Ronda Rousey is back. After ending her UFC career with two major losses, the former champion seemed to have lost her way — until now. In January, she signed a multiyear deal with the WWE, and on Sunday, Rousey made her professional wrestling debut at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. It was more than well-received.
In her first match, Rousey, who is best-known for her mixed martial arts skills, faced veterans Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in a tag-team event with partner Kurt Angle. Filled with staple wrestling theatrics, Rousey found her groove in the sport and ended up taking home the win.
One fan tweeted, “Still can’t get over how Ronda Rousey had the best performance at #WrestleMania.” Other wrestling critics say she far exceeded expectations.
“After my wedding day, this is my favorite day of my life,” she said on camera after the match. Angle, who’s been part of the WWE since 1998, added: “She’s a natural in sports entertainment.”
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For Rousey, being at the top is more than familiar. Similar to Conor McGregor, the fighter was the face of UFC. Her continued domination brought major buzz to the league, especially in the women’s arena. Her rise in popularity also brought on her own Reebok deal. But following the back-to-back unexpected losses to Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes, Rousey faced a hard fall from grace.
Now she’s looking back on those tough times through a different lens.
“I thought I would never say this, but I’m so happy I lost those fights because it led me here. This is so worth it,” she said in an interview with ESPN. “I’m just really, really glad I gave it time instead of giving up and feeling it was the end of the world.”
And UFC president Dana White continues to support Rousey despite her leaving the sport. He sat ringside at WrestleMania to cheer her on.
Watch Rousey during her victory match below.