Ronda Jean Rousey (; born February 1, 1987) is an American mixed martial artist, judoka, and actress.
Rousey was the first American woman to earn an Olympic medal in judo (bronze), which she won at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She is the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion, as well as the last Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion. She won 12 consecutive MMA fights, six in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), before suffering her first loss, to Holly Holm in November 2015. She won 11 of those fights in the first round, nine of them by armbar submission. Rousey trains under Gokor Chivichyan of the Hayastan MMA Academy, and Edmond Tarverdyan of the Glendale Fighting Club.
In May 2015, two magazines ranked Rousey as the most "dominant" active athlete. In September 2015, voters in an online ESPN poll selected Rousey as the Best Female Athlete Ever. Later that month, she claimed to be the UFC's highest paid fighter, male or female. In 2015, she was the third most searched person on Google. As of January 2017, Rousey is ranked the #4 female bantamweight fighter in the world according to the UFC, and #9 by Sherdog.
Rousey's first feature film role was the 2014 film The Expendables 3. In 2015, she had roles in the films Furious 7 and Entourage.
Rousey was born in Riverside, California, the youngest of three daughters of AnnMaria De Mars (née Waddell) and Ron Rousey, for whom Rousey was named. Her mother, a decorated judoka, was the first American to win a World Judo Championship (in 1984). Her maternal grandfather was Venezuelan and was of part Afro-Venezuelan ancestry; her maternal great-grandfather was Dr. Alfred E Waddell, a Trinidadian who emigrated to Canada and became one of the first black physicians in North America. Her other roots are English and Polish. Her stepfather is an aerospace engineer. Her biological father, after breaking his back sledding with his daughters and learning that he would be a paraplegic, committed suicide in 1995, when Rousey was eight. AnnMaria pursued a Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of California, Riverside as her daughters grew up.
For the first six years of her life, Rousey struggled with speech and could not form an intelligible sentence due to apraxia, a neurological childhood speech sound disorder. This speech disorder was attributed to being born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. When Rousey was three years old, her mother and father moved from Riverside, California, to Jamestown, North Dakota, to obtain intensive speech therapy with specialists at Minot State University.
Rousey dropped out of high school and later earned a G.E.D. She was raised between Southern California and Jamestown, North Dakota, retiring from her judo career at 21 and starting her MMA career at 22 when she realized that she did not want to spend her life in a conventional field of work.
Rousey began judo with her mother at the age of 11. Rousey trained with her mother until she was 13 after accidentally breaking her mother's wrist. At 17, Rousey qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, becoming the youngest judoka in the entire Games. Also in 2004, Rousey won a gold medal at the World Junior Judo Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
In April 2006, she became the first female U.S. judoka in nearly 10 years to win an A-Level tournament as she went 5-0 to claim gold at the Birmingham World Cup in Great Britain. Later that year, the 19-year-old won the bronze medal at the Junior World Championships, becoming the first U.S. athlete ever to win two Junior World medals.
In February 2007, Rousey moved up to 70 kg where she ranked as one of the top three women in the world. She won the silver medal at the 2007 World Judo Championships in the middleweight division and the gold medal at the 2007 Pan American Games.
In August 2008, Rousey competed at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. She lost her quarterfinal to the Dutch ex-world champion Edith Bosch but qualified for a Bronze medal match through the repechage bracket. Rousey defeated Annett Boehm by Yuko to win a bronze medal (note: judo offers two bronze medals per weight class). With the victory, Rousey became the first American to win an Olympic medal in women's judo since its inception as an Olympic sport in 1992.
Rousey retired from judo at 21 after the Olympics. After winning her Olympic medal, Rousey shared a studio apartment with a roommate in Venice Beach, California and worked three jobs as a bartender and cocktail waitress to support herself and her dog.
When Ronda started learning judo, her mom took her to judo clubs run by her old teammates. Ronda went to Hayastan MMA Academy run by Gokor Chivichyan, where she trained with fellow future MMA fighters Manny Gamburyan and Karo Parisyan. According to Rousey, Hayastan practiced "a more brawling style of judo versus the more technical Japanese style." Rousey trained mostly with males bigger than her and often got frustrated and cried when she got thrown and couldn't throw somebody. "Probably from 2002 to 2005 I cried every single night of training," Rousey remarked.
