Ronda Rousey’s days in the UFC may be over, but the days of the ‘Rousey Generation’ are just starting.
20 year old prospect Kay Hansen made her promotional debut on Saturday night at UFC on ESPN 12, taking on former Invicta atomweight champion Jinh Yu Frey. And while Frey didn’t go down easy and took the first round on the judges’ scorecards, Hansen kept her cool and made adjustments, landing a slick over the back armbar to win at 2:26 of the third round (watch the finish here).
Before switching to mixed martial arts, Hansen had planned on riding her softball skills to a series of college and university scholarships. But once she saw Ronda Rousey break down the gender barrier and bring women into the UFC, she switched over to combat sports. So it must be pretty neat after her first win to get a shoutout from the “Rowdy” one herself on Twitter.
Congratulations looking forward to seeing more from you! Nice armbar https://t.co/or5nwIgNgr— Ronda Rousey (@RondaRousey) June 27, 2020
As for why Rousey attached her comment to a Hansen tweet from 2019? That’s the tweet Kay had pinned to the top of her account. Here’s her social media message following Saturday’s win:
No words. I’m incredibly thankful for my whole support system and this opportunity. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. pic.twitter.com/HzpkXB651j— Kay Hansen (@KayHansenMMA) June 28, 2020
And her reaction when she found out she was getting a $50k performance bonus:
It’s no surprise that Rousey was impressed, Hansen clearly took a page out of Ronda’s book working judo throws to armbar transitions.
“So I went for that little uchi mata takedown with the overhook, and I realized I wasn’t going to get the takedown,” Hansen said at the post-event press conference. “She knew I wanted to take her down, so I figured might as well throw a hail mary armbar. So I just decided right then to step over. And then for a second she kind of came up, so I switched to that triangle. But ultimately it was the armbar that got the tap.”
As for Rousey’s supportive tweet?
“That’s awesome,” Hansen said. “Veterans supporting young guns? It’s all a cycle, and there’s going to be little girls under me one day and I think it’s great that we support each other in that way.”
“I’d never really heard a woman speak so commanding, if that makes sense?” she said when asked how Ronda inspired her to fight. “Growing up I had a lot of women in my life and I saw a lot of women on TV, but she was kind of like what other women weren’t. And I was like ‘Oh, you don’t have to be that cookie cutter mold of a women.’ So when I saw it I was like ‘Ding!’”
“It’s funny, I’ve told this story so many times, but I used to go to UFC Fight Nights with my family and I hated it, when I was 7 and 8 I was like ‘This is so dumb, fighting is so dumb.’ And then I saw Ronda when I was 15, I was like ‘Oh, girls can do this too!’ And something about it just stuck with me and here I am now.”
At 20 years old, Hansen is the youngest fighter in the UFC womens’ divisions and now holds a record as the youngest woman to earn a win in the UFC. A pretty good start. She’s nowhere close to smashing any of her fighting hero’s records, but she’s got a lot of time and potential so we’ll see what’s what moving forward.