The Top 10 Career-Defining Achievements of Ronda Rousey in MMA
On the wake of Ronda Rousey being inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame, we decided to put together a list of her career highlights to further commemorate her place in history as an athlete.
1. Her Back-and-Forth Battle with Miesha Tate
When Rousey won her first title in Strikeforce, it was in a memorable battle with the then-champ Miesha Tate, who refused to tap to Rousey’s armbar, that has become a cult favorite.
2. Being Crowned the First Female UFC Champion
Dana White once famously said that women would “never,” fight in the UFC, only to go back on his word 2 years later when he anointed Rousey as the first ever women’s UFC champion.
3. Headlining a UFC PPV Card in Her Debut
Rousey was the PPV headliner at UFC 157, where she fought Liz Carmouche in the main event. It was a bout and card that delivered, where we also saw Rousey put in danger for the first time in her career, before finishing the fight via armbar in the final seconds of Round 1.
4. Coaching TUF 18
Rousey went on to fight and coach season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter against longstanding rival Miesha Tate (although she was originally slated to coach against Cat Zingano, who had to pull out due to a devastating knee injury). The season was one filled with high drama and a lot of controversy, as fans saw a side of Ronda that they hadn’t experienced before.
The season ended with both coaches fighting in a rematch, this time for the UFC belt, which was the first time Ronda ever saw a second and only time she ever saw a third in MMA.
5. Her First Win By TKO
Rousey’s third title defense saw her taking on Olympic silver medalist Sara McMann, in what many predicted would be a ground battle. However, the fight never made it to the matt as Rousey earned a TKO victory over McMann with a vicious knee to the liver
6. Breaking 1 million PPV Buys
Rousey proved to be a true star in her performance at UFC 190, which saw over 1 million pay-per-view buys thanks to her selling power. To see a woman draw this kind of attention and these kinds of dollars in sports is something that was never previously seen and couldn’t have been predicted, which launched her into the stratosphere of celebrity.
7. Armbaring Cat Zingano in 14 seconds
Part of what led to such an anticipated build up to UFC 190 was her previous title defense at UFC 184, in which she submitted Zingano in just 14 seconds. The fight had a lot of attention around it, as many thought Zingano could be the one to dethrone the bantamweight queen, as well as being the first PPV card headlined and co-headlined by women. At the time, this win was the fastest title fight finish in UFC history.
8. Breaking the Record for Highest Crowd Attendance
UFC 193 holds the record for the largest attendance of a UFC event, with the gate reaching 56,214. The fact that this record is held by a card featuring two women’s title fights says everything you need to know about the significance of this feat.
Of course, this fight didn’t go Rousey’s way, but the fact that she drew in such numbers and such attention speaks volumes for her influence and power to inspire.
9. Her Attempt to Regain the Title
Although she was not successful at UFC 207, Rousey should be lauded for her courage to go in there and face a killer like Amanda Nunes, rather than being critiqued for how the fight ended. She never had to try to recapture the belt, but decided to put everything on the line, despite the obvious stigma that was attached to her name.
10. A Hall of Fame Career
Rousey is now the first and only woman to be inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame. This means something for not only her, but for women everywhere, who are told that they don’t belong. MMA was once an overwhelmingly male-dominated, misogynistic sport that has been turned on its head, with women not only existing in the sport, but thriving in it, as they are present on almost all fight cards, headlining pay-per-views, getting 6 and 7 figure pay-days as champions. It’s a big deal and it means so much to see women having broken ground in the biggest possible way.