By Jillian Bullock
Little did Ronda Rousey, who was born February 1, 1987 in Riverside County, California, ever imagine that one day she would be a mixed martial artist, let alone world champion. Fast forward 25 years and Rousey is just that – Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion.
Rousey got her start in MMA just a few years ago after she won a Bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics for Judo. Since then she has quickly made a name for herself as a serious and fierce competitor. In 2011, Rousey won many awards including, Female Rookie of the Year, Female Fighter of the Year, Female Featherweight of the Year, and Female Newcomer of the Year.
Part of the reason why Rousey has made such an impression with MMA fans and the media is due to her well-known ability for finishing opponents with her signature armbar. In fact, her first fight in MMA took place in August 2010 where she used an armbar submission to beat Hayden Munoz in 23 seconds. A few months later, at the Tuff-N-Uff 145 lbs women’s tournament, Rousey submitted veteran MMA fighter Autumn Richardson with an armbar in 57 seconds. When she turned pro on March 27, 2011 at King of the Cage: Turning Point, Rousey, yet again, won her match against Ediane Gomes via armbar in 25 seconds.
Since then Rousey has made a career of defeating other fighters in this fashion. She has submitted all of her opponents during her five professional fights using armbars. And in her usual style, Rousey executed a vicious armbar submission victory over Miesha Tate on Saturday, March 3, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio, to become capture the women’s 135-pound bantamweight title.
The Face of Women’s MMA
With Cris “Cyborg” Santos sidelined for a year after she tested positive for steroids, women’s MMA needs another dominate figure to carry the ball. All eyes are on Rousey. Although, UFC President Dana White still doesn’t endorse females fighting in MMA, UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta is actually in support.
“I’ve never been against it,” Fertitta said. “You know, me and Dana, although we always go on a common front, we don’t always agree on everything. The reality is, I’m a fan. I was captivated by the [Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate] fight, blown away by their athleticism and the way they promoted the fight, the whole thing. To me, it was very, very entertaining.”
Top notch females fighters like Rousey and Tate are proving they have what it takes – skill, presence, athleticism, and commercialism – to pave the way for women’s Mixed Martial Arts in the UFC. In fact, what makes Rousey a media darling is her gift of gab and her no sugarcoating, tell-it-like-it-is straight talk. She has often been compared to UFC fighter Chael Sonnen; both are called the Muhammad Alis of MMA, due to their wonderful ability to talk trash in such an entertaining way, and the fans love it.
Most MMA fighters focus entirely on training once they earn a championship belt, but not Rousey. She works two jobs, one as a veterinary assistant at California Animal Rehabilitation (CARE) and the other as a judo instructor at Dynamix MMA in Santa Monica.
Rousey, who trains under the direction of Team Hayastan in North Hollywood, doesn’t have her next fight scheduled yet, but she can be seen in the upcoming Naked Body issue of ESPN Magazine.
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