Ronda Rousey has become famous for a combination of charisma and dominance. To the mainstream public, Rousey is the UFC’s most recognizable star.
In November, Ronda Rousey faces Holly Holm in what many consider her toughest challenge yet. Since she has a fight coming up soon, I decided to write up a biography page for the UFC Bantamweight Champion and her challenge. Enjoy this profile of the most famous female MMA star there is.
Ronda Rousey Stats
Weight: 135 lbs
Most fans know Ronda Rousey as an Olympic Judo champion and undefeated mixed martial artist. These days, she is also an actress.
What they might not know is the daughter of AnnMaria Waddell (now AnnMaria De Mars), the first American to win a World Judo Champion (1984). She was born in Riverside, California.
Rousey began life suffering from apraxia, a speech disorder which might have been caused by being born with her mother’s umbilical cord wrapped around her throat. She did not speak until she was 6. At the age of 8, Ronda’s biological father broke his back while sledding with his daughters. Learning he would live the remainder of his life as a paraplegic, he committed suicide. Ronda’s mother remarried, this time to Ron Rousey, who is an aerospace engineer.
Eventually, the family moved from Riverside to North Dakota, where Ronda could receive special therapy and training from the speech therapists at Minot State University. The family would live in Jamestown, North Dakota for the remainder of Ronda’s childhood. She dropped out of high school in order to focus on her judo. By 21, she would retire from judo in order to focus on her MMA career. She had decided she wanted to become an MMA star and avoid working at a mundane job.
Rousey began training at judo with her mother when she was 11. She was the youngest judoka at the 2004 Athens Olympics, at age 17. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she won a bronze medal. In between, Rousey won Gold at the Birmingham World Cup in the UK in 2006, a silver at the 2007 World Judo Championships in 2007, and a gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games. She was considered one of the top 3 judoka in her weight class at the time. After the Olympics, though, Rousey began to focus on MMA exclusively.
Ronda Rousey began her mixed martial arts career fighting in Tuff-N-Uff tournaments, where she garnered a 3-0 record. She next fought in King of the Cage: Turning Point in March 27, 2011, where she submitted Ediane Gomes in 25 seconds. After that, she fought Charmaine Tweet in the Hard Knocks Fighting Championship, beating Tweet by armbar in 49 seconds.
Next, Ronda Rousey began fighting with the Strikeforce promotion. She submitted Sarah D’Alelio early in the 1st round with a bit of controversy (but not much), because the referee might have signaled the submission too soon. In her next match, she defeated Julia Budd with a submission, this time dislocating the elbow of her opponent.
Champion in Strikeforce
By this time, Rousey had developed a rivalry with Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Champion, Miesha Tate. The two had mouthed at one another in the press, which was perfect to set up a grudge match. When they fought, Ronda Rousey again won by an armbar submission, and again dislocated her opponent’s elbow. In August 2012, she defeated Sarah Kaufman in her first defense of the title.
Not long after that fight, the UFC’s Dana White was asked whether a woman would ever fight in the UFC octagon. White said, “In the next 10 years, if there’s a woman in the octagon, it’s probably going to be Ronda Rousey.”
Sure enough, Dana White signed Ronda Rousey. The rest is history…UFC history. Since coming into the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Rousey has gone from a curiosity to a champion to a main draw to a world class superstar.
Ronda Rousey came to the Ultimate Fighting Championship with a reputation for putting her opponents in an arm bar and forcing them to submit. For the first two fights of her UFC career, that was the modus operandi. She submitted Liz Carmouche in 4-minutes, 49-seconds at UFC 157, then did the same to Meisha Tate in 58 seconds at UFC 168.
Since then, the champion has preferred to strike her opponents. She seems to be developing her striking ability to continue her growth as a fighter and eliminate any potential weaknesses. Some might think she’s simply wanting to prove she can box. Whatever the case, the fights since then have shown fists as much as grapples. This was debuted in the Sara McMann fight (UFC 170), where she scored a TKO in 1-minute and 16-seconds.
UFC 175: The Alexis Davis Fight
It was in UFC 175, on the undercard of the Weidman vs Machida fight, when Ronda Rousey took her game to a whole other level. After several arm bar submissions, the champion stood up, threw punches with her opponent, and took her out in 16 seconds. It was supposed to be a tough match-up.
In fact, Rowdy showed not only that she could stand on the outside and trade punches, but she could brawl with an opponent, then transition quickly to a grapple. The two fought toe-to-toe for 10 seconds, but Rousey began to get the advantage. Alexis Davis dropped her head and leaned forward, like a boxer trying to clench might do, and the champion turned that into a grapple.
Putting her opponent in a headlock while on the mat, the UFC champion pounded a helpless Alexis Davis in the face with her right hand, until the referee stopped the fight. Game over.
UFC 184: The Cat Zingano Fight
When we look back on her career, the Cat Zingano fight is going to be one of Ronda Rousey’s signature moments. Zingano took a run across the octagon and leapt in the air towards Rousey. The champion move slightly aside, controlled her opponent’s descent, and won in a (seemingly) easy 14 seconds. In a lot of ways, her opponent simply went nuts, throwing caution and strategy to the side, and lost…badly. What a wild MMA moment.
It was a bad moment for a fighter who blew out her knee in 2013 and lost 18 months getting back into world class shape. The year before, Cat’s husband and trainer, Mauricio Zingano, committed suicide. Even brutal UFC fights feel compassion for someone in that situation.