Rousey trained closely with Gamburyan. After tearing up her knee when she was 16, Gamburyan volunteered to open the gym every afternoon and work with her personally. Back in 2004, her teammates thought Rousey "would kill these girls" in MMA, but also thought she was "too pretty to get hit in the face" and should keep doing judo. While Gamburyan and Parisyan went into MMA, Rousey stuck with judo but remained in touch with MMA through them. The first MMA fight she took an interest in watching was Manny Gamburyan versus Nate Diaz in The Ultimate Fighter finale. Rousey stated she never got as excited watching judo or any other sport. After the 2008 Olympics the following year, she decided to start MMA through Team Hayastan.
Rousey also trains at the Glendale Fighting Club, which she was introduced to through Gamburyan and other Hayastan teammates. She started training under her current coach Edmond Tarverdyan at GFC. Tarverdyan is a former WBC Muay Thai National Champion.
She trained in Jiu Jitsu at Dynamix MMA with Henry Akins from 2011 to 2014 and has since trained with Ryron Graice and Rener Gracie of Gracie Academy, as well as BJ Penn of Art of Jiu Jitsu.
Rousey made her mixed martial arts debut as an amateur on August 6, 2010. She defeated Hayden Munoz by submission due to an armbar in 23 seconds.
She entered the quarterfinals of the Tuff-N-Uff 145 lbs women's tournament on November 12, 2010, and submitted promotional veteran Autumn Richardson with an armbar in 57 seconds.
Rousey faced Taylor Stratford in the Tuff-N-Uff tournament semi-finals on January 7, 2011, and won by technical submission due to an armbar in 24 seconds. She then announced plans to turn pro and was replaced in the tournament. Rousey has a perfect 3-0 record in amateur MMA competition, and the combined duration of all her amateur fights is under 2 minutes.
Rousey made her professional mixed martial arts debut on March 27, 2011, at King of the Cage: Turning Point. She submitted Ediane Gomes with an armbar in 25 seconds.
Rousey faced kickboxing champion Charmaine Tweet in an MMA bout at Hard Knocks Fighting Championship: School of Hard Knocks 12 on June 17, 2011, in Calgary, Canada. She submitted Tweet with an armbar in 49 seconds.
Rousey was scheduled to make her Strikeforce debut against Sarah D'Alelio on July 30, 2011, at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The fight was pushed back and eventually took place on the Strikeforce Challengers 18 main card on August 12, 2011, in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rousey defeated D'Alelio by technical submission due to an armbar early in the first round. The victory was controversial. Rousey claimed that D'Alelio yelled "tap" more than once and that D'Alelio denied this and claimed to have yelled "AAAAHHH". According to the unified rules of mixed martial arts, either one of these utterances would still be a verbal submission.
Rousey faced Julia Budd at Strikeforce Challengers 20 on November 18, 2011, in Las Vegas. She won via submission due to an armbar in the first round, dislocating Budd's elbow in the process. Following the fight, she announced plans to move down to 135 pounds to challenge Miesha Tate, the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion at the time, with whom she had developed a much-publicized rivalry.
During his appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast 690, Rousey's trainer Edmund Tarverdyan said that Rousey started her MMA career in the 145lb division because she had to be able to make weight at short notice, due to the difficulty of finding willing opponents.
Rousey challenged Tate for her Strikeforce title on March 3, 2012, in Columbus, Ohio. She defeated Tate by submission due to an armbar in the first round, again dislocating her opponent's elbow, to become the new Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Champion.
Rousey appeared in All Access: Ronda Rousey on Showtime. The half-hour special debuted on August 8, 2012. UFC President Dana White revealed during the program that "In the next 10 years, if there's a woman in the octagon, it's probably going to be Ronda Rousey." The second installment of the special aired on August 15, 2012. Rousey also appeared on Conan.
Rousey defended her Strikeforce title against Sarah Kaufman at Strikeforce: Rousey vs. Kaufman on August 18, 2012, in San Diego, California. Rousey said that she would throw Kaufman's arm at her corner after ripping it off with an armbar, and threatened to choke or pound Kaufman's face to death. During the fight, Rousey would quickly take down Kaufman and submit her with an armbar in just 54 seconds to retain the Strikeforce Women's Bantamweight Championship. After the fight, Rousey announced that if former Strikeforce Women's Featherweight Champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos wanted to fight her, it would have to take place at bantamweight.
In November 2012, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that Rousey had become the first female fighter to sign with the UFC. UFC President Dana White officially announced at the UFC on Fox: Henderson vs. Diaz pre-fight press conference that Rousey was the first UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion.
Rousey originally opposed using the nickname her friends gave her, "Rowdy", feeling it would be disrespectful to professional wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. After meeting Piper (circa 2012 or 2013) through Gene LeBell, who helped train both of them, Piper personally gave his approval.
