Former UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will be inducted into the promotion’s Hall of Fame this weekend as part of the International Fight Week festivities. Her accomplishments in the sport are more than deserving of accolades, especially this one.
Several years back (in October, it will be a full 10 years), I interviewed Dana White, who uttered the infamous words, “Women will never fight in the UFC,” and while women continued fighting in regional promotions around the globe, those fights were conspicuously absent from the UFC. Fast forward a little over four years later, and guess what? Ronda was fighting in the very first women’s UFC bout, and from there, she rocketed out of the stratosphere.
Rousey not only ushered in an era that allowed women’s MMA to flourish on a mainstream level, she became a real box-office draw and did a constant stream of press tours at a pace few could match, all while still training and competing at the highest level.
The 31-year-old California native would go on to defend her title six times before finally being unseated in 2015 by Holly Holm, a streak that no woman on the company roster has been able to match, let alone beat. She would fight her final MMA bout a year later, losing to the current champion, Amanda Nunes, and has since moved on to the greener pastures of the WWE, where she is blossoming into a fine pro-wrestler. Perhaps she’ll end up in the HOF there, too, but this weekend, she’ll be reveling in the award ceremonies of the sport that helped her achieve superstar status.
Bloody Elbow’s Chris Rini is well-known for his marvelous wood engravings of fighters and their bouts. He’s crafted a stellar work celebrating Rousey’s 2015 contest with Alexis Davis, featuring an astounding 250 wood engravings in total. This is the video animation of his incredible ode to Ronda, Gone In 16 Seconds.