rousey trained with her mother until she was 13, when she accidentally broke her mother's wrist.
At 17, Rousey was the youngest judoka to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Games
. Rousey lost in her first match to silver medalist Claudia Heill
in the 63 kg bracket. 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 to win two Junior World medals.
Mixed martial arts career
Rousey retired from judo at 21 after the Olympics. After winning her Olympic medal, Rousey shared a studio apartment with a roommate in Venice Beach
, California and worked three jobs as a bartender and cocktail waitress to support herself and her dog.
When Rousey started learning judo, her mother took her to judo clubs run by her old teammates. Rousey went to Hayastan MMA Academy, which was run by Gokor Chivichyan
, where she trained with fellow future MMA fighters Manny Gamburyan
and Karo Parisyan
. According to Rousey, Hayastan practiced "a more brawling style of judo versus the more technical Japanese style." Rousey trained mostly with males bigger than she was and often got frustrated and cried when she got thrown and could not throw somebody. "Probably from 2002 to 2005 I cried every single night of training," Rousey remarked.
Rousey trained closely with Gamburyan. After Rousey injured her knee when she was 16, Gamburyan volunteered to open the gym every afternoon and work with her personally. Back in 2004, her teammates thought Rousey "would kill these girls" in MMA, but also thought she was "too pretty to get hit in the face" and should keep doing judo. While Gamburyan and Parisyan went into MMA, Rousey stuck with judo but remained in touch with MMA through them. The first MMA fight she took an interest in watching was Manny Gamburyan versus Nate Diaz
in The Ultimate Fighter finale
. Rousey stated she never got as excited watching judo or any other sport. After the 2008 Olympics the following year, she decided to start MMA through Team Hayastan.
Rousey also trained at the Glendale Fighting Club, to which she was introduced by Gamburyan and other Hayastan teammates. She started training under her long-term MMA coach Edmond Tarverdyan at GFC.
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 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
She submitted Tweet with an armbar in 49 seconds.
Rousey was scheduled to make her Strikeforce
debut against Sarah D'Alelio
on July 30, 2011, at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson
in Hoffman Estates, Illinois
The fight was postponed and eventually took place on the Strikeforce Challengers 18 main card on August 12, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada
Rousey defeated D'Alelio by technical submission due to an armbar early in the first round. The victory was controversial. Rousey claimed that D'Alelio yelled "tap" more than once and that D'Alelio denied this and claimed to have yelled "Aaaahhh". According to the unified rules of mixed martial arts, either one of these utterances would still be a verbal submission.
During his appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience
, Rousey's trainer Edmond Tarverdyan said that Rousey started her MMA career in the 145 lb division because she had to be able to make weight at short notice, due to the difficulty of finding willing opponents.
Women's Bantamweight Champion
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.
Rousey appeared in All Access: Ronda Rousey
. 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 defended her Strikeforce title against Sarah Kaufman
at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman
on August 18, 2012, in San Diego, California.
Rousey said that she would throw Kaufman's arm at her corner after ripping it off with an armbar
, and threatened to choke or pound Kaufman's face to death.
During the fight, Rousey quickly took Kaufman down and submitted her with an armbar in 54 seconds to retain the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Championship. After the fight, Rousey announced that if former Strikeforce Women's Featherweight Champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos
wanted to fight her, it would have to take place at bantamweight.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (2012–2016)
First female UFC Champion
Rousey in 2012
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.
Rousey defended her title against Liz Carmouche
on February 23, 2013, at UFC 157
. Despite being caught in an early standing neck crank attempt from Carmouche, Rousey went on to successfully defend her Bantamweight Championship title, winning the fight at 4:49 into the first round by submission due to an armbar.
Carmouche dislocated Ronda Rousey's jaw during the fight.
Rousey faced Miesha Tate, in a rematch from Strikeforce, at UFC 168
on December 28, 2013. After going past the first two rounds, with Tate surviving an armbar attempt and a triangle attempt, Rousey finally submitted Tate via armbar in the third round to retain her Bantamweight Championship.
