There are few athletes - and even fewer women athletes - as popular or dominant in their sport as Ronda Rousey. The former UFC Bantamweight champion was the first female fighter signed by the UFC in 2012 and won her first six fights, five of which were ended in the first round. It was assumed there was no legitimate challengers to her title; at least, until "Rowdy" Ronda met Holly Holm at UFC 193.
After surviving a rough first round, Rousey was knocked out by Holm in the second, surrendering her championship and bruising her ego. After more than a year away from the octagon and admitted thoughts of suicide, Rousey makes her much anticipated return at UFC 207, where she'll face Amanda Nunes, the current Bantamweight champion.
If Rousey was compelling as an undefeated champion, she's even more so as a fighter on the rebound, looking to prove to herself - and the world - that she's the world's best female MMA athlete. Fortunately for us, she has done enough interviews during her career that we were able to compile more than enough shocking facts.
20 Wrote Animorphs Fan Fiction
If you grew up in the 90s, you'll remember a short-lived TV show and a series of novels about a group of kids who could turn into animals by touching them. It was cool in the 90s, but certainly not something you would be proud of watching or reading today. Of course, it's nothing to admit when you know you could crush anybody who might make fun of you for it.
That's the case with Rousey, who told Fortune that she not only liked the show, but used to write fan-fiction. She didn't mention which animals she would morph into in her "Animorphs fantasy life," but there's a floppy disk somewhere out there with the details. Either way, we think Ronda Rousey would have been a more challenging combatant against the Yeerks' invasion of earth than a few mutating kids.
19 Can Influence Anyone To Drink
Most of us would probably love to share a drink (or 10) with Ronda Rousey. But she can pressure even non-drinkers to let loose. In fact, Rousey can effortlessly make a man down shots of tequila after years of avoiding alcohol.
UFC veteran Nick Diaz said as much in an interview on The Jasta Show, stating that "Rowdy" showed up at his house and said, "Motherf**ker, you need to loosen up." Diaz stayed away from booze for most of his 20s, realizing it would negatively affect his training, but immediately gave in to Rousey's peer pressure. He doesn't count her as a bad influence, noting, "Who the f**k doesn't drink in their 20s?" He picked a great time to do it if it was a one-time thing.
18 Mute Until The Age of Four
Ronda Rousey has a tendency to leave her opponents - and her admirers - speechless. It's something she can relate to. The 29-year-old UFC star was born with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, depriving her lungs of oxygen at birth and giving her brain damage. Her speech development was delayed as a result - she couldn't say words until she was four and couldn't put together full sentences until she was six.
17 Loves Buffalo Wings
We all have our traditions and celebrations. You might enjoy waking up at ungodly hours to run in the freezing cold or you might enjoy drinking a cold beer to end the work day. Well, if you're drinking that beer in a pub with top-notch chicken wings on a Saturday after a Ronda Rousey fight, you just might run into her.
After an intensive pre-fight training camp with strict diet guidelines, Rousey likes to binge eat the best selection of hot wings and blue cheese in whatever city she is in. "I get a plate of like 80 wings in front of me, and I have to get at least 25 before anyone can get close," she told Jimmy Kimmel. Don't expect to ever catch her eating wings in Hooters, however; she shared some complaints about their wings with TMZ in May of 2015.
16 Sent To The ER Because Of A Raisinet
Kids are impressionable. They will essentially do anything to be cool or fit in. In the case of Ronda Rousey, that anything meant sticking a chocolate-covered raisin up her nose. Trying to be like her sister, a determined Rousey made sure the raisinet wouldn't fall out of her nose, as detailed on ESPN's His & Hers: "I was like, 'no raisinet, you are staying up there.' And then it wouldn't come out and I had a raisinet stuck in my nose."
A crying chocolate-snot-covered Rousey was brought to the emergency room, but it apparently wasn't too serious. "It turns out that it melted the chocolate and just one little raisin slowly fell out of my face and we just drove home." She hasn't had one since, obviously.
15 Huge Pokémon Fan
You probably liked Pokémon when you were younger - had the cards, games, toys - but you didn't like it as much as Ronda Rousey. In fact, last year in a Reddit AMA, she introduced herself as such: "Ronda here. My favorite Pokemon is Mew and I used to moderate a Pokemon forum." Other Pokémon-related information learned from the thread: If she had to choose a Pokémon to fight in the octagon it would be Judo Pokémon Throh. He's a fifth generation Pokémon.
