Ronda Rousey’s days in the octagon appear to be numbered. But it sounds like we haven’t seen the last of her in combat.
Rousey, the first and former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, is nearing a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment, according to USA Today.
Rousey hasn’t fought since a December 2016 loss to Amanda Nunes. The defeat was her second straight, following a stunning knockout loss courtesy of Holly Holm’s left foot in November 2015.
In victory, Holm was the first to expose any weakness in Rousey’s game. She brought crashing down an image of invincibility Rousey had crafted en route to a dominant 6-0 start on the UFC circuit that made her one of the biggest stars in sports.
Rousey hasn’t been the same since, at least in public. She was subdued and mostly absent from promotion leading up to the Nunes fight and has largely shunned the spotlight since. It’s been a stark contrast from the fighter who lived in the public eye during her run of dominance with star turns like her appearance in the “Entourage” movie.
Some laid blame on her downfall partially on her focus outside the training room.
While it largely had more to do with the evolution of the women’s fighting game catching up with its first star, Rousey doesn’t seem to stand much to gain from a return to the octagon.
UFC president Dana White said as much recently, confirming that she hasn’t officially retired while questioning why she would even consider returning to the octagon.
“She’s achieved everything she’s wanted to do, she’s made a [expletive]-load of money, and now she actually wants to have a life,” White told reporters at a press conference.
Which is why the WWE makes sense for Rousey. There’s little to gain for her in MMA. Despite her sudden fall from the top, her legacy as a trailblazer and great champion is secure. She’s rich, 30 years old, and the game has caught up with her.
But in the WWE, she can control her terms and help craft her own narrative while finding a role that could last for years past her fighting prime. It seems a perfect landing spot.