Rousey defended her title against Liz Carmouche on February 23, 2013, at UFC 157. Despite being caught in an early standing neck crank attempt from Carmouche, Rousey got out of it and successfully defended her Bantamweight Championship title, winning the fight at 4:49 into the first round by submission due to an armbar. Carmouche dislocated Ronda Rousey's jaw during the fight.
After Cat Zingano defeated Miesha Tate at The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen Finale, Dana White announced that Zingano would be a coach of The Ultimate Fighter 18 against Rousey. On May 28, it was announced that Zingano would not be a coach and opponent for Rousey after Zingano suffered a knee injury earlier that same month which would require surgery; therefore, Miesha Tate instead would coach on The Ultimate Fighter 18 against Rousey.
Rousey faced Miesha Tate, in a rematch from Strikeforce, at UFC 168 on December 28, 2013. After going past the first two rounds, with Tate surviving an armbar attempt and a triangle attempt, Rousey finally submitted Tate via armbar in the third round to retain her Bantamweight Championship. In an interview with Los Angeles Daily News, Rousey said she had lost muscle during her film commitments and not been able to regain her full strength for the Tate fight.
It was announced at the UFC 168 post-fight press conference that Rousey would defend the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship against fellow Olympic medalist and undefeated fighter, Sara McMann in the main event at UFC 170 on February 22, 2014. Rousey won the fight by TKO after knocking down McMann with a knee to the body in just over a minute into the first round. This marked Rousey's first career win via a method other than armbar. The stoppage led to controversy, with some sports writers and attendants finding it premature.
In 2014, Rousey was named one of espnW's Impact 25.
On April 11, 2014, it was announced that Rousey would defend the UFC Women's Bantamweight Championship against Alexis Davis in the co-main event at UFC 175 on July 5, 2014. She won the fight via knockout just 16 seconds into the first round. Rousey broke her thumb during the fight. The emphatic win also earned Rousey her second Performance of the Night bonus award.
A match between Rousey and Cat Zingano was scheduled to take place at UFC 182 for the women's bantamweight title. However, the fight was moved to February 28, 2015, at UFC 184. Rousey defeated Zingano with an armbar in 14 seconds, the shortest match in UFC championship history.
Rousey fought Bethe Correia on August 1, 2015, in Brazil, at UFC 190, winning the bout by knockout 34 seconds into the first round. Rousey dedicated the match to "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, who died the day before, commenting that Piper was one of her inspirations and had endorsed her use of his nickname.
The completion of this bout marked Rousey's sixth official with the UFC, all of which had been victories. She spent 1077 seconds in the octagon to attain all six and accumulated $1,080,000 in prize money; this equated to nearly $1002.79 for every second spent fighting. Her average time of 2 minutes and 59 seconds was less than the average time of a single match in every UFC weight class, the fastest of which was the Heavyweight division with a time of 7 minutes and 59 seconds.
In her seventh title defense, Rousey faced Holly Holm in the main event at UFC 193 on November 15, 2015. Despite being a heavy betting favorite, Rousey was unable to get Holm to the ground and had no answer for Holm's superior striking. Early in the second round, Holm knocked Rousey out with a high kick to the neck, ending Rousey's three-year reign as champion. It was also her first loss. After the fight, Rousey and Holm were each awarded a Fight of the Night bonus of $50,000. She was also medically suspended by UFC on November 18, 2015, which included a no-contact suspension for 45-days, and no fights for 60-days, and would have to depend on CT scan results to have the suspension reduced. She was medically cleared on December 9, 2015.
After over a year away from the sport, Rousey returned to face current champion Amanda Nunes on December 30, 2016, in the main event at UFC 207. She lost the fight via TKO due to punches at just 48 seconds into the first round. Rousey had no answer to Nunes’ straight and overhand shots. Sports columnist Martin Rogers wrote, "Even with all that time to recuperate and prepare, Rousey did not learn an effective jab, the first and most basic tenet of boxing, one of MMA’s core disciplines."
Rousey has challenged the notion of MMA being anti-woman. She argued, "There are so many ridiculous arguments that MMA is somehow anti-woman. Fighting is not a man's thing, it is a human thing. To say that it is anti-woman is an anti-feminist statement." Some journalists have characterized Rousey as a feminist, while others have described her as "antifeminist".
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Rousey is a professional wrestling fan. Her nickname, "Rowdy", was taken from late professional wrestler Rowdy Roddy Piper, whom she asked for permission. She, Shayna Baszler, Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir have dubbed themselves "The Four Horsewomen," a play on The Four Horsemen professional wrestling stable, with the blessing of leader Ric Flair and enforcer Arn Anderson.