Rousey said she even lost a lot of weight when she first got Pokémon Blue for Game Boy Color because she would not get up to eat. She has played every game since and even recorded a perfect score in Pokémon Snap.
14 Was A Vegan
For about eight months Ronda Rousey was a plant-and-nuts eating vegan - well, sort of. After the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where Rousey became the first American women to medal in Judo, the UFC star ditched protein and moved toward a complete vegan diet. The problem was she was working a few bartending gigs at the time and because being vegan is a full-time commitment, her diet often consisted of Jameson Whiskey and sweet potato fries.
It lasted just eight months, however, as she got bronchitis and was forced to switch up her diet. She told MMA Playground she promised herself to give veganism another try after she was done fighting. Today she follows the Dolce Diet; if she were vegan again she would have told us by now.
13 Won A Fight With A Dislocated Arm
Beyond the embarrassing and horrific personal stories told in Ronda Rousey's book, My Fight/Your Fight, there were actually a few bad ass tales. Rousey won the silver medal in the Middleweight Division at the 2007 World Judo Championships. She might have had a chance to win gold, but was limited in the championship match due to a dislocated shoulder suffered in her semi-final win.
Rousey wrote in her book that Dutch Judoka Edith Bosch used an illegal armbar on her in the match, dislocating her elbow. "Rowdy" persevered though, saying: "With my right hand, I grabbed my forearm just below the dislocated elbow and pushed as hard as I could. Pop. The Joint snapped back into place. The manipulation hurt like a bitch, but as soon as my elbow was back where it belonged, the sharp pain dulled to a barely tolerable ache."
12 Terrified Of Paper Cuts
Ronda Rousey has competed against the world's toughest female Judokas for years at the highest level, has 13 professional MMA fights, and has taken a fair share of physical punishment. Yet, the former UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion is terrified of just one thing: paper cuts.
During an appearance on Conan in 2015, Rousey had goosebumps after telling the talk show host about her darkest fear. She brushed aside the multiple surgeries and gruesome injuries she has suffered throughout her career, but cringed over paper cuts. The former Late Night and brief Tonight Show host quipped that Rousey's opponents should step into the octagon with an envelope. Are we sure it's written somewhere in the rules that you can't bring a piece of paper into the fight? Think about it, Amanda Nunes.
11 Wants To Father Fedor Emelianenko's Babies
How many babies are too many? If you're a new dad reading this, you're probably thinking one. If you're Ronda Rousey, you might set your limit at about 50 or 60 - 57 to be exact. The condition being that the father of those children has to be Fedor Emelianenko.
Fedor, the famed Russian MMA heavyweight, is 11 years older than Rousey and married to boot. But that didn't stop Rousey from fawning over him during a media scrum early in 2014. After telling reporters that she was introduced to MMA by watching videos of Fedor's fights, she brought up the topic of fathering his children: "I want to have 57 of his babies. It's true... I'd go 58 for him if he really wanted another one."
10 Her Mother Was A World Judo Champion
Okay, maybe it's not the most shocking thing to learn, but it's a strong coincidence - and good genetics - that led to Rousey becoming the first American woman to medal in Olympic Judo. Her mother, AnnMaria De Mars, became the first American World Judo Champion after she won the gold medal in the women's 56-kg competition at the 1984 World Judo Championships.
De Mars began practicing judo when she was 12-years-old and competed at the highest level for more than a decade while juggling academics at Washington University in St. Louis. She also co-authored the training guide Winning on the Ground: Training and Techniques for Judo and MMA Fighters. Ronda's mother was originally against her taking up the sport, but approved after the family moved from North Dakota to California.
9 Olympian At The Age Of 17
Ronda Rousey didn't begin practicing MMA until she was a shy, out-of-place, 11-year-old North Dakota girl living in Southern California with her mom. It should be surprising then, that even given her mother's expertise, she was named to the United States Olympic Team just a few years later.
She qualified for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and was the youngest Judoka in the entire games at just 17-years-old. Rousey won just one of three matches in her weight class, but, as the story goes, she returned to the Olympic Games as a 12-year-old in 2008, where she won the bronze medal. She did have early success outside the Olympics, however, winning gold at the World Junior Judo Championships in 2004 as well as at the Pan American Judo Championships.