In an interview with Los Angeles Daily News
, Rousey said she had lost muscle during her film commitments and not been able to regain her full strength for the Tate fight.
Record-setting championship reign
It was announced at the UFC 168 post-fight press conference that Rousey would defend the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship against fellow Olympic medalist and undefeated fighter Sara McMann
in the main event at UFC 170
on February 22, 2014. Rousey won the fight by TKO after knocking down McMann with a knee to the body just over a minute into the first round. This marked Rousey's first career win via a method other than armbar. The stoppage led to controversy, with some sports writers and attendants finding it premature.
In 2014, Rousey was named one of espnW's Impact 25.
On April 11, 2014, it was announced that Rousey would defend the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship against Alexis Davis
in the co-main event at UFC 175
on July 5, 2014. She won the fight via knockout 16 seconds into the first round. Rousey broke her thumb during the fight.
The emphatic win also earned Rousey her second Performance of the Night
A match between Rousey and Cat Zingano
was scheduled to take place at UFC 182
for the women's bantamweight title.
However, the fight was moved to February 28, 2015, at UFC 184
Rousey defeated Zingano with an armbar in 14 seconds, the shortest match in UFC championship history until Conor McGregor
defeated José Aldo
in 13 seconds 11 months later.
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 bout was Rousey's sixth 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.
Her average time of 2 minutes and 59 seconds was less than the average time of a single match in every UFC weight class, the fastest of which was the Heavyweight division with a time of 7 minutes and 59 seconds.
Title loss and subsequent retirement
In her seventh title defense, Rousey faced Holly Holm
in the main event at UFC 193
on November 15, 2015.
Despite being a heavy betting favorite, Rousey had no answer for Holm's superior striking. Early in the second round, Holm knocked Rousey out by a high kick, ending Rousey's three-year reign as champion. It was also her first loss. After the fight, Rousey and Holm were each awarded a Fight of the Night
bonus of $50,000.
She was also medically suspended by UFC on November 18, 2015.
She was medically cleared on December 9, 2015.
After over a year away from the sport, Rousey returned to face current champion Amanda Nunes
on December 30, 2016, in the main event at UFC 207
She lost the fight via TKO due to punches at just 48 seconds into the first round.
Although she did not formally announce her retirement, when asked if she would fight MMA again by Ellen DeGeneres in 2018, Rousey replied, "I think it's just as likely as me going back to another Olympics for judo."
She was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in July 2018.
While some fighters strike an impassive pose … Rousey is nothing if not expressive. She smiles often, squinting so tightly that her eyes disappear. She cries easily, a girlhood habit she never outgrew. And before each fight, she glares at her opponent as if she were getting ready to put a permanent end to a lifelong feud. After the fight, she is all smiles again, and usually unblemished.
In a 2012 interview
before her first match with Miesha Tate
, Rousey said: "When I was doing judo my main advantage was my conditioning and my pace; I used to wear people out." She had taken to heart a quote from Ryoko Tani
to fight every five seconds as if it was the last five seconds of the match.
A decorated judoka, Rousey typically grounds an opponent with hip throws
, then seeks to finish with strikes or submissions.
From top position, she usually attacks with punches from side control
; in rear position, she often secures a back mount
and attacks with head strikes.
Rousey is right-handed, but is a left-handed judoka fighting in an orthodox stance as a striker.
Rousey is well known for her skill in grappling and is particularly noted for her string of victories by armbar
. Against accomplished strikers, such as Julia Budd and Sarah Kaufman, Rousey has typically brought the fight down and sought a quick submission.
Only powerful grapplers, such as Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche, have been competitive with Rousey on the ground.
During early fights in her MMA career, Rousey mainly used striking to set up judo. She became a more proficient striker following her UFC debut, leading to her first wins by way of stoppage. While standing, Rousey normally uses jabs
, and overhand rights
She seldom stood side on with a set boxing stance, but would square up to the opponent, while still generating strong striking power, especially when near the fence, or clinching opponents with the left hand to close the distance.