The Four Horsewomen were acknowledged on camera and commentary as such, in the front row at WWE's SummerSlam in August 2014. They also went backstage for that event, meeting Paul Heyman, among others. Rousey was interviewed by WWE.com that night; when asked if she, like Brock Lesnar, would cross over to wrestling, she replied "You never know."
At WrestleMania 31 in March 2015, they were seated in the front row. During an in-ring argument between The Rock and the Authority (Stephanie McMahon and Triple H), McMahon slapped the Rock and ordered him to leave "her ring". She taunted him, saying he would not hit a woman. He left, paused and walked over to Rousey to a loud ovation. He then helped her into the ring, and said that she would be happy to hit McMahon for him. After a few minutes of a staredown and more dialogue, the Rock attacked Triple H. When he stumbled toward Rousey, she hiptossed him out of the ring. McMahon tried to slap her, was blocked and Rousey grabbed her arm, teasing an armbar, before throwing her out of the ring. Rousey and the Rock celebrated in the ring, while the Authority retreated with the implication of revenge. The segment was replayed and discussed throughout the next night's Raw. Commentators hyped a tweet Rousey made earlier that day, in which she implied a return to WWE with "We're just gettin' started...".
On July 13, July 14, and September 12, 2017, the Horsewomen appeared in the audience of the Mae Young Classic to support their fellow Horsewoman Shayna Baszler, who was participating in the tournament in her WWE debut and went on to defeat Zeda, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae, and Mercedes Martinez, before losing in the finals against Kairi Sane. Additionally during the event, all four Horsewomen had a face-off with Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and Bayley, who, in WWE together with Sasha Banks, are also known as the Four Horsewomen, hinting at a possible future feud between the two groups.
In a 2012 interview before her first match with Miesha Tate, Ronda Rousey said "When I was doing judo my main advantage was my conditioning and my pace; I used to wear people out." She had taken to heart a quote from Ryoko Tani to fight every five seconds as if it was the last five seconds of the match.
A decorated judoka, Rousey typically grounds an opponent with hip throws and sweeps, then seeks to finish with strikes or submissions. From top position, she usually attacks with punches from side control; in rear position, she often secures a back mount and attacks with head strikes. Rousey is right-handed, but is a left-handed judoka fighting in an orthodox stance as a striker.
Rousey's favorite MMA fighter is Fedor Emelianenko, whose fighting style she works to emulate.
Rousey is well known for her skill in grappling, and is particularly noted for her string of victories by armbar. Against accomplished strikers, such as Julia Budd and Sarah Kaufman, Rousey has typically brought the fight down and sought a quick submission. Only powerful grapplers, such as Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche, have been competitive with Rousey on the ground.
During early fights in her MMA career, Rousey mainly used striking to set up judo. She became a more proficient striker following her UFC debut, leading to her first wins by way of stoppage. While standing, Rousey normally uses jabs, knees, and overhand rights. She also seldom stands side on with a set boxing stance, but rather squaring up to the opponent, but still generate great striking power, especially when they are near the fence, or clinching opponents with the left hand to close the distance, while pummeling opponents with strikes, much akin to a muay thai fighter launching kickers from the clinch.
While discussing her signature armbar in an interview, Rousey noted that her judoka mother jumped on her every morning to wake her up with armbars.
Rousey is notable for introducing trash talking to Women's MMA. In many interviews Rousey has used harsh language and openly downplayed the abilities of her opponents, which she explains as a way to generate more publicity for the sport.
Rousey appeared nude on the cover of ESPN The Magazine's 2012 Body Issue and in a pictorial therein. Touching upon the strategic cropping, poses, and arm placement used in the photos to make them less revealing, Rousey explained: "With all these ring girls and their vaginas – all of this goes back to advice my mom gave me. She gave me this one piece of advice, which I still hold dear. She said, 'Look, whatever pictures you put out there are gonna be out there forever, so just think that one day your 12 or 13-year-old son or daughter is going to see those pictures. Whatever you want your son or daughter, or even your 13-year-old little sister to see, keep that in mind.' So, whatever I’m not gonna show on a beach, I'm not gonna show in a magazine. These girls are going to have to explain to their kids one day why mommy's ass and vagina are all over the place." Her rival Miesha Tate criticized Rousey's comments as "hypocritical", arguing that Rousey's comments about ring girls constituted a double standard.
