As the UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Ronda Rousey has not only risen to global superstar, but has emerged as the face of mixed martial arts. Landing on the cover of Sports Illustrated, the popular weekly dubbed her “the world’s most dominant athlete”
Receiving an outpouring of support on social media, it marked another remarkable milestone in her career. Of note, she became the first-ever female fighter from UFC to be featured on the cover. Roger Huerta was on the cover in 2007, but he was not the cover model as he was just in an action shot.
Rousey becomes the first female athlete in any sport this year to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. Earlier this year, Rousey was featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, working with photographer Walter Iooss, Jr.
Her appearance on said cover is akin to when wrestling superstar Hulk Hogan graced the cover in 1984. Hogan’s appearance signified the popular impact of professional wrestling, signifying a golden era to come. As such, Rousey creates the same impact, showing that UFC is here to stay, definitely a landmark moment in the history of Mixed Martial Arts.
Among the diverse number of topics discussed in the piece, including time spent with her dog, along with her status as a single person, Rousey speaks about how she felt guilty at first about defeating her friend, Cat Zingano in 14 seconds. A collage of frame-by-frame shots from the 14 second match adorn the top of one of the pages, re-telling the fastest match in UFC women’s bantamweight history.
Of note, Rousey received compensation of only $130,000 for the fight. In the article, she also mentioned how she tries to keep her fights short, reducing the wear and tear on her body, while hoping to benefit by extending her MMA career. Also showing some brashness, Rousey claims to have challenged adults to fights during her teenage years.
A future UFC Hall of Famer, Rousey’s next fight shall take place on August 1. Defending her title against the undefeated Bethe Correia, she is ranked seventh among bantamweights.