It’s hard not to be impressed by Ronda Rousey (unless you’re Floyd Mayweather). The former Olympic judo medalist and current UFC star won her first ten pro mixed-martial arts (MMA) fights, primarily with a type of arm bar designed to hyperextend an opponent’s elbow, grinding away the bone if the opponent doesn’t concede quickly enough. Yeow – sounds as horrible as it is.
On just about every level, Rousey epitomizes the Pretty Tough profile. A California beauty, 27-year-old Rousey has a wide grin, sun-bleached hair and a fighting weight of 135 pounds on a 5′ 6″ frame. She is unapologetic about her physical attributes – both her looks and her unabashed strength. She’s not stereotypically feminine – she’s a beast on the mats who can take down an opponent in under 30 seconds – but she exudes beauty with her self-confidence.
As dominant as Rousey is in the cage, she is also a polarizing figure in the MMA world. For her part, Rousey says she isn’t bothered by the evidence, online and in arenas, that many of the people who pay to watch her fight are hoping to see her lose. “I’m the heel, I’m the antihero,” she says. “And I like it that way.”
Rousey’s self-confidence is deserved since she is so far, unbeatable. That’s both good and bad. Some believe that she’s “too good” and if she is to be measured by the strength of her competition, then the pool of challengers needs to develop more. That’s not really giving the opponents she has faced enough credit. Many have impressive backgrounds and records and were legitimate contenders despite their losses to Rousey.
The champion fighter is now in the throes of a career reinvention as she parlays her UFC popularity — 3 million social media followers and growing– and kick-ass looks into a film career. In The Hollywood Reporter magazine’s annual Sports Issue, Rousey opens up about her career, being the only woman in “Expendables 3,” her role in the “Entourage” movie and the advice she got from action star Sylvester Stallone.
Rousey, who also served as a head coach on the eighteenth season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the UFC’s reality show, in which up-and-coming fighters live together while competing in a tournament to win a UFC contract, has been appearing more and more often outside the cage.
Asked about her ultimate goal in Hollywood she responded:
I never thought that being an action movie star was in the cards for me. My agent, [WME’s] Brad Slater, kept telling me, “You’re going to be the female Rock.” Then I started to believe it could be a reality. I don’t half-ass anything. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it to be the best in the world at it. A lot of actresses appear in action movies, but there aren’t any female action stars. I love Angelina Jolie, but … it’s about believability for me. Milla Jovovich is one of my favorite actresses —The Fifth Element really opened my eyes, and the Resident Evil franchise was amazing. So definitely a mix of Milla Jovovich and The Rock is what I’m going for. People love chick fights. They love tough, empowered women. And there is a demand. People just don’t know it.
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was the top grossing male actor last year according to Forbes with global box office of $1.3 billion. If Rousey comes even close, she’ll have a highly lucrative entertainment career. Friend or foe, it will be fun to see what’s in store for the fighter going forward.
Does Rousey have what it takes to be ‘The Female Rock?’