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UFC Legacies: Ronda Rousey

How Ronda Rousey went from nearly dying at birth to an Olympic, UFC, and WWE champion

Most of us know Ronda Rousey as an explosive and formidable figure in the world of fighting. But many people do not know that she was nearly strangled by her own umbilical cord and because of that, she was unable to speak properly until she was 6 years old.

To help her cope with her frustration with life, her parents encouraged her to take up the sport of Judo. This new habit changed her life.

Here is the career of Ronda Rousey so far.

The Olympic Years

Ronda Rousey began Judo at 11 and trained with her mother for 2 years until she accidentally broke her mother’s wrist.

Rousey won her first gold medal in Judo at the Pan American Judo Championships (Isla Margarita, 2004). That year she also won the gold medal at the World Junior Judo Championships. In the same year, she was the youngest person in the world to qualify for the Athens Olympics in Judo. She was knocked out in the first round by the woman who went on to win the Silver Medal.

In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Rousey qualified again and won a bronze medal. She retired from Judo at the age of 22 and moved over to the sport of MMA.

The UFC Years

When she was training for Judo, Rousey trained at an MMA academy with future MMA fighters Manny Gamburyan and Karo Parisyan. Rousey claimed the pair bullied her but spurred her on to become a better fighter. It was while watching Gamburyan fight that she realized she needed to leave Judo for MMA.

When Rousey started fighting she dominated the field. None of her first 5 matches lasted longer than 60 seconds.

She joined Strikeforce with a 5-0 record, she won her first two fights in the 145 lb division before dropping down to the 135 lb division. Rousey stated her main reason behind changing weight groups was to challenge M Tate for the Strikeforce Women’s Bantamweight Championship.

Rousey and Tate did fight in 2012 and Rousey defeated her in the first round. She later defended her title by defeating a new challenger in 54 seconds. Rousey quickly became a favorite of those who took part in UFC betting, because of his dynamic fighting style.

It was after this fight that Rousey signed to the UFC. She was the first woman to be signed by the company. Her first match was against Liz Carmouche at UFC 15 on February 23, 2013. Rousey successfully defended her Bantamweight Championship title but had her jaw dislocated in the process.

Rousey successfully defended her title 6 times. After this final match, she had spent less than 1100 seconds in the octagon while fighting for the UFC.

During her 7th attempt to defend her title she was knocked out and withdrew from the public eye for around a year. She said that this was a really dark time for her, especially as the media had turned on her after the fight.

She returned to the UFC once more to fight Amanda Nunes in 2015. Rousey lost the fight and hasn’t taken part in an MMA match since. 

The WWE Years

Rousey has always been open about her love for professional wrestling and even dedicated one of her fights to the recently deceased “Rowdy” Roddy Piper – with whom she had shared a trainer and she had even met him a few times.

Between 2014-2017, Rousey was seen at a few WWE events. Fans believed that Rousey would soon be joining the franchise. She joined The Rock in the ring during one of these events. Many believe it took her so long to join the company because of her contract with the UFC.

Rousey joined the WWE officially in 2018. Both critics and fans fell in love with her quickly. Later that year she became Raw Women’s Champion by challenging Nia Jax. Rousey held her title for 231 days. Rousey welcomed her first child in 2021 and has stated that she will only return to the WWE part-time so that she can spend more time with her family

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