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.
Rousey is notable for introducing trash talking
to women's MMA. In many interviews Rousey has used harsh language and openly downplayed the abilities of her opponents, which she explains as a way to generate more publicity for the sport.
Professional wrestling career
Sporadic appearances (2014–2017)
The Four Horsewomen were acknowledged on camera and commentary as such, in the front row at WWE
event in August 2014. The group also went backstage during the event, meeting Paul Heyman
, among others.
Rousey was interviewed by WWE.com that night; when asked if she, like Brock Lesnar
, would cross over to wrestling, she replied: "You never know."
At WrestleMania 31
in March 2015, the Four Horsewomen were seated in the front row. During an in-ring argument between The Rock
and The Authority
and Triple H
), McMahon slapped the Rock and ordered him to leave "her ring". She taunted him, saying he would not hit a woman. He left, paused and walked over to Rousey to a loud ovation. He then helped her into the ring and said that she would be happy to hit McMahon for him. After a staredown, The Rock attacked Triple H. When he stumbled toward Rousey, she tossed him out of the ring. McMahon tried to slap her, was blocked and Rousey grabbed her arm, teasing an armbar, before throwing her out of the ring. Rousey and the Rock celebrated in the ring, while the Authority retreated with the implication of revenge.
The segment was replayed and discussed throughout the next night's Raw
with the commentators hyping a tweet
Rousey made earlier that day, in which she implied a return to WWE with "We're just gettin' started...".
On July 13, 14, and September 12, 2017, the Horsewomen appeared in the audience of the Mae Young Classic
to support their compatriot Shayna Baszler
, who was making her WWE debut in the tournament. Additionally during the event, all four Horsewomen had a face-off with Charlotte Flair
, Becky Lynch
, and Bayley
, who, in WWE together with Sasha Banks
, are also known as the Four Horsewomen, hinting at a possible future feud
between the two groups.
It was reported in 2017 that Rousey had signed with the WWE on a full-time basis and had been training at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.
Raw Women's Champion (2018–2019)
On the March 5 episode of Raw
, it was announced that Rousey will make her in–ring debut at WrestleMania 34
, WWE's flagship event, in a mixed tag team match
pitting Rousey and Kurt Angle
as her partner against Stephanie McMahon and Triple H.
At the event, Rousey submitted McMahon with her trademark armbar submission
hold to secure the win for her team.
Her debut performance was widely praised by both fans and wrestling critics, with Dave Meltzer
of the Wrestling Observer
noting that she "at no point looked out of her element, she was crisp in just about everything", calling her performance "one of the better pro wrestling debuts I've ever seen". The Washington Post
noted the positive fan reaction, stating "The match exceeded expectations, with fans firmly behind Rousey" and "[fans were] surprised [at her] high–level coordination and quality of wrestling. Even those who were not agreed the match was entertaining."
In May, after she was challenged by then-champion Nia Jax
, it was announced that Rousey would get her first opportunity at the Raw Women's Championship
at the next pay–per–view, Money in the Bank
At the event, Rousey went on to win the match by disqualification
after an interference by Alexa Bliss
, who attacked both Rousey and Jax and cashed in her Money in the Bank contract
(which she won earlier that night) to win the title instead.
For her first singles match and title opportunity, she was once again praised by fans and critics for her performance, with CNET
stating "For the first time, [WWE's] biggest mainstream star is a woman."
They believed that despite "worry was that the match would expose Rousey's own inexperience, which would greatly damage her aura and star power", she "came across as a formidable, believable star wrestler. The match was good, but she was awesome".
Throughout the next two months, Rousey would start her first feud
as part of WWE with Alexa Bliss over the title, which included a suspension (again in kayfabe
) after Rousey attacked Bliss, Kurt Angle
and multiple officials.
