Former mixed martial arts (MMA) champion Ronda Rousey has signed a contract with the World Wrestling Entertainment and will perform for the company as a full-time professional wrestler.
Confirming the long time rumor of her shift from MMA to professional wrestling, Rousey made a surprise appearance at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view Sunday night in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to mark the beginning of her WWE career.
The former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) women’s bantamweight title holder stole the show at the end of the first ever women’s Royal Rumble match. After Japanese star Asuka was declared victorious in the match, WWE champions Alexa Bliss and Charlotte Flair started to celebrate with the new champion.
However, fans at the arena were stunned when the sound system suddenly blared Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation,” and Rousey’s name appeared on the giant screens surrounding the ring. Shortly after that, the popular fighter appeared, to the surprise and delight of many fans.
Rousey then stepped into the ring and shook Stephanie McMahon’s hand, officially beginning her days as a WWE superstar.
The 29-year old athlete, who is a wrestling fan, was overwhelmed with excitement and happiness after the show that she couldn’t find words to describe how she feels. “I don’t have words at all,” Rousey said. “This is the most overstimulated I’ve ever been in my life. I’m just, like I’m still processing it.”
Rousey rose to popularity in the world of mixed martial arts. She won her three amateur MMA fights in less than a minute and fought to convincing victories on her first 12 professional fights, which led to her being crowned the Strikeforce and UFC women’s bantamweight champion. During her UFC career, she finished five of her first six fights in just the first round.
In 2015, Rousey lost for the first time in her career to Holly Holm. She then lost to Amanda Nunes in 2016, before stepping away from the competition.