8 $7 Million Net Worth
That Ronda Rousey has the 13th highest net worth among current and retired MMA athletes doesn't sound that impressive, but it is. Prior to signing with the UFC, Rousey was far from a big-name draw, fighting with Strikeforce, but she immediately gave the new UFC women's division credibility. And while her star power has been rising - even with a loss in her most recent fight - she has only been in the UFC for a few years.
Rousey has a net worth of $7 million. By comparison, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who is worth $12 million, was once a megastar in the sport during the few years when UFC's popularity blossomed. Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz are worth just a couple million more than Rousey, but she could pass them as early as next year if she continues her current trend. Her net worth continues to increase and you can only imagine how much more she'll be worth following her comeback fight.
7 Served Norm From Cheers
If you've read this far, you'll know that Ronda Rousey used to work a couple bartending gigs. She worked various restaurants in Los Angeles in an effort to save money to help with traveling to Judo tournaments. One of the restaurants she worked at was the pirate-themed Redwood downtown.
We can't be sure if the restaurant's bartenders are forced to dress up, but we'd like to believe so. Rousey hasn't confirmed that information anywhere, but she did tell of serving a famously ironic customer one night. Rousey notes in Matt Demers in her book Ronda Rousey: The Biography, that during one shift at Redwood she served actor George Wendt a rye. If you don't know who that is, we'll let Ronda tell you: "I served Norm from Cheers... I figured that was the Holy Grail of bartending."
6 Had A Cartoon Crush On Vegeta
Now knowing Ronda Rousey would like to father at least 57 babies with Fedor Emelianenko, perhaps it isn't all that shocking that she "would've gone cartoon for Vegeta of Dragon Ball Z." Sure, we all have that one cartoon character we'd give up our human existence for (no, you're weird), but it's interesting that Rousey chose Vegeta. But it kind of makes sense when you hear her explain it.
5 Fought Men For Fraps
Now that Ronda Rousey is worth millions she can buy herself all the Starbucks Frappuccinos she desires, though she rarely strays from her strict training diet. Fifteen years ago, however, as a 14-year-old Judoka on the verge of making the United States Olympic Team, Rousey would challenge men to fights, betting them $5 or $10 she could take them down. Her and a friend would then go buy Frappuccinos with the money.
"I felt like this secret, blonde, Beverly Hills Ninja," she told Sports Illustrated about fighting for fraps. "We would get him to say he gave up, then take his money and go buy Frappuccinos. Those were my first pro fights." Consider that if you're ever looking to break into the world of MMA.
4 Eating Disorder
While still competing in Judo and transitioning to MMA, Ronda Rousey was battling an eating disorder along with drug and alcohol abuse. She would binge, purge, and starve herself in efforts to make weight, writing in her memoir My Fight/Your Fight: "I used to associate feeling full with guilt. Because there was no advice or help if you didn't make weight - they just yelled at you."
Rousey discussed overcoming her eating disorder in her Reddit AMA last year. Stating she now eats guilt free and doesn't worry as much about making weight, she added: "I feel amazing. I (think) I look amazing. And I just ate some bomb-ass french toast this morning." In 2015, Rousey lent her D.N.B acronym (Do Nothing B-tch) to a limited edition T-shirt in an effort to raise money for a non-profit supporting young women with body image issues.
3 Endorsed Bernie Sanders
There was a time when Donald Trump told his supporters that Ronda Rousey was one of them. That wasn't the case. In fact, Rousey supported the candidate who represents the exact opposite end of the political spectrum - Bernie Sanders.
2 Obsessed With Aliens
Ancient Aliens is a History Channel program which is best known for the aliens meme, which features Giorgio Tsoukalos, the "I'm not saying it was aliens... but it was aliens" guy. Rousey, a self-admitted "dork" with a love for Pokemon and Dragon Ball Z, also happens to be a huge fan of ancient alien tales.
1 Terrible Luck Dating
She's beautiful and likes buffalo wings. With those qualities you would think Ronda Rousey wouldn't have any trouble dating, but apparently that isn't the case. In her memoir, My Fight/Your Fight, she hands out nicknames to the numerous creepy ex-boyfriends she has had - included are such gems as Dick IttyBitty and Snappers McCreepy.
Since you asked, Dick IttyBitty cheated on her, Snappers McCreepy took naked pictures of her without her knowing, and another nameless ex struggled with a heroin addiction and stole her car. Her relationships haven't exactly gone smoother since she became a public figure. She's apparently still dating fellow UFC fighter Travis Browne, whom she was reported as dating while the fighter was still married to wife and fitness model Jenna Renee Webb.