Few athletes in the world have managed to take over their sport like Ronda Rousey. Despite a rough childhood that involved difficulty learning to talk, and a father who committed suicide when she was just eight years old, Ronda diligently practiced Judo like her mother, AnnMaria De Mars, the first American woman to win the World Judo Championships. In 2008 she became the first American to medal in women's Judo at the Olympics.
She became interested in MMA after deciding to call it quits on Judo, and we all know how that went. Her first four professional MMA bouts, two of which took place in Strikeforce, lasted a total of two minutes and eighteen seconds. Her next fight was for the Strikeforce title, which she took from soon-to-become-rival Miesha Tate just before the end of the first round. Her sixth scrap was her first title defense, and was wrapped up in under a minute. At this point she became the UFC Women's Bantamweight Champ after Zuffa (UFC) bought Strikeforce. She defended her belt with impunity, destroying opponents mercilessly (in 14 and 16 seconds with regard to her fights against Cat Zingano and Alexis Davis), and maintaining a cold, unfeeling, and even hateful (mostly toward Miesha) demeanor inside and outside the octagon.
Then came the strikers. As any fan of the sport knows, November 2015 brought a fight that lives in infamy to this day, as Holly Holm handed Ronda her first professional loss by way of a precise kick to the jaw. Just over a year later, current UFC Women's Bantamweight champ Amanda Nunes showcased her powerful hands, leaving Ronda basically out on her feet in just 48 seconds.
"Rowdy" Ronda doesn't take losses very well, and has been vocal about the misery she went through after the Holly Holm loss. In the past few years, she's also spent plenty of time building her name in show business, appearing in several movies including The Expendables 3 and Furious 7.
Since she got dominated in her last two fights, commentators, fans, and critics alike have suggested she may have suffered a debilitating loss of confidence. Others have said that it is simply case of the UFC having brought some brilliant strikers into it's Women's Bantamweight ranks, while most of Ronda's big wins came against ladies who weren't elite punchers like Nunes and Holm.
Whatever the cause of her two losses, there is some question over whether or not we'll see Ronda in the octagon again. Here are fifteen pictures that show why she should just hang up the gloves.
17 That Red Dress
Any woman who looks this good in a red dress can probably safely drop whatever they're doing and just look good for a living. No legitimate mixed martial arts fan could hold it against her if she were to say "my heart's not in it anymore, fighting was great, but it's time for the next step." Obviously the trolls would have a field day with her hanging up the gloves, but there's no getting away from those people.
The bottom line is, and we'll touch on this again before the list is through, she clearly gets a huge kick out of playing celebrity. She's been in a couple of decent movies, she's been linked to a potential Roadhouse remake (although production is on hold right now), and if her two devastating losses have left her questioning whether to continue with the sport, she held the belt for years, helped put women's MMA where it is today, and has nothing to prove to fans.
16 A WWE Career?
The more we think about it, the more we think Ronda Rousey is a perfect fit for WWE. Don't get us wrong, she's a good fit for MMA (was a good fit for MMA?), but this new "one fight a year" thing she's into isn't going to cut it forever. Here's our rationale: she's a gifted athlete and is familiar with contact sports. She knows how to break a fall, how to throw and be thrown, and when we get right down to it, she already has real-life experience being a heel. She's essentially played the role of the "mean" girl for as long as she's been in professional MMA. Her refusal to touch gloves "because she wasn't there to make friends" and her ongoing war of words with Miesha Tate are perfect examples showing that she has no problem being the center of attention, even if it is for treating people like garbage. She's already been featured at Wrestlemania 31 throwing The Authority (Stephanie McMahon and Triple H) out of the ring in support of The Rock.
