Ronda Rousey has officially left UFC for WWE
The rumours were proved true last night when UFC legend Ronda Rousey showed up at WWE's Royal Rumble to establish herself as a new wrestler. The former bantamweight champ popped up at the Philadelphia event to promise an appearance in April's upcoming Wrestlemania, stealing the limelight from the first ever female-only Royal Rumble winner Asuka.
Rousey was on the wrong end of a rousing defeat in 2016 when Amanda Nunes landed a KO after just 48 seconds, and has been keeping a low profile ever since to lick her wounds and plan the next steps in her career. There had been speculation that she might turn to professional wrestling after an appearance at Wrestlemania in 2015 alongside The Rock, when the pair took on Triple H and Stephanie McMahon and beat them into the dust. Though moving into scripted fake-fighting might seem like an odd choice for the fighter, she's earned her stripes in her former career already having made an estimated £11m from UFC, £7.8m from purses and win bonuses and another £2.2 from endorsements. That's without mentioning her star turns in The Expendables and The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Ronda explained her decision in an interview after the Royal Rumble, where she said WWE has always been her dream ever since she was a child and she was inspired by Rowdy Roddy Piper. The name she uses when fighting is Rowdy Ronda Rousey, and Piper's son flew from Las Vegas to Philadelphia with his late father's leather jacket so she could wear it for her debut with the family's official approval. Rousey confirmed "This is my life now. First priority on my timeline for the next several years. This is not a smash-and-grab; this is not a publicity stunt. When I first met with Triple H, I told him, 'There are other things I can do with my time that'll make way more money, but I won't enjoy nearly as much.'"
Rousey believes women have been brushed aside in combat sports for too long but to see everyone give a standing ovation to the women's Rumble filled her with hope. Guess we'll have to tune in to WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans to see if she can put her game where her mouth is