After she defeated her opponent, the champion knelt down and told her fallen foe that she would give her a rematch “anytime” she wanted it. When a 14-second fight happens, the public isn’t likely to ask for a rematch.
The champion said, “I said ‘I’m happy to do this again anytime,’ you know? It’s hard to feel like you tested yourself when something like that happens, so I think if we fought again it would be very, very different, just like when me and Miesha Tate fought again.”
UFC 190: The Bethe Correia Fight
This main event women’s Bantamweight Championship fight was scheduled to be a 5-round competition. It was held in the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The opponent this time around was Bethe Correia.
The two had mouthed each other in the lead-up to the fight, but then something happened that took things to a different level.
A certain amount of pre-fight banter and controversy is expected in fighting. It’s how entertainers promote the fight. Many fighters are salesmen and view it as their job to sell the promotion. Some get offended, but most are professionals who understand the game.
Occasionally, someone takes things too far. That’s what many (including Rousey) saw Bethe Correia doing when she said, “She is focused on movies, books. I am much stronger, I come from a developing country, where people are struggling to survive, not to starve. It is very different from her life of reality. Under pressure, she is proving weak. When her mom put pressure on her, she ran away from home. When she lost, it was because of drugs. That’s not a superhero.”
The challenger continued, “When she feels my pressure, I want to see her reaction. She is not mentally healthy. She needs to take care of herself. She is winning, so everybody is around her cheering her up, but when she realizes she is not everything that she believes she is, I don’t know what might happen. I hope she does not kill herself later on (laughs).”
It was the suicide comment which offended the champion.
Those who’ve read the bio understand that her father committed suicide, so it was tasteless to go there.
Rousey replied in a conference call, “I think everything up until the suicide comment could have been understandable from a marketing point of view. But when she said that is when it really crossed the line and became truly personal for me.”
She returned to the comments later on in the run-up to the fight. Followers could tell she was using it as motivation.
At her gym later, the MMA star told reporters, “This is definitely the most personal fight I’ve ever had–making such tasteless remarks about suicide when she knows how it has effected me in my past. Then her completely disingenuous apology after, which wasn’t even an apology. She just complemented herself by calling herself humble and asked for forgiveness. Asking for forgiveness is not an apology.”
That caused the champion to say she wasn’t going to win the fight quickly this time, implying she would make Correia suffer before beating her.
Instead, she went into the looking for a knockout. From the beginning of the fight, Rousey began brawling. She overwhelmed the challenger and knocked her out in 34 seconds.
Joe Rogan interviewed the champion after the fight. He later tweeted, “That was the first time I ever almost cried while interviewing a fighter. @RondaRousey is something insanely special.”
It was a bit much from Rogan, but still a telling moment. The question about Rowdy’s family is what got Joe Rogan so tearful. When asked about her motivation, the champ replied, “I hope no one brings up my family anymore, when it comes to fights. I hope this is the last time.”
After the fight, there was talk of a third fight against Meisha Tate, set for December 2015 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (where the Dallas Cowboys play). That fight fell through. Instead, she signed to fight Holly Holm.
Preparing for Holly Holm
If you want to know how she’s preparing for the Holly Holm fight, here is a video released a couple of days ago which shows the dedication and attention to detail it takes to be the UFC’s Womens Bantamweight Champion. Actually, it just shows Rousey’s little-known obsession for Pokemon. For all the old folks out there, you have to remember she’s a millennial.
It’s a cute video. I’ll post fight videos when I get good copies of them. MMA and boxing tend to be somewhat proprietary about their fight videos, since it’s a pay-per-view world. Even though UFC is a heck of a lot better about it than HBO, Showtime, and the boxing promoters, it’s still not easy to get raw video of the fights, which is what I prefer.
Ronda Rousey Fights
- W – Ediene Gomes – King of the Cage: Turning Point: 03/27/2011 – 0:25 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Charmaine Tweet – School of Hard Knocks: 06/17/2011 – 0:49 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Sarah D’Alelio – Strikeforce Challengers: 08/12/2011 – 0:25 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Julia Budd – Strikeforce: 11/18/2011 – 0:39 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Miesha Tate – Strikeforce: Tate vs. Rousey: 03/03/2012 – 4:27 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Sarah Kaufman – Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman: 08/18/2012 – 0:51 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Liz Carmouche – UFC 157: Rousey vs Carmouche: 02/23/2013 – 4:49 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Miesha Tate – UFC 168: 12/28/2013 – 0:58 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Sara McMann – UFC 170: Rousey vs McMann: 02/22/2014 – 1:06 (TKO)
- W – Alexis Davis – UFC 175: Weidman vs Machida: 07/05/2014 – 0:16 (TKO: Referee Stoppage: Strikes)
- W – Cat Zingano – UFC 184: Rousey vs. Zingano: 02/28/2015 – 0:14 (Submission Arm Bar)
- W – Bethe Correia – UFC 190: Rousey vs Correira: 08/01/2015 – 0:34 (KO Strike)
- TBD – Holly Holm – UFC 193: Rousey vs Holm: 11/14/2015 – ???
That completes the profile of Ronda Rousey for now. I expect this page is going to grow and grow over the next few years. I’ll post YouTube Videos, news updates, fight records and other MMA goodness as time passes. And maybe along the way, I can help you win a few daily fantasy MMA contests on DraftKings.