In 2012, Ronda Rousey became the UFC’s first women’s bantamweight champion. So it’s only fitting that the pro wrestler and Reebok athlete will be the first woman to be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame.
The Olympic bronze medalist in judo, who won at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, will receive the prestigious honor on July 5 in a Las Vegas ceremony.
“This is an immense honor, to not only take part in bringing women to the forefront of this sport but now the UFC Hall of Fame,” Rousey said in a statement. “May I be the first of many.”
Rousey earned praise on social media for her achievement. From 2012 to 2015, she held the bantamweight belt and defended it six times. All of her first 12 professional fights were won by submission, and most of them were finished in less than a minute. She owns records for four of the five fastest finishes in the division’s history, with her average cumulative fight time at 3 minutes, 6 seconds — the second-shortest in UFC history.
“There would be no women in UFC without Ronda Rousey,” said UFC president Dana White. “Ronda is an absolute pioneer who helped me — and a lot of other people — look at women in combat sports differently.” (White once said in 2011 clip recorded by TMZ that women will “never” fight in the UFC.)
Watch on FN
White added: “She accomplished everything she set out to do with UFC and became a global icon and role model in the process. Today, the women’s divisions are packed with incredibly talented fighters and they produce some of the best fights you’ll ever see.”
Rousey suffered her first defeat in a second-round knockout loss to Holly Holm in November 2015. She returned to the sport a year later but was also knocked out by current women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes. The former mixed martial artist is now on a full-time contract with World Wrestling Entertainment.
Ronda Rousey Returns to the Ring and Delivers Big-Time
Reebok’s Ronda Rousey Says Striving for Self-Betterment is More Fun Than Seeking Perfection