After a meteoric rise in 2014, the popularity of Ronda Rousey shows no signs of slowing down. The first three months of 2015 have resulted in her making an ever deeper impact in popular culture.
Appearing in the iconic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, Rousey showed a soft yet sexy side. One photo was stunning yet tasteful, as she was shown lying down topless with a side view of her breast, certainly making hearts pound. Working with iconic photographer Walter Iooss, Jr., she was one of two female athletes featured in the 2015 edition. Joined by Caroline Wozniacki (also photographed by Iooss), both were worthy of consideration for the cover.
Despite the release of the sensational swimsuit photos, Rousey was not showing her soft side in UFC circles. Following the release of the Swimsuit Issue, she was scheduled to fight Cat Zingano at UFC 184 on February 28.
Any speculation that the publicity over said issue may have altered her focus was poorly perceived. It only took her an astounding 14 seconds to defeat Zingano, the fastest time in UFC championship history. With her next match scheduled for UFC 190 on August 1 against Beth Correia, one cannot help but feel that Correia is nothing more than a sacrificial lamb in Rousey’s championship dominance.
Her in-ring success only complemented the momentum as a pop culture icon. March 2015 saw Rousey’s star shine in two unique very popular entertainment genres. Portraying the role of Kara in The Fast and Furious 7, her acting career is white hot. As the film (released in March) set box office records for the franchise, Rousey may quickly be considered among Hollywood power players as a bankable film star.
Before the month would expire, Rousey would also make an appearance in the squared circle of World Wrestling Entertainment. With a front row seat at Wrestle Mania 31, the annual signature event in sports-entertainment, Rousey would steal the show.
Wrestling icon and film star, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was in the ring engaging in a verbal battle with third-generation wrestling promoter Stephanie McMahon. Stating that he would not hit a woman after she ordered him out of the ring, The Rock summoned Rousey to come into the ring.
Entering to an approving roar of applause, Rousey hiptossed Triple H, also McMahon’s husband, out of the ring. She would attempt to place McMahon into her trademark armbar but she quickly escaped out of the ring. Specualtion is now running rampant that Rousey and The Rock shall headline Wrestle Mania 32 in an intergender tag team match with McMahon and Triple H. Considering that WWE has always enjoyed the use of celebrities in its Wrestle Mania events (past matches included Lawrence Taylor and Snooki from MTV fame), there is no question that Rousey would generate remarkable interest. For the next nine months, such an interest in all things related to Rousey is bound to only increase.