15 Lucky Beach
Earlier this year, Ronda Rousey's fiance Travis Browne, who is now on a four fight losing skid, suffered a nasty knockout loss to Derrick Lewis. During his post-fight interview, Lewis took some verbal shots at Browne's alleged spousal abuse, mocking his heart and fighting spirit with "I just knew I had a bigger heart than him. He calls himself a man, but he likes to put his hands on women. So forget that guy, I've got much more heart than he has." He then added "Where Ronda Rousey's fine ass at?" Well, Mr. Lewis, there it is, and it is indeed fine. Thank you for what is likely the best line from the world of MMA in 2017. Really though, she does not look like a fighter in this shot.
13 Boxing Gloves
Other than obviously featuring women wearing nothing at all and not covering up, there isn't much hotter to see in a picture than a woman wearing very little and playfully covering up. In this case, for the purposes of covering up the boxing gloves she is wearing are doing an effective job, but they are also the subject of a point we'd like to make. If she is going to stick it out in the world of mixed martial arts, she's going to have to learn the Sweet Science (boxing). While she's been training with Edmond Tarverdyan, who is supposedly a world class striking coach, for years, but as we saw against Amanda Nunes, she can barely throw a jab. She has terrible head movement, and next to no confidence, and no matter how loud her hapless coach yells those words (HEAD MOVEMENT!), it won't turn her into an elite striker.
Rather than actually trying to learn boxing, she should just cut her losses and stick to acting, and modeling.
12 Don't Worry Joe, We'd Look Too
Okay, we get it, jeans and a tight midriff-showing shirt isn't the hottest outfit for a woman to be wearing, but weight cutting Ronda has a thin, muscular, great looking body. The look on Joe Rogan's face in both of these shots is priceless. In the first one, we have to imagine the thought going through his head is something to the effect of "wow, I'm just standing here, high as f***, looking at some women who are going to be fighting tomorrow." In the second picture he is probably saying to himself "oh s***, did anyone see my checking out Ronda? Damn, I wish I was hosting my podcast right now, time to make a funny face!"
With regard to this shot, it is hard to decide whether Ronda's body is the star or if Joe's expressions are.
11 That Dress is Awesome
There is a double edged sword to be considered here when discussing whether or not Ronda should retire from fighting. She made a big deal a couple of years ago about explaining that her body was built for a reason, and she never wanted to be a "Do nothing b**ch" (DNB). Would retiring from mixed martial arts make her a DNB, or something closer to a DNB? Or would she actually be fulfilled doing things other than training and fighting? We all know she loves fighting, she is absurdly competitive, and it has been her life's work: an important question is: what would be worse in her mind, no longer being competitive in martial arts, or not competing at MMA altogether.
These questions are outside our realm of expertise and are ones that only she can answer. All we know is, the dress she's wearing is tight and shows her body off quite nicely.
10 Yep, That's Body Paint
Body painting is a wildly unappreciated art form. For last year's SI Swimsuit Edition, Ronda got the body paint treatment and looked pretty awesome. What not everyone understands is the process that goes into something like this. It isn't a case of sitting still for five minutes and getting some kitty cat whiskers drawn on your face, it is a several hour long process that usually involved several people. Of course, the paintee gets very familiar with the painters throughout the ordeal, but when everything is done and the person is ready for their photo shoot, they look pretty damn awesome. Particular care has to be made to make sure that shading and coloring is done to cover up those parts that have to be covered in a PG publication.
9 Jaw Dropping or Jaw-Breaking?
Okay, we're playing around with this one. We promised some jaw dropping shots, and indeed, after Holly caught her with this impressive kick, Ronda's jaw, along with the rest of her, dropped to the canvas. The Preacher's Daughter landed a few shots on the ground and the fight was over. The question is: does Rowdy Ronda want to take more shots like this? After the fact she talked about having loose teeth and inability to eat. With these things in mind, it isn't so crazy to imagine she has lost some love for the fight game. Prior to her MMA career, Ronda wasn't hit in the face much as punches and kicks are generally not allowed in organized judo tournaments, and even in terms of striking training, it was questionable whether she was ever getting hit by someone like Holly Holm.