After honouring her suspension from in–ring competition, Rousey received a Raw Women's Championship match by Raw general manager
Kurt Angle against Bliss at SummerSlam
At the event on August 19, Rousey squashed
Bliss to win the title, her first championship win in WWE.
In a rematch between the two that took place a month later on September 16 at Hell in a Cell
, Rousey once again submitted Bliss.
Throughout her championship reign, Rousey went on to fend off title contenders such as Nikki Bella
(in the main event
of the first all women's pay–per–view Evolution
), Mickie James
Nia Jax, Natalya
and Sasha Banks
In November, Rousey was supposed to face Becky Lynch
at the Survivor Series
pay–per–view in an interbrand champion vs. champion match, however, Lynch was legitimately injured during an invasion angle
just minutes after she attacked Rousey backstage.
At the event, Rousey faced Charlotte Flair
instead, and won via disqualification after Flair attacked her with a kendo stick and steel chairs.
A month later, on December 16, at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs
, Rousey gained revenge against both Flair and Lynch as she pushed them off a ladder during their match, also helping Asuka
win the SmackDown Women's Championship
Shortly after she retained her title against Bayley
, on the January 28, 2019, episode of Raw
, Rousey continued her feud with Becky Lynch (who had won the Royal Rumble match
) after the latter chose to challenge her in a title match at WrestleMania 35
On the February 11 episode of Raw
, Vince McMahon
suspended Lynch for 60 days in storyline and announced Charlotte Flair
replaced Lynch as Rousey's WrestleMania opponent.
On the March 4 episode of Raw
, Rousey turned heel
for the first time in her career when she cut a promo on fans and attacked both Flair and Lynch.
, Lynch faced Flair in a match where if Lynch won, she would be inserted back into the Raw Women's Championship match at WrestleMania. Rousey attacked Lynch during the match, giving Lynch the disqualification victory and thus the WrestleMania triple-threat match between Rousey, Flair and Lynch was made official. On March 25, WWE announced Rousey's title defense against Lynch and Flair would be the main event of WrestleMania 35, making it the first women's match to close WrestleMania.
At the event, in what was changed to a Winner takes all
for Rousey's Raw and Flair's SmackDown Women's Championships, Lynch controversially pinned Rousey to win both titles. The commentary and production team commented that Rousey was in the ring saying her shoulders were not down for the full three-count and showed a replay of the ending pin-pointing this fact. Many fans and media were left wondering if this was a legitimate botched finish or if it was booked to end that way.
Nonetheless, this gave Rousey her first loss in WWE and ended her championship reign at 231 days; it would remain the longest reign as Raw Women's Champion until Lynch's own would surpass Rousey's.
On December 23, 2020, Rousey told Digital Spy
that she did not like the WWE's "act of traveling."
Rousey appeared nude on the cover of ESPN The Magazine'
s 2012 Body Issue
and in a pictorial therein.
In May 2013, Rousey was ranked 29 on the Maxim Hot 100
She also appeared on the cover and in a pictorial of the September 2013 issue.
In 2015, Rousey became the first woman featured on the cover of Australian Men's Fitness
, appearing on their November edition.
In October 2015, Rousey became the first female athlete to guest host ESPN's SportsCenter
Rousey appeared in the Season 2, Episode 20 episode of Blindspot
playing the role of Devon Penberthy, a prison inmate serving time for transporting weapons across state lines.
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
Rousey was scheduled to star in a remake of the 1989 Patrick Swayze
action drama Road House
. Road House
would have marked 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.
However, the Road House
project was cancelled in 2016.
On August 18, 2019, it was revealed that Rousey is appearing as a recurring character Lena Bosko in the third season of FOX's 9-1-1
During her first day of shooting, she injured two fingers after her left hand was jammed in a boat door. The tip of her ring finger was fractured while her middle finger was broken with the tendon nearly severed. Rousey was rushed to the hospital, where her middle finger was mended with a metal plate and screws.
On February 18, 2020, Rousey announced her first stream on Facebook Gaming and donated all stream profits to charity.