In May 2013, Rousey was ranked 29 on the Maxim Hot 100. She also appeared on the cover and in a pictorial of the September 2013 issue. During her Maxim interview she stated that she is unbelievably ticklish and goes ninja when people try to tickle her. Also, sharing that she used to be pinned down, tickled by friends and siblings when she was younger. Previously, while on Conan O'Brien, showing off her ESPN cover and going over MMA rules, being playful, she mentioned her weakness, that she is extremely ticklish.
Rousey co-starred in The Expendables 3 (2014), marking her first role in a major motion picture. In 2015, she appeared in the film Furious 7, and played herself in the film Entourage.
In 2015, Rousey became the first woman featured on the cover of Australian Men's Fitness, appearing on their November edition.
In October 2015, Rousey became the first female athlete to guest host ESPN's SportsCenter.
Rousey was on the cover of the January 2016 issue for The Ring magazine. She became the first mixed martial artist to ever appear on the cover of the boxing magazine and the second woman as well, after Cathy Davis in 1978. In February 2016 she appeared in body paint as one of three cover athletes on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Rousey has had a range of commercial partnerships, including mobile network operator MetroPCS, insurance agency Insureon, Reebok, and Carl's Jr.
Rousey hosted the January 23, 2016, episode of the late night variety show Saturday Night Live, with musical guest Selena Gomez.
Rousey appeared in the Season 2, Episode 20 episode of Blindspot playing the role of Devon Penberthy, a prison inmate serving time for transporting weapons across state lines.
A number of starring film roles have been developed for Rousey, including an adaptation of her autobiography My Fight/Your Fight at Paramount, The Athena Project at Warner Bros., the Peter Berg-directed action film Mile 22, and a remake of the 1989 Patrick Swayze action drama Road House. Road House will mark her biggest acting job to date. According to Variety, Rousey reached out to Swayze's widow, Lisa Niemi, to ask for her blessing, which Niemi gave.
As of 2017, Rousey lives in Venice, California.
Rousey was a vegan after Beijing 2008, but in 2012 described her current diet as "kind of a mix between a Paleo and a Warrior diet", trying to eat everything organic.
Rousey has discussed how she dealt with body image in the past and her struggle with it. She explained, "When I was in school, martial arts made you a dork, and I became self-conscious that I was too masculine. I was a 16-year-old girl with ringworm and cauliflower ears. People made fun of my arms and called me 'Miss Man'. It wasn't until I got older that I realized: these people are idiots. I'm fabulous."
Rousey is an avid fan of Dragon Ball Z and Pokémon. Her favorite Pokémon is Mew and she had a childhood crush on Vegeta. Christopher Sabat, the English voice actor of Vegeta, jokingly replied in an interview, "She has seen my power level for what it is… She also scares me." She also plays World of Warcraft, primarily as a night elf hunter.
In 2015, she raised money for the Black Jaguar White Tiger Foundation, whose goal is to save big cats from circuses and zoos and provide them with the best lifestyle, by auctioning signed T-shirts.
In April 2015, Rousey visited Yerevan, Armenia for the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. While in Yerevan, she visited the Tsitsernakaberd Armenian Genocide memorial.
Rousey endorsed Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign in the 2016 United States presidential election.
In February 2016, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres Rousey admitted that suicidal thoughts went through her mind in the aftermath of her knockout loss to Holly Holm in November 2015.
Rousey once dated fellow UFC fighter Brendan Schaub. In August 2015, Rousey was rumored to be in a relationship with UFC fighter Travis Browne, who knocked out Schaub in a bout the previous year, after a picture of the two together appeared on Twitter and Browne's estranged wife Jenna Renee Webb accused the two of seeing one another. Browne was at the time still married and under investigation by the UFC after Webb publicly accused him of domestic violence back in July. Browne confirmed he and Rousey were together in October 2015. The next day, Rousey announced publicly that she was dating Browne. On April 20, 2017, Rousey and Browne announced their engagement. Browne proposed to Rousey under a waterfall in New Zealand. The two were married on August 28, 2017 in Browne's home state of Hawaii.
In her autobiography, My Fight, Your Fight, Rousey revealed she assaulted an ex-boyfriend she dubbed "Snappers McCreepy", two weeks before her first fight with Miesha Tate, after Rousey discovered that he had taken nude photos of her without her consent or knowledge. Rousey wrote, "I slapped him across the face so hard my hand hurt." The ex-boyfriend didn't respond physically, but he blocked the door and refused to move when Rousey tried to leave. Rousey goes on to write that the ex-boyfriend jumped in her car and, when he refused to exit, she proceeded to beat him further. Although Rousey deleted the photos and erased his hard drive, fear that the pictures may still be out there influenced her to pose for ESPN's Body Issue, so that nude pictures of her would be seen on her own terms.