Ronda Rousey Swaps Octagon For Ring, Joins WWE As Full-Time Wrestler

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UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey made a surprise appearance Jan. 28 at the WWE Royal Rumble pay-per-view, after the first women's match concluded.

Rousey's dramatic entrance came at just the right time, capping off Asuka's win at the women's Royal Rumble match. Flanked by WWE women's champions Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss, she made her appearance with "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett blaring in the background.

The MMA star looks comfortable in the ring but she admitted to still processing the experience.

"I'm so happy and I don't have words for it," she said, adding joinging WWE is not a publicity stunt.

Before WWE

After bagging a bronze for Judo at the 2008 Olympic Games, Rousey went on to win all of her three amateur fights in MMA in under a minute. It wasn't much of a different picture either when she started fighting professionally, with her first 12 matches mostly one-sided. After Strikeforce, she joined the UFC, where she won five out of the first six fights she was scheduled in. Out of those five, four lasted a minute and six seconds or less.

With her string of wins, Rousey quickly became the face of MMA. She was highly recognizable within the Octagon but she also appeared in TV shows, movies, and magazines.

Rousey bid MMA goodbye when she was 29 years old, after losing her last two fights: in 2015 to Holly Holm and in 2016 to Amanda Nunes.

Still, UFC president Dana White credits her as the only reason female weight classes were opened in the UFC. When Rousey started, the women's league only had the bantamweight division. Today, the UFC has four women's divisions.

WWE Appearances

Over the years, Rousey has appeared in WWE events, a possible hint at the move she most recently made. Her first appearance was in 2015 at WrestleMania 31, where The Rock pulled her into the ring and she took on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.

Rousey also taped a promotional video for Mae Young Classic, the WWE's inaugural all-women's tournament back in July 2017, and was part of the audience in September as she supported Baszler, also an MMA veteran.

Even if Rousey didn't join the WWE officially, however, professional wrestling will always be a part of her, what with her nickname "Rowdy" being inherited from legendary wrestler Roddy Piper. She dedicated her last win to him.

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