Rousey became a vegan
after Beijing 2008,
but in 2012 described her diet as "kind of a mix between a Paleo
and a Warrior diet", trying to eat everything.
Rousey has discussed how she struggled with her body image in the past. She explained, "When I was in school, martial arts made you a dork, and I became self-conscious that I was too masculine. I was a 16-year-old girl with ringworm
and cauliflower ears
. People made fun of my arms and called me 'Miss Man'. It wasn't until I got older that I realized: these people are idiots. I'm fabulous."
In 2015, she raised money by auctioning signed T-shirts for the Black Jaguar-White Tiger Foundation
, whose goal is to save big cats from circuses and zoos and provide them with the best lifestyle.
In February 2016, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres
Rousey admitted that suicidal thoughts went through her mind in the aftermath of her knockout loss to Holly Holm
in November 2015.
Rousey once dated fellow UFC fighter Brendan Schaub
In August 2015, Rousey was rumored to be in a relationship with UFC fighter Travis Browne
, who knocked out Schaub in a bout the previous year, after a picture of the two together appeared on Twitter
and Browne's estranged wife Jenna Renee Webb accused the two of seeing one another. Browne was at the time still married and under investigation by the UFC after Webb publicly accused him of domestic violence in July 2015.
Browne confirmed he and Rousey were together in October 2015.
The next day, Rousey revealed that she was dating Browne.
Rousey and Browne got engaged on April 20, 2017, in New Zealand
and married on August 28, 2017 in Browne's home state of Hawaii.
On April 21, 2021 Rousey announced on her official YouTube channel that she is four months pregnant with her first child.
In her autobiography, My Fight, Your Fight
, Rousey wrote of an incident with a former boyfriend she dubbed "Snappers McCreepy" after she discovered that he had taken nude photos of her without her consent or knowledge, two weeks before her first fight with Miesha Tate. When a seething Rousey met him, she "slapped him across the face so hard [her] hand hurt." According to Rousey, he then refused to let her leave as he was trying to explain, so she attacked his face with two punches, one more slap, one knee, then "tossed him aside on the kitchen floor." She went to her car and he followed, grabbing the steering wheel, so she "dragged him out onto the sidewalk, and left him writhing there". Rousey deleted the photos and erased his hard drive, however, fear that the pictures may still be out there influenced her to pose for ESPN magazine
's Body Issue
so that nude pictures of her would be seen on her own terms.
Rousey faced some criticism that she had committed domestic abuse.
Championships and accomplishments
- International Judo Federation
- Summer Olympic Games
- USA Judo
- USA Senior National Championship (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010)
- USA Senior Olympic Team Trials Winner (2004, 2008)
- 2007 US Open Senior Gold Medalist
- 2006 US Open Senior Gold Medalist
- 2006 USA Fall Classic Senior Gold Medalist
- 2006 US Open Junior Gold Medalist
- 2005 US Open Senior Gold Medalist
- 2005 US Open Junior Silver Medalist
- 2004 US Open Senior Bronze Medalist
- 2003 US Open Senior Silver Medalist
- 2003 USA Fall Classic Senior Gold Medalist
- 2002 US Open Junior Gold Medalist
International Sports Hall of Fame (Class of 2018)
Mixed martial arts
Mixed martial arts record
Judo Olympic Games record
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- Official website
- Ronda Rousey on WWE.com
- Ronda Rousey's profile at Cagematch.net, Wrestlingdata.com, Internet Wrestling Database
- Ronda Rousey at Awakening Fighters
- Ronda Rousey at IMDb
- Ronda Rousey at Judo Vision
- Ronda Rousey at MMA Quotable
- Professional MMA record for Ronda Rousey from Sherdog
- Ronda Rousey at UFC
- Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Ronda Rousey". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020.
- Ronda Rousey at USA Judo
- Ohlenkamp, Neil; Wilson, Jerrod (2006). "Ronda Rousey – Judo Champion". Judo Info. Archived from the original on May 13, 2010.
Last edited on 15 May 2021, at 05:39
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