Ronda Rousey is an Olympic medalist and a very successful mixed martial arts fighter. In her short career, she has been dominant and is already a champion. Rousey was also the first female fighter signed by the UFC and will be making her debut headlining UFC 157 in Anaheim, Calif., Saturday.
Rousey, 26, is getting top billing, and her face is featured on the poster of UFC 157. She will square off against Liz Carmouche and will be putting her UFC Bantamweight championship on the line. Rousey is perhaps the most dominant female fighter at the 135-pound weight division and could be the pound-for-pound best female MMA fighter, although there can be a great case made for Cris "Cyborg" Santos, who fights at 145 pounds. Being the first female UFC fighter is pressure enough, but her debut brings even more attention on her, because she is the main event of a very strong fight card that features Lyoto Machida going against Dan Henderson in a battle between former UFC champions, as well as popular fighter Urijah Faber and popular villain Josh Koscheck also on UFC 157.
While there will be plenty of great fights on Saturday, the focus is on Rousey as it has been throughout her MMA career. Before MMA, Rousey was a world-class judo practitioner, winning a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics, the first medal ever for an American woman in judo. Her success in the judo scene led her to even greater success in MMA. Fighting in King of the Cage and Strikeforce, Rousey is undefeated at 6-0 with all wins coming via armbar submission in the first round. While being a submission specialist is one thing, Rousey makes it clear that she wants the fight to go to the ground so she can set up for an armbar. While her game plan is known ahead of each of her fights, none of her opponents have been able to stop her, and, on Saturday, Carmouche is looking to be the first person to defeat her.
Her skill has brought in plenty of fans, but she has plenty of intangibles and an undeniable “it” factor that has gained her mainstream attention. Rousey is brash, confident, willing to trash talk ahead of fights and is also an attractive woman. As previously reported by IBTimes, she said in an interview on “Jim Rome on Showtime” regarding having sex: “For girls, it raises your testosterone, so I try to have as much sex as possible before I fight.”
Rousey understands marketing and branding and is willing to use her sex appeal to help sell a fight and, aside from being a dominant MMA fighter, is one of the main reasons the UFC made her the first female fighter it has signed. Dana White, UFC president, has called her “nasty” and “a rock star,” according to Sports Illustrated.
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MMA Weekly mentions Anderson Silva, arguably the best pound-for-pound MMA fighter, when discussing Rousey, noting that she has only spent less than 10 minutes inside the cage for all nine of her pro and amateur fights. UFC fighter Chael Sonnen compared her to Babe Ruth on "UFC Tonight," saying, “Ronda Rousey reminds me of an old-school baseball player where she comes out to the mound and points to where she wants to put the ball and that’s what she does with the armbar.”
Rousey will make her much-anticipated debut on Saturday at UFC 157 and has had a great marketing push for her debut. It will be interesting to see how much of a draw she is, as big PPV numbers for Rousey could lead to even greater acceptance of female MMA fighters and even more females in the UFC.
You can watch the first two episodes of “UFC 157 Primetime” below, which profiles both Rousey and Carmouche, who herself has an incredible story. Carmouche, 29, has an 8-2 record, winning seven of those by submission or knockout with her two losses coming to Marloes Coenen and Sarah Kaufman, two of the best female MMA fighters. Carmouche is openly lesbian and has embraced any questions that come from being one of a few openly gay athletes.