Without minimizing the accomplishments of trailblazers like Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg, there’s a very strong argument that Ronda Rousey was the single most important female fighter in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), as “Rowdy” was able to convince Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, to bring women’s cage fighting to the Octagon.
Something he once claimed he would never do.
But is Rousey the greatest female fighter of all time? The answer is not so easy. Despite racking up 12 straight wins (with 12 violent finishes), the former UFC women’s champion was handily defeated — in her prime — by fellow bantamweights Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, and said goodbye to combat sports before she could secure a fight with the aforementioned Cyborg.
Perhaps that’s why people are urging her to make a UFC comeback.
“There’s not a day that goes by people aren’t telling me to fight,” Rousey said (transcribed by MMA Fighting). “I have to try and think of it as, would I rather be the greatest of all time, or have everybody think I’m the greatest of all time? It used to be so important to me to have both. But now it’s got to the point where I don’t want to sacrifice myself and my family to prove that anymore to a bunch of people that don’t give a shit about me.”
Rousey has always had something of a contentious relationship with the media and appeared to lose some of her drive after getting married to former UFC heavyweight, Travis Browne. Unfortunately, the “dirty” and “horrible” MMA fanbase can be somewhat unforgiving and the UFC Hall-of-Famer, who won a bronze medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics, often struggled to keep her emotions at bay.
“It’s hard when everyone around you, the value they have for you is how you fight, and how they see you is how you fight, and the only thing they think you have to offer is how you fight,” Rousey explained. “It was actually my husband that taught me I’m so much more than just a fighter. I don’t have to fight myself into the ground to prove that I’m the greatest of all time when I already know that I am.”
After losing to Nunes at UFC 207 back in late 2016, Rousey walked away from cage fighting and never returned, but refuses to use the word “retired.” In the years since “Rowdy” departed, the part-time movie star made the transition to professional wrestling, though she is currently on hiatus from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
Rousey turns 33 early next week.