8 Bikini Clad Near a Tree
Imagine this Goddess walking up to you at the beach and asking, "hey stud, how'd you like to come back to my place for some joint manipulation?" What man would say no to that? Actually, maybe that's a weird fantasy, we'd imagine a non martial arts pickup line would be much better and more effective. But back to the matter at hand, this bikini looks perfect on her and with the wavy hair she has in this shot, she could pass for a surfer.
We've said things like this before, and we'll say it again, if she isn't going to come back to fighting, magazines will need fit women like this for a while, and that may just be a better future than going back to a Women's Bantamweight division that looks like it has her figured out.
7 Expendables 3
One of the debates that has gone on in recent years relating to Ronda's career is whether she just has too much on her plate. Critics and fans alike have argued that while her time in Strikeforce was dedicated completely to training and getting better at her craft, but when she had held the UFC belt through several title defenses and became a household name, her time became divided. Rather than training constantly, her time spent at photoshoots, making movies, and making other public appearances took a toll on her training. Obviously fight camps were a different case, but many people suggested her mind was elsewhere. She looks fantastic here, and it's no secret that she loves acting and has hinted at acting full time when her fighting career ends, maybe now is that time.
6 With Carmen Electra
This one goes way back to her time with Strikeforce back in 2012. Her sparring session with Carmen Electra took place a couple of months after her first win over Miesha Tate, and a month before she picked Sarah Kaufman apart in under a minute. Things we so simple back then...no Holly Holm kicking her and no Amanda Nunes beating her face in. Just her and one of the most beautiful women in the 90's enjoying a workout together. By the way, she's about forty in this pic, and that alone is astonishing. We have no idea why Ronda "I can't box" Rousey appears to be teaching her some boxing moves here, but they both look great in yoga pants and that's what matters.
4 Great View
In life, there aren't many things more pleasant to look at than a great view. In this case, there may be an ocean back there, but our eyes are glued to Ronda's side-boob. It has always been impressive how different she looks when she is dolled up for these shoots in comparison to when she is ready to fight. That's the magic of cosmetology, folks. But there is an element of this picture, and all the ones on this list, that have nothing to do with cosmetology, and that is her phenomenally fit body. That isn't the result of starving yourself or just doing six hours of cardio and then eating celery; she's worked herself sick her entire life for that frame and we can't help but admire it.
3 At The ESPY's
While the sports world has few better jokes than the annual ESPY Awards (seriously, calling this ceremony a farce is charitable), they are a chance to see some decent looking athlete women dolled up. Ronda was a prime example and looked great in this shot taken a couple of years ago. Chances are she's a little on the muscular side for some guys, but when you consider she fights at 135, if her walk-around weight is closer to 150, she's not that built and while she has some definition, who doesn't want a strong capable woman. Any guy who says he'd kick her out of bed is just trying to be manly and wouldn't know what to do with a girl like her.
2 The Body Issue
The Body Issue is an ESPN answer to the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. The differences include while many of the women in The Swimsuit Edition are models, The Body Issue features both men and women, and they are all athletes. Furthermore, SI features women with bikinis on, while ESPN's equivalent features shots without any covering whatsoever, but without showing any of the not-so-PG bits and pieces. Back in 2012, Ronda was one of the main features and with nothing on other than pink hand wraps, she looked fantastic. We'd gladly hop in the octagon with her and have our arm bent back by her anytime.
1 This is the Wrong Kind of "Jaw-Dropping"
We do apologize for making this this last picture in the list, but unfortunately, when most MMA fans heard that Ronda went on Ellen to discuss her loss, our jaws dropped. Not because she looked good in that dress, but because she, a grown woman who beats (used to beat?) people up for a living was on national TV whimpering about her first professional loss and claiming to have been suicidal. Understand we don't want to be callous toward the topic of suicide. Depression and mental illness are serious and people suffering from these issues deserve help, but Ronda sitting there with tears rolling down her face because Holly Holm made her look stupid is enough proof we needed that she should end her career and move on to other things. A real champ says something like "I have a lot to work on in the gym. I'll be back soon, better than ever." But no, not Ronda.